Virgin Islands: World Bibliographical Series Volume 138.
Verna Penn Moll. Oxford, England: Clio Press Ltd, 1991
The Virgin Islands group is situated in the Caribbean arc, which extends from North to South America, separating the American Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean. The group forms one ecological system and consists of seven main Islands and over one hundred cays shared between Britain and the United States of America. Three of the largest Islands, with an area of 137 square miles and a population of over 100,000 are dependencies of the United States; a smaller area, 67 square miles, with 30,000 population, is under British jurisdiction. The Archipelago lies forty miles east of Puerto Rico, between latitudes 17 and 18 degrees north and longitude 64 and 65 degrees West, and is approximately 3,800 miles from Britain and 1,700 miles from New York.
The group became politically divided during the great ‘power play’ of the European nations. Since Columbus came across the Islands on November 17, 1493, the Spanish, English, Dutch, French and Danish have all tried to control some or all of the Islands (one of them, St. Croix, has changed flags seven times). However, the British has remained in some of them, since 1672, chiefly Tortola and Anegada. Denmark annexed St. Thomas in 1692, St. John in 1717, and purchased St, Croix from France in 1733. Those three Islands were called’ The Danish West Indies. In 1917 they were purchased from the Danes by the United States of America and renamed ‘The United States Virgin Islands. The others became known as ‘The British Virgin Islands. Thus two distinct political territories were formed.
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