About St. Croix

St. Croix is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The territory is considered an unincorporated U.S. territory. St. Croix is by far the largest of the 4 U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, Water Island and St. John are the other three). At 84 square miles, St. Croix is about three times the size of St. Thomas, however, it has about the same population as St. Thomas. St. John and Water Island are tiny in comparison. Saint Croix has flown seven different flags. It has been colonized by Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta, Denmark, and the United States.

The Carib were the last of the Native Indian people to inhabit St. Croix. The Carib people were originally from the Guiana region of South America.  They were not the first Indians on St. Croix.. The Tainos or Arawaks came before them and the Caribs didn't arrive on the island until the early 1400's. It was the Carib that greeted Columbus on his second voyage through the islands.

The Caribs continued to inhabit St. Croix for about a decade after Columbus' visit. During this time they lived with an understanding of mutual coexistence with the Spanish on Puerto Rico. This understanding ended when a Spanish adventurer raided St. Croix for Carib slaves. The Caribs then joined with the Tainos of Puerto Rico, to fight against the Spanish. As a result of their uprising, the Caribs were ordered to be eliminated by the Spanish Crown. With 'legalized' extermination and military action inevitable,  the Caribs permanently abandoned St. Croix.

Sugarcane quickly became the economic force on the island many years. The development of the sugar beet in Europe and abolishment of slavery undermined the economy of the colony. Slavery was abolished after a successful insurrection in 1848, but in 1862, St. Croix received a shipload of East Indians that were indentured on the island for five years. There was a labor revolt by former slaves in 1878 when much of Frederiksted, one of the island's two towns, was burnt down in a labor revolt now known as the Fireburn. It was reportedly led by four women known as the "Queens" of the revolt, and a modern island thoroughfare is named after "Queen Mary" Thomas.

Christopher Columbus is credited as the first European to have discovered the island in 1493. He landed at what is know known as Salt River, which is on the central north coast. He was searching for fresh water but didn't find any because a river, was just an inlet from the sea that resembled the mouth of a river. There can be small running streams/rivers in the rainforest, depending on how much rain there has been, but nothing navigable. The far eastern part of the island is a bit more arid than the west end. You will see a lot of cactus plants, with some growing up to 15' high on the rolling hills.  Even though the island is only 27 miles long, east to west, the western end of the island has lush green hills that rise up much higher than on the east end and even includes a small rainforest. There are pristine, white sandy beaches all around the island.

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