Posted by: islandhideaway | December 17, 2008

A Little Bit of History

Ef de rain isfallin’ when de sun is out

de debbil an’ he wife quarrelin’

-Virgin Islands Proverb

Virgin Islands History all started with Christopher Columbus’s second voyage in 1493. He first sighted St. Croix, which he named Santa Cruz and claimed for Spain. Sailing further north, he found endless islands and christened them Las Islas Virgenes – The Virgin Islands.

After this excitement, the island drowsed onvihistory1, stirred only by an occasional passing buccaneer or explorer. In 1571, Sir Francis Drake, English navigator and infamous plunderer of Spanish galleons, sailed through the sea passageway separating the British and American Virgins, today known as Sir Francis Drake Channel.

A popular spot to visit on St. Thomas today is Drake’s Sea, overlooking Magens Bay, where the famed Englishman reportedly watched the Spanish Aramda sail by as his ships hid in the sanctuary of Magens Bay.

In the 1600’s European powers continued to claim and settle Caribbean islands. In 1671, Denmark clearly ruled St. Thomas, establishing the first permanent settlement there. By 1718 they had expanded to St. John. A fort was constructed in Coral Bay, one of the safest harbors in the Caribbean. In 1733, Denmark arranged to purchase St. Croix from France, uniting the three Virgin Islands of today. To be continued….

Reprinted from Virgin Islands Playground

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