Virgin Islands History - the history of the Virgin Islands
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Virgin Islands   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Virgin Islands History


Virgin Islands History

The Virgin Islands were originally inhabited by Arawak, Carib and Ciboney native American peoples.

Christopher Columbus encountered the islands and named them in 1493 during his second voyage. For the next few hundred years, control of the islands would switch between many European nations including Spain, Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta and Denmark.

The Danish West India Company settled Saint Thomas in 1672, Saint John in 1694, and purchased Saint Croix from France in 1733.

Denmark attempted to sell the islands to the US in the early 20th century, but a deal could not be reached. However, during World War, the US began to fear that the islands might be seized by Germany, and a deal was eventually negotiated whereby the United States purchased the islands for $25 million in 1917. United States citizenship was granted to the islands' inhabitants in 1927.

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America's Virgin Islands: A History of Human Rights and Wrongs

By William Boyer

Carolina Academic Press
Paperback (510 pages)

America s Virgin Islands: A History of Human Rights and Wrongs
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Product Description:
This second edition of America's Virgin Islands by William W. Boyer is the only history of the United States' territory covering the period from 1492 to 2010. Especially emphasized is the period since 1917 when the U.S. acquired the Islands from Denmark. Constituting three small Caribbean islands St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John each is unique, but together they are widely known as a favorite tourist destination featuring sun, sand and surf. In many respects, the territory is a microcosm of the human family. The diversity of its physical environment is matched by the diversity of its people. The focal point of the book is a record of the struggle of the Islanders' greater number as slaves, then serfs, and lastly as citizens to gain control of their own destiny. Broadly conceived, this is a history of human rights and human wrongs. The author does not merely portray the history of the Islands and their people; he also shows how the Islanders share the same aspirations as other colonial subjects. In so doing he taps previously unused sources. The relationship between the USA and the Virgin Islands has been marked by indifference and vacillation on the part of American officials. Moreover, thousands of tourists who flock to the territory annually are unaware of the Islands checkered and rich history. For many, the Islands are simply a tropical paradise. America's Virgin Islands is a fascinating, extensively documented, and detailed source of information, valuable to those interested in a political and cultural perspective, to those interested in African American or Caribbean history, and likewise to those who live in or visit the Islands.

Race Relations in the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Thomas - a Centennial Retrospective

By Marilyn F. Krigger

Carolina Academic Press
Released: 2017-12-15
Paperback (374 pages)

Race Relations in the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Thomas - a Centennial Retrospective
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Race Relations in the U.S. Virgin Islands is an account of the results of a 1917 territorial acquisition by the United States. A century ago, one week before entering World War I, the United States purchased from Denmark a small group of islands in the Caribbean to prevent their possible takeover by Germany. The new U.S. territory, which had been known before as the Danish West Indies, became the Virgin Islands of the United States, and is now generally referred to as the U.S. Virgin Islands, a well-known Caribbean tourist destination.This book is a history of race relations, mainly between whites and blacks, and mainly on the island of St. Thomas, the political and commercial center of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It begins with the Danish background, 1672 to 1917, during which the importation of enslaved Africans for labor laid the foundation of the present population, which is mainly black. However, the book’s main focus is on the changes that have taken place since the advent of U.S. rule in 1917, particularly greater economic growth (largely through tourism) and greater racial and social separation.Marilyn F. Krigger, a retired history professor, is a black native and resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands who has lived through most of the American century. In anticipation of the 2017 centennial of American rule, she was inspired to add to her previous research and writing on American racial influences on the social, political, economic, and cultural life of the Virgin Islands and to compile this book, while also appealing for greater morality and respect in human relations everywhere.

A Natural History Atlas to the Cays of the U.S. Virgin Islands

By Arthur E Dammann

Pineapple Press
Paperback (160 pages)

A Natural History Atlas to the Cays of the U.S. Virgin Islands
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Product Description:
Paperback: 160 pages Publisher: Pineapple Press; 1st edition (November 1, 1992) Language: English ISBN-10: 1561640220 ISBN-13: 978-1561640225 Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.5 inches

Time Longa' Dan Twine: Notes on the Culture, History, and People of the U.S. Virgin Islands

By Dr. Arnold R. Highfield

Arnold Highfield
Paperback (480 pages)

Time Longa  Dan Twine: Notes on the Culture, History, and People of the U.S. Virgin Islands
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  • Time Longa Dan Twine Notes on the Culture History and People of the U S Virgin Islands
Product Description:
Time Longa' Dan Twine (Time's Longer than Twine) is an expression that reflects the wisdom of the people and culture of the Virgin Islands, meaning, in one sense, that the things of the world always dwarf the things of man. Virgin Islands scholar Arnold R. Highfield has taken this admonition as his starting point and his guide in his quest to reveal the foundations of local history. In these pages you will follow in the wake of Columbus on his second Caribbean voyage, visit the indigenous folk who lived here hundreds of years before his coming, feel the force of powerful hurricanes, take part in the early settlement of these islands by small bands of settlers, travel from Africa across the Atlantic on board abominable slave ships, and learn ultimately to appreciate the culture that was created over several centuries in the encounter between Europeans and Africans in the context of a plantation society dedicated to the production of sugar and rum. You will meet fascinating individuals whose lives have emerged from this vast story, people who dared look beyond the limitations that life and circumstances imposed upon them in order to travel the earth and to experience life to the fullest—ambassadors, athletes, adventurers, intellectuals, planters, and common folk. You will walk under the mighty spirit trees, among plantation ruins, through deserted sugar-mills, and along the streets of time-worn colonial towns. In a word, you will experience in these pages a Virgin Islands that has never before been so fully revealed. Arnold R. Highfield is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Social Sciences at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Campus. Among his numerous publications are St. Croix 1493, The Kamina Folk, The French Dialect of St. Thomas, Hans West's Accounts of St. Croix in the West Indies, J. L. Carstens' St. Thomas in Early Danish Times, Theoretical Orientations in Creole Studies, Under a Taino Moon, Sea Grapes and Kennips, Crucian Recollections, and St. Croix 1650–1733.

St. John & Virgin Islands History: Details from the Bottom of its Existence

By Gideon West

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (182 pages)

St. John & Virgin Islands History: Details from the Bottom of its Existence
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St. John & Virgin Islands History. Details from the Bottom of its Existence. St John is a volcanic island, part of a undersea mountain range which includes the larger islands of the Greater Antilles, the Virgin Islands, and the Lesser Antilles. This chain of islands begins with Cuba and ends with Trinidad, off the coast of Venezuela. In St John, there is a clear geologic record that stretches back some 100 million years to the late Cretatious period. This earliest stages of island building began when the major continents were closer together. The people in the Virgin Islands come from all over the world. There are African descendants, the French, who have emigrated from French islands, Puerto Ricans, and transplants from the U.S. Also living here are many "down islanders" and a sizeable number of East Indians. Each of the islands has its own celebration. St. Croix's is in December, St. John's is over July 4th and St. Thomas' is in April. Carnival dates back to when Africans first arrived on the islands. Today Carnival is celebrated with colorful parades, elaborate costumes, music, dancing children, fabulous floats, stilt walking mockojumbies, food fairs filled with West Indian dishes, all-night partying, calypso music and steep pan competitions, beauty pageants and more. The origin of MockoJumbies has been traced to the 13th and 14th centuries. It comes from a central African language meaning “healer.” In the English language it means “to mock”, meaning imitation, as in false spirits. MockoJumbie, the traditional symbol of Carnival, is the "elevated spirit" on 10 to 20 foot stilts, dressed in bright colors that you see throughout the parade. The origins of mockojumbies come from the traditions of West Africa. When the enslaved Africans were brought to the Caribbean, their religious traditions and observances came with them. But they were forbidden by the European slave masters to practice their religious customs, so they transferred it into a festive context, to disguise it, so to speak. But it was just a camouflage for its true religious meaning.

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