St. Croix history

St. Croix Island History

St. Croix island has been inhabited for over a thousand years, first by Carib Indians, then a variety of European settlers, pirates, Africans, and today's multicultural mix. St. Croix' history has been influenced in some way by each.

Christopher Columbus set eyes upon St. Croix island on his second Caribbean voyage in 1493. He named the island Santa Cruz, but did not stay long after meeting its warlike occupants, the Caribs. The first European settlements in St. Croix history, rather, were set up by small bands of French, English, and Dutch colonists in the 1600s. After a period of sole occupation by the French, St. Croix island was purchased, along with St. Thomas and St. John, by the Danish government. From that point on, St. Croix history was dominated by the dynamics of a plantation-based economy, with various movements of people to and from the St. Croix island depending on who was needed to run it. The demand for workers on the sugar plantations of St. Croix island had a big impact on its cultural makeup, bringing in laborers from every corner of the globe.

The flag flying over St. Croix island changed in 1917 when, worried that Germany might stage a U-Boat attack from Caribbean waters, the US government bought the three islands from Denmark in a strategic move. St. Croix' history changed little, however, until a booming tourist industry replaced sugarcane in the 1960s as the island's economic juggernaut. Tourism has continued to dominate the entire Virgin Island economy, bringing in over 70% of the territory's revenue and providing an equal proportion of its jobs. Evidence of St. Croix history before the tourist boom, though, is still visible in several great plantation homes and estates remaining on St. Croix island.

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