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The Danish Are Well Sorry That They Sold The Virgin Islands To The United States Of America in 1917 … Just Ask Them!


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CHRISTIANSTED – March 31st marks the 100th anniversary of the purchase of the U.S. Virgin Islands from Denmark.

In 1917, the United States purchased the three islands, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John for $25 million in gold. This purchase was an effort to improve military positioning during World War I.

Under the Danish rule, the islands fell on economic hardships and suffered many natural disasters during the late 1800’s. Many of the residents fled the islands to find work.

After the purchase, conditions started to improve slowly, but many residents grew angry because they were not granted American citizenship after the purchase.

Naval Officials and appointed military personnel oversaw the islands. The Military and the Interiors department managed the territory until passage of the Organic Act in 1936, in which all residents were granted American Citizenship.

A new dawn began in the mid 1900’s when tourist seeking the warmth that the Caribbean has to offer. Hotels, restaurants, and business started popping up and more people were returning to the islands to build homes and find work.  The Virgin Islands became one of the premiere destinations in the Caribbean.

Though March 31st is the official “Transfer Day,” many events will be held throughout the islands all year celebrating.

For a listing of all events you can visit

As a part of celebrating the centennial, the USVI is offering $300 in spending credits when you book a 3-day trip through . These spending credits can be used for historical/cultural tours and activities.

Whether you like to snorkel, scuba dive, hang glide, or lay on a beach there is something for everyone who visits the glorified territory.

For more information on visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands; please go to:


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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