A separate article treats the St. Croix River, which forms part of the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
is one of the Virgin Islands
in the Caribbean
. It was inhabited by Arawaks and Caribs prior to European colonization of the Americas
. Christopher Columbus
visited there on November 14
giving it the name Santa Cruz
. His initial visit led to a battle whereat one Spaniard and one Carib were killed. This heralded warfare between the Spaniards
and Caribs which lasted for over one hundred years until the Spanish abandoned their colony. In the seventeenth century the island was colonised by Dutch
settlers, who were soon in conflict with one another. Eventually the Dutch abandoned their settlement, and then the English settlement was destroyed by the Spanish who retook the island in 1650
. However they on their turn were immediately ousted by the French
The island was owned by the Knights of St John after being bequeathed by De Poincy, Governor of the French colony of St Kitts in 1660. However they sold it to the French West India Company in 1665. Under Governor Dubois the colony became profitable with over 90 plantations growing such crops as tobacco, cotton, sugar cane and indigo. After Dubois' death the colony declined and the island was abandoned by Europeans until 1733 when it was sold to the Danish West India and Guinea Company. This company placed no national restrictions on colonists and soon attracted Spanish Sephardic Jews, Huguenots and English settlers, the last of which came to dominate the Island. Sugar became the major crop. However the development of sugar beet in Europe undermined the economy of the colony.
Slavery was abolished in 1848 and there was a revolt by former slaves in 1878 when much of Fredericksted, the major town was burnt.
In 1917 the Virgin Islands were sold by Denmark to the United States of America for $25million.