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A Day to Reminisce – 99 Years under the American Flag!


Yesterday (August 4th) we celebrated 99 years as a U.S. Territory! The American Flag flies high over the Historic Christiansted town and flaps in the wind as the sailboats trail off to Buck Island.  We, Crucians, are proud to carry both our Virgin Island and American flags!

Even though St. Croix is now decorated with stars and stripes the earlier European settlers left their footprints which can be seen today through the historic architecture, coveted sugar mill ruins and the lively culture.  Let’s take a stroll through St. Croix’s past…



On November 14, 1493, Columbus made his first visit to “Ayay” (as the Indians called St. Croix) and renamed it Santa Cruz.


The Dutch and English are grouped together for they settled the Virgin Islands almost simultaneously — sometime in the early 1600’s.  Each country settled a separate side of the island:  the Dutch settled the east end and the English the west.  Inevitably, conflict erupted.  After numerous battles, the Dutch ended up abandoning the islands.  The English controlled St. Croix until 1650. 


The French sent two vessels to capture St. Croix and succeeded in 1651.  


Ten years later the Governor of St. Kitts, De Poincy, bought St. Croix as his private estate and later deeded it to the Knights of Malta.  The Knight of Malta were not true knights in the medieval sense but were a religious group also known as the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.  The Order fared poorly and in general were considered to be rich young aristocrats who knew little about colonization.  In 1665, the French West Indian company bought the island from the Knights.


In 1733, the French Government sold St. Croix to the Danish West India & Guinea Co. for approximately $150,000.  Shortly after, the Danes allowed immigrants of other nationalities to move in.  The result was rapid development as everyone purchased the available plantations.  The English soon dominated the populations and English became the language spoken on the streets.  It was under Danish rule that the sugar plantations flourished.  As you tour the island you will still see coveted sugar mills  and plantation ruins – the history is rich!


Denmark sold the Virgin Islands to the United States of America in 1916 for $25 million.  Secretary of State Robert Lansing and the Danish minister signed the transfer on August 4, 1916 in New York. The following year, on March 31st,  the United States took formal possession of the islands. St. Croix is now a U.S. Territory, along with the other U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John.