American Virgin Islands
|United States Virgin Islands|
|American Virgin Islands|
Motto : United in Pride and Hope
(English for "United in pride and hope")
|Form of government||unincorporated U.S. territory|
|Head of state||President Donald Trump|
|Head of government||Governor Albert Bryan|
|Population density||307 inhabitants per km²|
|currency||US dollar (USD)|
|National anthem||Virgin Islands March|
|Time zone||UTC − 4|
|Telephone code||+1 (340) see NANP|
The American Virgin Islands ( English United States Virgin Islands , Virgin Islands of the United States or USVI for short ) are a non- incorporated outer area of the United States . Geographically, they are part of the island group of the Virgin Islands located in the Caribbean , east of Puerto Rico . They consist of the three main islands of Saint Croix , Saint John and Saint Thomas . In 1996 the federal government of the United States transferred Water Island to the outskirts. There are also numerous smaller islands.
The landscape is mostly stony, hilly to mountainous with only a little flat surface. The highest point is Crown Mountain at 474 m above sea level. The climate on the islands is tropical. It is tempered by easterly winds with low humidity and only slight temperature differences over the year. The rainy season is from May to November, although deviations are possible here. The islands lie along the Anegada Passage , a shipping route to the Panama Canal .
The islands have been exposed to several tropical storms in recent years. There are frequent periods of severe drought or floods, and occasional earthquakes . There is a lack of natural freshwater resources .
The coral reefs in the east of the island of St. John have been designated as the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument since 2001 .
List of islands
The following islands and archipelagos are part of the US Virgin Islands:
- Barrel of beef
- Blinders Rocks
- Booby skirt
- Bovoni Cay
- Buck Island (Saint Croix)
- Buck Island (Saint Thomas)
- Calf skirt
- Capella Islands
- Carvel rock
- Cas Cay
- Cinnamon Cay
- Cockroach Island
- Coculus rock
- Cololoba Cay
- Congo Cay
- Cow rock
- Cricket skirt
- Current rock
- Dog Island
- Dog Rocks
- Domkirk Rock
- Dry rock
- Durloe Cays
- Dut Cheap Cay
- Fish Cay
- Flanagan Island
- Flat cays
- Gorret Rock
- Grass Cay
- Great Saint James Island
- Green Cay (Saint Croix)
- Green Cay (Saint Thomas)
- Hans Lollik Iceland
- Hans Lollik Rock
- Hassel Island
- Henley Cay
- Inner Brass Island
- Kalkun Cay
- Leduck Island
- Limestone rock
- Little Hans Lollik Island
- Harvey Island
- Little Saint James
- Lizard Rocks
- Lovango Cay
- Mingo Cay
- Outer Brass Island
- Packet rock
- Patricia Cay
- Pelican Cay
- Perkins Cay
- Porpoise Rocks
- Protestant Cay
- Ramgoat Cay
- Rata Cay
- Rotto Cay
- Rupert Rock
- Ruth Island
- Saba Island
- Saint Croix
- Saint John
- Saint Thomas
- Salt Cay
- Saltwater Money Rock
- Sandy Point Rock
- Savana Island
- Shark Island
- Skipper Jacob Rock
- Steven Cay
- The Stragglers
- Sula Cay
- Thatch Cay
- Triangle Island
- Trunk Cay
- Turtleback skirt
- Turtledove Cay
- Two Brothers
- Water Island
- Waterlemon Cay
- Wilted Rocks
- West Cay
- Whistling Cay
The US Virgin Islands have a population of about 108,605. 42% are Baptists , 34% Catholics and 17% Anglicans . 76.0% of the population are descended from former African slaves, there are also people of mixed origins (2.1%) and some whites (15.6%) and Asians (1.4%). The indigenous people were exterminated in the 16th century. In addition to the official language English, an English-based Creole is spoken. Since the islands are home to many immigrants from other Caribbean countries, Spanish and French-based Creole languages are also common.
Life expectancy on the island was 80.0 years in 2016 (women: 83.2 years / men: 77.0 years). The median age of the population was very high at 45.6 years (as of 2016). Due to the high number of people leaving the island, the population decreased slightly at the beginning of the 21st century, but has increased again in recent years.
Early colonial history
The islands inhabited by Taíno were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 . On November 14, 1493 he first set foot on an island, which he gave the name Santa Cruz ( Saint Croix ). Then he sailed 70 km north to the islands of Saint Thomas and Saint John . Because of the large number of smaller islands and their beauty, he called them (according to the legend of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 companions who are said to have suffered their martyrdom near Cologne ) the "Virgin Islands " (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes , in short: Las Vírgenes) . Saint Croix was only later included in the Virgin Islands.
After attempts to settle on St. Croix by the English and Dutch from 1625, the Spanish and French took possession of it from 1650. In 1653, St. Croix was taken over by the Order of Malta , but in 1665 it was repurchased by France.
Danish West Indies
On March 30, 1666, the Dannebrog was hoisted on St. Thomas, which from then on belonged to Denmark-Norway (Danish West Indies) as a Danish colony . In 1672, Danish settlers built the first permanent settlement on St. Thomas, and in 1685 Benjamin Raule, General Director of the Brandenburg Navy, signed a contract with representatives of the Danish-West Indian-Guinean Company to lease part of St. Thomas to Brandenburg. In 1689 Brandenburg occupied the crab island between Saint Thomas and Puerto Rico .
In 1693 the Danes confiscated the Brandenburg factories without encountering any resistance. In 1694 the settlers also spread to Saint John . On August 13, 1720, the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I signed a document in which he spoke to the Dutch trading company on all former Brandenburg areas in Africa ( Arguin , now Mauritania , and Groß Friedrichsburg on the Gold Coast , now Ghana ) and St. Thomas ( Virgin Islands , USA ) waived.
Saint Croix, in French possession since 1674, was acquired by Denmark in 1733. The trade with the Danish West Indies gained importance for the city of Flensburg (before 1864), which at that time belonged to the Danish state, through the import and processing of cane sugar . In 1733 and 1848 there was a slave revolt against the Danes here.
United States Territory
Because the United States needed a naval base in the area during World War I , it acquired the islands from Denmark in 1917 for $ 25 million. Adjusted for inflation, this is 498 million dollars, 420 million euros and 452 million Swiss francs, respectively, according to today's value.
PW Sparks, a US Navy officer , designed the flag of the United States Virgin Islands. After his superior Admiral Kitelle had approved the design, Sparks had the first flag sewn by his wife and her sister. For the design he adopted symbols from the seal of the President of the United States. The three arrows in the bald eagle's claws represent the three islands, the olive branch, as in the model, for peace.
The United States has guaranteed its residents American citizenship since 1927 . The US Department of the Interior took on administrative duties in 1931. The territory has been on the UN list of sovereign territories without self-government since 1946 .
The islands' road network is 856 km long. The islands are the only US property with left-hand traffic .
The focus of the economy is on tourism , which accounts for more than 70% of the gross national product and 70% of employment. An average of two million tourists visit the islands every year. The gross domestic product in 2013 was 36,100 US dollars per capita. This is at the level of the developed industrial countries, but well below the level of the US mainland.
The industrial sector consists mainly of petroleum refineries and the manufacture of textiles, electronics, pharmaceutical products and the final assembly of clocks. One of the world's largest oil refineries is on Saint Croix. The refinery closed in 2012 after 45 years.
Agriculture is insignificant; most food has to be imported.
International trade and the financial sector are small but growing industries.
|January 1st||New Year|
|January||Remembrance day for Martin Luther King|
|February||Presidents' Day||Remembrance Day for the birth of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln|
|March||Description day||On March 31, 1917, the United States bought the islands from Denmark.|
|March April||End of the carnival week|
|March April||Maundy Thursday , Good Friday and Easter Monday||Easter|
|May||Day of remembrance||on the last Monday in May in honor of the soldiers who died in the war|
|June||Day of the founding statute||2 days|
|3rd of July||Day of Emancipation||Granted in 1848 to end slavery on the Danish West Indies.|
|July 4th||Independence day||of the United States of America|
|July||Storm supplication day|
|September||Labor Day||the first Monday in September|
|October||Columbus day||on the 2nd Monday in October|
|October||Storm Thanksgiving Day|
|October 17th||Friendship Day with Puerto Rico|
|November||Liberation Day ( Hamilton-Jackson Memorial Day)||Celebrating the first free press in 1915|
|November 11th||War Veteran's Day||Memorial Day for all veterans of the United States Armed Forces|
|25 December||Christmas||1st Christmas Holiday|
- Rainer DK Bruchmann: On the Brandenburg colonial history. The island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean (= Brandenburgische Entwicklungspolitische Hefte. H. 31, ). Unze-Verlags- und Druck-Gesellschaft, Teltow 1999.
- Karlheinz Graudenz, Hanns Michael Schindler: The German colonies. History of the German protected areas in words, pictures and maps. 8th edition. Weltbild, Augsburg 1995, ISBN 3-89350-701-9 .
- Paul H. Kuntze: The People's Book of Our Colonies. Georg Dollheimer, Leipzig 1938.
- Literature from and about the American Virgin Islands in the catalog of the German National Library
- Database of indexed literature on the social, political and economic situation in the American Virgin Islands
- World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 28, 2017 .
- Congressional Record in Washington, DC, on April 30th, 1986, vol. 132, No.56, submitted by Congressman Ron de Lugo.