In 1801-1802: Great Britain over threw the Danish government. Great Britain and France were at war. The Danes and France had good relations after having bought St. Croix from France in 1733, and therefore Great Britain was concerned about France getting their hands on Danish ships etc. Denmark at the time was flourishing from the Atlantic slave trade after having introduced slavery to the Virgin Islands for over one hundred twenty five years.


1804-1806: Great Charlotte Amalia Fires. The wooden warehouses and storage units

were destroyed by fire. With gun powder and alcohol stored in the

warehouses, and alley ways to channel wind plus the strong trade winds,

nothing could stop the fires until natural circumstances intervened and some

man power when the fire got to the point where they could handle it were

finally put out.


1806-1816: Great Britain overthrows the Danish government again because of the

continuing Napoleonic wars with France. Great Britain changed the

name of Fort Frederick on Hassle Island to Fort Willoughby. We also drive

on the left side of the road today because of Great Britain’s influence.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power in France was a historical one that

changed the whole world. Born in Corsica in 1769 by 1795 he already

commanded an army. In 1804 became emperor. Defeated in Russia in 1814

he reclaimed power in 1815. He died in 1821. All the world drove on the

right side, Great Britain’s influence is why most of the world now drives on

the left during Napoleon’s time and he tried to change it to the right. If Great

Britain did not take over St. Thomas we would be driving on the right side of

the road still today.


The Danish Era continued, after Great Britain’s interruption


In 1800’s: Sugar cane industry reaches a climatic point in St. Thomas’ Magens Bay.


In 1816: After the Danes reclaimed the island, St. Thomas became a successful trading

mecca, while continuously declining in agriculture. Agriculture would never be

productive again on the island.


In 1820’s -: Slaves were exported to Puerto Rico, allowed by Governor Torre who

could not import from Africa because of English pressure on Spain to sign a

treaty to end the Slave trade. With agriculture declining in St. Thomas this

was a great way for them to get rid of some of the Blacks on the island.


In 1825-26: Great fires destroyed the Catholic Church and building codes were

changed to encourage colonists to build with rubble stone and bricks.


In 1827: Peter von Sholten was appointed governor.


In 1828: Peter vonSholten started a long 20 year affair with an African woman of

mixed heritage, her name was Anna Heegard.


In 1830: Camille Pissaro was born in St. Thomas. He later moved to France and

became the father of impressionism.


In 1834: Segregation between, “free” Africans; referred to as ‘coloreds’, and whites

ended by proclamation.


In 1835: Samuel Morse invented the telegraph machine and subsequently the code

to communicate.


In 1837: The first steamship was built for North Atlantic ocean travel, The Great

Western is launched.


In 1839: There were at least 41 different European importing houses of considerable

business volume in St. Thomas. Some by English (13), French (11),

German (6), Spanish (4), American (4), Italian (4), and Danish (3). That same

year compulsory education was created.


In 1840’s: St. Thomas became a coaling and watering station for ships traveling

between South America and the North. Cunard starts to provide

commercial transatlantic sailings.


In 1843: A light was placed at the entrance of St. Thomas’ harbour to assist in the

navigation of vessels to the island a testament to the frequency of ships to

this area.


In 1846: The U.S. Mexican War rages on.


In 1847: King Christian VIII declared that all babies born after July 28, 1847 will be

declared free and that all others will be free in twelve years. This angered the

Africans and started the chain of wars and revolts lead by many individuals

including General Budhoe. This resulted in the freeing of the Africans who were

held captive as slaves in 1848.


In 1848: The African captives (slaves) were emancipated by the order of Danish

Governor Peter von Sholten first in St. Croix and then in the Emancipation

Garden on July 4th  and subsequently on the 5th in St. John. France also

abolished slavery and all related commerce. Anna is said to have been

influential in Peter’s decision to free them.


The U.S. wins the war with Mexico and after winning, California was ceded to

America and the Gold Rush began; but very few got rich.


In 1850’s: Cholera broke out in the commercial harbour of St. Thomas on the south side

due to the filthy water caused by feces and trash in the water.


In 1861: The Civil War begins.


In 1865: Chamberlain Louis Rothe, Knight of Dannebrog was Vice Governor of The

Danish West Indies. The Civil War ends.


In 1867: The U.S. offers 7.5 million dollars for St. Thomas and St. John, the offer was

made by Mr. William Henry Seward the Secretary of State at the time. Mr.

Seward had recently lead the purchase of Alaska for 7.2 million from Russia

and that deal was done the same year so the proposal was killed by the U.S.

Senate 1868 and referred to as Seward’s folly because it was an unsuccessful

bid. The amount offered was 7.5 million for St. Thomas and St. John.

 A major hurricane and earth quake in the same year hit St. Thomas and caused a tsunami that destroyed many of the homes on the island.


In 1869: The 15th Amendment was passed giving Africans who were formerly

enslaved the right to vote.



In 1872: The Mongoose was introduced to the Caribbean to prey on the snakes.

We still have the Puerto Rican Racer and Wild boas around the island.

 The capital was moved from St. Croix to St. Thomas.


*In 1874: The V.I. Legislature Building was erected as a Danish warehouse; it later

became a U.S. Marine barrack, the first public high school and was turned into

the Legislature Building in 1957. Today it is known as the Earl B. Ottley

Legislature Building. Earl B. Ottley was political figure who made and broke



In 1876: Alexander Graham Bell receives a U.S. patent for the telephone.


In 1879: Thomas Edison invents the light bulb.


In 1881: Booker T. Washington a former African slave was selected to be principle

of the new Tuskegee Institute.


In 1883: The Brooklyn Bridge was completed.


In 1898: The Spanish American War begins. Puerto Rico was ceded to America.