1. World Map /
  2. North America/
  3. Caribbean/
  4. US Virgin Islands/
  5. US Virgin Islands Timeline

US Virgin Islands History Timeline

US Virgin Islands's Information

Flag of US Virgin Islands
Land Area 346 km2
Water Area 1,564 km2
Total Area 1,910km2
Population 102,951 (#193)
Population Density 297.55/km2
Government Type Presidential Democracy; A Self-governing Territory Of The US
GDP (PPP) $3.79 Billion
GDP Per Capita $36,100
Currency Dollar (USD)
Largest Cities
  • (1000 BC) First people arrived on St. John, established village at Salt Pond Bay
  • (500 BC ) Ancestors of the Tainos arrived on St. John; original population killed or assimilated
AD 1000 - 1700s
  • (1000) Taino Indian culture arrived on St. John
  • (1493) Columbus sailed past the islands on his second voyage, reported it to be uninhabited
  • (1500s) St. John inhabited by small groups of Native Americans from other islands fleeing persecution
  • (1672) Danes settled St. Thomas
  • (1684) English prevented Danish attempts to settle St. Thomas
  • (1718) Erik Bredal, governor of St. Thomas, took formal possession of St. John in the name of the King of Denmark and the Danish West India Company; construction of a fort began, plantation era began using labor of enslaved Africans
  • (1733) St. John suffered from devastating hurricane, drought, insect plague;African slaves revolted against the owners of the St. John plantations, took control of most of the island
  • (1734) Slaves finally defeated by French troops from Martinique
  • (1755) King Fredrick of Denmark bought all the land, slaves, estates, ships, factories owned by the Danish West India Company
  • (1766) St. John and St. Thomas declared free ports by the Danish Crown
  • (1792) Danish passed law mandating end of African slave trade in ten years
  • (1807 - 1815) British reoccupied St. John
  • (1834) Slaves were emancipated in British Virgin Islands, St. John slaves escaped to Tortola
  • (1839) Law passed requiring slave children to attend school
  • (1840) Major escape by slaves to the British Virgin Islands
  • (1848) Slaves in Danish West Indies were emancipated
  • (1849) Labor Act forced freed slaves to stay on plantations
  • (1854) Cholera epidemic killed 218
  • (1856) Population ravaged by two more cholera epidemics
  • (1867) Devastating hurricane ended the plantation system, discouraged US plans to purchase the islands
  • (1868) Voters unanimously supported a US purchase of the islands; US rejected purchase of St. Thomas and St. John from Denmark for $7.5 million
  • (1878) Rebellion of disgruntled workers on St. Croix led by Mary Thomas (Queen Mary)
  • (1879) Labor Act amended to allow contract negotiation
  • (1902) Denmark rejected US offer to buy St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix for $5 million
  • (1917) Official transfer of Danish West Indies to US for $25 million
1900s continued
  • (1927) Virgin Islanders granted American citizenship
  • (1930) First automobile arrived on St. Thomas; U.S. Navy rule ended
  • (1931) Dr. Paul M. Pearson became first civilian governor
  • (1936) US Congress passed First Organic Act, gave political power to the local Virgin Islands government
  • (1946) First black governor, William H. Hastie, elected
  • (1962) First commercial jet landed in St. Thomas
  • (1971) Melvin Evans became first black Virgin Islander to be elected governor
  • (1989) Hurricane Hugo struck Caribbean, St. Croix hit the hardest
  • (1995) Hurricane Marilyn killed 10, caused $1.5 billion in damages
  • (1997) Dr. Donna Christian Green became first woman elected Virgin Islands' delegate to US Congress
  • (2004) Over 5,500 residents of St. Croix signed petition asking Congress to make it its own U.S. Territory
  • (2006) Former chief of environmental protection pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges to defraud government of more than $1 million
  • (2008) 40 boats sank or washed ashore during Hurricane Omar, caused oil spills
  • (2009) Police cancelled J'ouvert Carnival after four people were wounded in shooting and two stabbing's
  • (2010) U.S. federal authorities obtained court order requiring officials in U.S. Virgin Islands to repair sewage plants that dumped raw waste at beaches
  • (2011) Traffic stop led to seizure of 502 pounds (228 kg) of cocaine with street value of more than $6 million

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

Trending on WorldAtlas

Countries & Territories Of The Caribbean