U.S. Virgin Islands
The United States Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands of the United States, are a group of Caribbean islands and an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles to the east of Puerto Rico and west of the British Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Virgin Islands consists of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, and 50 other surrounding minor islands and cays. The total land area of the territory is 133.73 square miles (346.36 km2). The territory's capital is Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas.
Previously known as the Danish West Indies of the Kingdom of Denmark–Norway (from 1754 to 1814) and the independent Kingdom of Denmark (from 1814 to 1917), they were sold to the United States by Denmark for $25,000,000 in the 1917 Treaty of the Danish West Indies, and have since been an organized, unincorporated United States territory. The U.S. Virgin Islands are organized under the 1954 Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands and have since held five constitutional conventions.
English is the dominant language. Spanish is spoken by about 17% of the population, and other languages by 11%. English has been the predominant language since 1917, when the islands were transferred from Denmark to the United States. Under Danish rule, the official language was Danish, but it was solely the language of administration and spoken by Danes, a tiny minority of the overall population that primarily occupied administrative roles in colonial Danish West Indian society. Place names and surnames of Denmark–Norway origin are still common.
Phrases common in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
- Weh pah u deh? Where are you friend?
- Da fam kriss! Nice car!
- Mehson! Amazing!
- Aye, da man.. You're getting on my nerves..
- Da fam salt, ya! Terrible performance!
- Usa a clung, da man! You are being a fool!
- Ayo Group of people
- Aye, check ya nuh? Hey, come here please
- Leh we gan, man! Let's get out of here!
- I deh deh I'm here
Virgin Islands National Park, St. John
A Caribbean jewel, Virgin Islands National park attracts more than one million visitors each year, making it the single largest tourist attraction in the entire archipelago. Laurence Rockefeller donated 5,000 acres of land to establish the National Park in 1956. Today, the park covers two-thirds of the emerald island of St. John and includes hiking trails, protected bays, stunning beaches, underwater sea gardens, petroglyphs, and the ruins of historic sugar mills.
Trunk Bay Beach & Underwater Snorkel Trail, St. John
Nestled in the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay's long and arching curve of creamy sand and turquoise water is the most photographed beach on St. John. Fringed by sea grapes and coconut palms, this is also one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. In the crystal-clear waters here, you can spot up to 30 different species of fish.
Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix
Beautiful Buck Island and its surrounding sea gardens are one of the most visited attractions on St. Croix. Lying 1.5 miles off the northeast coast of St. Croix, in the center of a vast marine sanctuary, Buck Island Reef was guaranteed protection when U.S. President John F. Kennedy named it the first U.S. underwater national monument in 1961.
Magens Bay, St. Thomas
Fringed by green hills and coconut palms, Magens Bay frequently graces lists of the world's most beautiful beaches. The typically calm seas along this horseshoe-shaped bay are excellent for snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and other water sports. Also in the Magens Bay watershed, the Tropical Discovery Hike, leads participants through a 75-acre preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy.
- At 737 square miles, the US Virgin Islands are double the size of Washington, DC.
- The US Virgin Islands are also a popular shopping destination, and they have been one since 1607. Shopping downtown was popular when the settlers of Jamestown, the first English settlement on the continent, bought supplies on their way to Virginia.
- The US Virgin Islands are the only place in the USA where you drive on the left side of the road. Even though the islands are part of the USA, driving dates back to when they were under European rule.
- The famous impressionist painter Camille Pissarro was born in St. Thomas in 1830. He made grand contributions to the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism movements.
- 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.
- St. Thomas is also home to the second oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. It has sand floors and a menorah that dates back to the 11th century.
- St. John is home to an underwater National Park. In Trunk Bay you will find the Underwater Trail which happens to be one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean.
- Approximately 75% of the population of the island are descendants from African ancestors who came to the Caribbean as slaves in order to work on the sugar plantations. The rest are immigrants from Puerto Rico, North America, The Dominican Republic, Europe, the Middle East, India and other countries.
- Christopher Columbus gets the credit for “discovering” St. Thomas. He reached the island during his second exploration of the New World in 1493.
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (TDAP)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A & B