The trip to the US Virgin Islands is a fantastic experience. Visit St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix with Albatros Travel – choose between cruise or round trip by air.
Population: 104 000
Capital: Charlotte Amalie
- the infamous Captain Blackbeard who ravaged the Caribbean in the 18th century, fired with Swedish cannons
- St Thomas once belonged to Denmark. There are still signs and roads with Danish names.
The Virgin Islands are an archipelago in the Caribbean and is located east of Puerto Rico. In the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into a British part and a Danish part. The western part of the archipelago, the British Virgin Islands, is still under British control, while the former Danish islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. Johan today is American territory. The landscape of the islands is hilly and full of cliffs with Crown Mountain on St. Thomas as the highest point (475 m). Around the hilly center of the islands is a string of pearls of wonderful white sandy beaches which in turn are surrounded by coral reefs, fish and corals in all the colors of the rainbow. The climate is subtropical with 25-28 ° all year round and a relatively short rainy period between September and November. The heavy downpours seldom last long enough to silence the holiday mood.
The history of the Virgin Islands
The majority of the Virgin Islands’ 100,000 inhabitants are descendants of African slaves. Incidentally, the three Caribbean islands are inhabited by Europeans and Americans. In addition to Denmark, Spain , the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France had their eyes on the Virgin Islands, but pirates and a reluctant Native American population made the conquests rather problematic. All European colonial countries therefore remained in power for only a short period until the Danes succeeded in taking over the government more permanently. Erik Nielsen Schmidt moved as the first governor into St. Thomas’ governor’s residence on March 30, 1666. He died only a few months later and it was not until 1672 that colonization really began. The newly established Caribbean Company used St. Thomas as bass. What particularly interested the Danes in the Virgin Islands was the port of the capital Charlotte Amalie, which is still the Caribbean’s best natural port, with opportunities to trade in exotic and profitable goods.
The Danes earned considerable sums on sugar and coffee plantations run by West African slaves. At the end of the 18th century, 25,000 out of 30,000 inhabitants were slaves. The slave trade was abolished in 1848 by the Danish governor Peter von Scholten after an uprising among the slaves – Denmark was the penultimate European colonial power to abolish the slave trade. The sudden shortage of this extremely cheap labor and increased competition in the sugar market made life financially difficult for the plantation owners on the three Danish islands. After 250 years as a Danish colony, the islands were sold to the United States on March 27, 1917. The price for the three paradise islands: DKK 94 million.
Traveling on the Virgin Islands
As American territory, travel to the Virgin Islands has been a popular activity for Americans in search of paradisiacal experiences. Many Danes also take the roads past the former colony, and rightly so. Especially in the capital Charlotte Amalie, Danish colonial history is still extremely present. The city is named after Christian V’s queen Charlotte Amalie and is built on four heights. Streets such as Kongens Gade, Dronningens Gade and Borger Gade meander here. Charlotte Amalie’s interesting buildings include Christiansfort, the island’s oldest building, which in addition to being the city’s fortress has also served as a church, prison, court, governor’s residence and fire station. Today, the building is under restoration and will be turned into a museum. Above the fort you will find the former Danish barracks built in 1874. At the site in front of the barracks, the Danish flag was hoisted in favor of the American one when the islands were handed over to the United States in 1917. Today, the barracks houses the islands’ senate and is a good example of Danish colonial architecture. Between the promenade and Dronningens Gade, which is also called Main Street, is a strip of old Danish shops and department stores, such as AH Riises Apotek. There are also many churches in Charlotte Amalie – all are very different as the islands enjoyed religious freedom. Here you will therefore find both a Catholic church, a Reformed church, an Anglican church, a Lutheran church and a Jewish synagogue. The synagogue is of course located on Krystalgade just like the one in Copenhagen. St. Thomas is not the only island worth a visit during a holiday in the Virgin Islands.
At St. Croix can be taken a step back in time to the plantation period through a visit to the museum on the Estate Whim plantation. Here you can see the plantation owner’s beautiful oval home and learn more about the slaves’ work on the fields and in the sugar refinery. At St. John, you should experience the Virgin Islands National Park, which can offer both beautiful beaches, an overwhelming bird life, Native American images carved into the rock walls and hiking trails. By the way, the three islands can offer kilometers of beaches that are difficult to resist – and hardly anyone wants that.