United States Virgin Islands (also called U.S. Virgin Islands) is an organized unincorporated island territory of the United States, situated in the Greater Antilles, about 40 miles (64 km) east of Puerto Rico, in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. The territory is geographically part of the Virgin Islands group, which also contains its near neighbor to the east, the British Virgin Islands.
The territory is composed of four islands – St. Croix, St. John, Water Island and St. Thomas – and about 50 small islets and cays. The Tainos/Arawaks were the first known inhabitants in this region followed by the Caribs. The US Virgin Islands has had a tumultuous, past primarily on St. Croix following the colonization of the Europeans. This lasted through the 17th C & 18thC.
The capital of the US Virgin Islands is Charlotte Amalie, on St. Thomas.
St Croix: The largest island of the U.S. Virgin Islands is the only island of the group with an extensive plain, most of which was originally cultivated for sugar production. Saint Croix has flown seven different flags. It has been colonized by Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta, Denmark, and the United States. Today, Christiansted has some of the best examples of Danish architecture to be found outside of Denmark.
St John: The smallest island of the U.S. Virgin Islands, has an irregular coastline indented with picturesque harbours and coves, including Trunk Bay. Bordeaux Mountain rises to 1,277 feet (989 metres). The population is concentrated in two settlements – Cruz Bay, the capital, and Coral Bay, one of the best harbour refuges in the Caribbean. The Virgin Islands National Park is an American national park preserving about 60% of the land area of Saint John in the United States Virgin Islands, as well as more than 5,500 acres (2,226 ha; 9 sq mi) of adjacent ocean, and nearly all of Hassel Island, just off the Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas harbour.
St Thomas: The main island of the U.S. Virgin Islands is volcanic, rising to a maximum elevation of 1,550 feet (474 metres) with a chain of rugged hills and little vegetation running east-west. The bustling capital is Charlotte Amalie, which is situated halfway along the southern coast on hill slopes. Its well-sheltered harbour is in the crater of an extinct volcano and where the Cruise Port is located.
Of Note: St. Croix is home to the oldest Baobab tree in the Caribbean. While the tree is native to South Africa, it was brought to the US Virgin Islands and planted in the 18th century. The US Virgin Islands is the only territory in the US to have coasts on both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Currency: United States Dollar
Culture Name: Virgin Islander and someone from St. Croix is referred to as a Cruzan
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