St. Croix is rich with history. When Christopher Columbus discovered the caribbean island of St. Croix in 1493 it was inhabited by two tribes of Indians; the Caribs and the Arawaks. The Arawaks were generally considered to be a peaceful tribe while the Caribs were a warring tribe.
The Spanish and the natives were immediately at war which continued for about 100 years after the Spanish discovery. Sometime in the early 1600′s The Dutch and the English settled the Island almost simultaneously, each country set up camp on opposite sides of the island. Predictably battles ensued and the English came out ahead until 1650. In the next 88 years the island was usurped, purchased, or abandoned by the Spanish, the Dutch, the French, and the Knights of Malta.
In 1665, while owned by the French West Indian Company the island gave birth to some 90 plantations turning out crops of tobacco, cotton, sugar cane, and indigo. In 1733 the French Government sold St. Croix to the Danish West India & Guinea Co. for approximately $150,000. Map of the Caribbean The Danes were wise to let immigrants of various nationalities move in and settle abandoned plantations. Sugar became the successful crop under Danish rule until around 1830, when the sugar beet became a feasible source of sugar grown in Europe. The last sugar crop was harvested in St. Croix in 1966.
The United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million. Since then, the economy has grown due to the construction of an oil refinery, an industrial plant, rum production, and cattle farming all on the flat south coast near the airport. Tourism has become more and more important as a source of revenue as well. St. Croix, along with St. John and St. Thomas is now a U.S. territory and the islands residents are U.S. citizens.
Today, perhaps the best value in the United States Virgin Islands, St. Croix is a beautiful Caribbean island vacation spot. Attracting divers from all over the world, the Island is the largest of the US. Virgin Islands at approximately 20 miles long, by 7 miles wide, Christiansted on the northern coast and Fredricksted on the western tip. The island is geographically diverse, with flatlands on the southern coast, 1000 ft. mountains and rainforests in the northwest, and a virtual desert to the east, with grassland spotted with cacti.