United States Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands (English: United States Virgin Islands ) are an archipelago located in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, east of Puerto Rico. It consists of the three main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas. Only in 1996 was added Water Iceland, but there are still numerous smaller islands. The islands are an unincorporated area outside of the United States.


The landscape is mostly rocky, hilly to mountainous with little level ground. The highest point is Crown Mountain 474 m. The climate on the islands is tropical. It is moderated by easterly winds with low humidity and only small temperature differences throughout the year. The rainy season is from May to November. But again, deviations are possible. The islands lie along the Anegada Passage, a shipping lane to the Panama Canal.

The islands were exposed in recent years, several tropical storms. Often, severe droughts or floods, earthquakes occur occasionally. There is a lack of natural freshwater resources.


The U.S. Virgin Islands are about 108 605 inhabitants. 42% are Baptists, 34% of Catholics and 17% Anglicans. The majority of the population is descended from former African slaves, and there are still people of mixed race and a few whites and Asians. The Native Americans were still exterminated in the 16th century. In addition to the official language, English an English -based Creole is spoken. Since many immigrants from other Caribbean countries live on the islands, as well as Spanish and French -based creole languages ​​are prevalent.


The inhabited by Taino islands were discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus. On November 14, 1493 he entered initially an island which he named Santa Cruz gave ( Saint Croix ). Then he sailed 70 km north to the islands of Saint Thomas and Saint John. Due to the large number of smaller islands and its beauty, he named it the " Virgin Islands " (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes, in short: Las Virgenes ) after the legend of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 companions who have suffered martyrdom at Cologne should. Saint Croix was counted only later to the Virgin Islands.

After settlement attempts of the English and Dutch on St. Croix from 1625 it came to the possession by the French and Spanish from 1650th 1653 St. Croix was taken by Malta, bought back in 1665 from France.

On March 30, 1666 of the Dannebrog was raised in St. Thomas, from now on as the Danish colony to Denmark-Norway was ( Danish West Indies ). 1672 Danish settlers erected on St. Thomas, the first permanent settlement in 1685 joined the kurbrandenburgische Navy General Benjamin Raule with representatives of the Danish West Indian - Guinean Company a contract for the leasing of part of St. Thomas in Brandenburg. 1689 Brandenburg occupied the crab island located between Saint Thomas and Puerto Rico.

1693 seized the Danes without resistance the Brandenburg factories. On August 13, 1720 the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I signed a document in which he compared to the Dutch trading company to all former Brandenburg areas in Africa ( Arguin today Mauritania and the United Friedrichsburg on the Gold Coast, now Ghana ) and St. Thomas ( Virgin Islands, USA ) did not. 1694 the settlers spread out on Saint John.

Saint Croix, since 1674 French-owned, was acquired in 1733 by Denmark. Importance was the trade with the Danish West Indies for the time the Danish state corresponding city of Flensburg (before 1864) by the import and processing of cane sugar. 1733 and 1848, there was here a slave uprising against the Danes. Because the United States needed a naval base during World War I in this area, they acquired the islands in 1917 for 25 million dollars from Denmark. Adjusted for inflation, these are according to the current value of $ 472.32 million and 344.53 million euros, respectively 421 530 000 Swiss francs.


The road network of the islands is 856 km long. The islands are the only property of the United States with left-hand traffic.

Saint Thomas has one of the best natural harbors in the Caribbean. There are also ports in Christiansted, Cruz Bay and Port Alucroix.

Furthermore, there are three airports: Downtown Heliport on the island of Saint Croix ( IATA code: JCD ), Henry E. Rohlson Airport on the island of Saint Croix ( IATA code: STX ) and the Cyril E. King Airport on the island of Saint Thomas (IATA code: STT).


The focus of the economy is based on tourism, which provides more than 70 % of GDP and 70% of employment. On average 2 million tourists a year visit the islands.

The industrial sector consists mainly of oil refineries and the production of textiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals and assembly of watches.

Agriculture is insignificant; most food must be imported.

International trade and the financial sector are a small but growing part of the economy. One of the world's largest petroleum refineries is at Saint Croix.




  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • 677 289 visitors ( 2006)
  • Founded in August 2, 1956

The coral reefs in the eastern part of the island of St. John is designated as Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument since 2001.