Ancient Era

+3500 B.C.: Ceramic tribes. Highly civilized and able to make some incredible pottery, a
testament to their civilization and long existence. Proves that any tribes after
must have been civilized also.

+1500 B.C.: People living in St. Thomas of African origin with Negroid type
Features. Bones were actually found that supports this claim at Hull Bay.
Those bones were carbon dated to 1250 B.C. but we must assume logically
that they were here and probably mixed with the Indian tribes because of
their similar nature and culture.

There were several tribes: Ceramic, Ciboney, Arawaks, and the Caribs.
These peoples lived off of vegetables, and fish primarily and were civilized.
Probably because they fought a good fight is the reason Columbus said
that they were cannibals and everyone else has described them as such after
him. There is absolutely no evidence what so ever that proves that the Caribs
were cannibals. There are many ways to discover this as a truth if it was,
through abrasions to bones, evident in archaeological finds etc.

 

 

These different tribes were later referred to as “Indians.” Called “Indians” because
of Columbus’ error who in 1492, while on a search for India for sugar. In his
ignorance landed on Hispaniola and thought he found India. Naming the
region “Las Indias”, today everyone calls the aboriginal people “Indians.” By
the mid 1600’s almost all of the “Indians” were killed particularly in the
smaller islands which had less land to share, hide, and to escape. Bigger
islands like Dominica and St. Lucia had more land to escape into the interior.

Spanish Era

1492 A.D.: Columbus on his first voyage sails to the Caribbean after unsuccessfully trying
to convince the queen of Spain to fund his expedition, he set out on his own
with a group of men and sailed to the Caribbean looking for India after
landing on Hispaniola and mistakenly thought it was India, probably because
of the many “Indians” there; naming it “Las Indias.” Today, probably because
of Columbus’ error, and many others after, the inhabitants of the
Caribbean were called “Indians” subsequently. These people were not from
India, but from South American and of Negroid African ancestry.

1493 A.D.: Columbus on his second voyage sails to the Caribbean again and eventually
lands at 17 degrees north and 64 degrees west at an area now known
as Salt River. After landing on St. Croix on Nov.13, with a fleet of 17
ships, and then sailing north and subsequently finding Tortola (turtle), Virgin
Gorda (fat virgin), St. John (Sankt Jan) the saint, St. Thomas (Santa Ana) and
many other cays. He was inspired to name them after the 11,000 mythical
virgins that followed Saint Ursula to martyrdom in Rome. He named St.
Thomas “Santa Ana” after the mother of the virgin. St. Thomas’ harbour on
the south where hassle island used to be connected would look like the womb
of a woman if it was still connected today. He named the natural harbour
“serredurra,” meaning key hole, because of its obvious protective shape. Like
a key hole.

1497: Denmark established its first schools, this is literally thousands of years
After Africans in Africa had already established theirs. To think in
retrospect that Africans were called uncivilized and enslaved for so many
centuries. It has to be the biggest man made catastrophe in history.

1585: Sir Frances Drake, a privateer, sailed through a channel now named after him
between St. John and Tortola B.V.I. on his way to overthrow the Spaniards in
Haiti, where it became English, and then later became French.
English Era

1607: John Smith the captain visits St. Thomas on his long journey to America to
establish an English colony in Virginia

1621: Dutch West Indies were attacking Spanish ships and there holdings in the area.

Dutch Era
1640s

St. Thomas became inhabited by the Dutch who mostly occupied Hassle
Island. Their was evidence on Hassle Island that the Dutch were pursuing
tobacco agriculture. Cays surrounding us still have Dutch names and
reflect their occupation of these territories: Little and Great
Tobago (Dutch for Tobacco), Jost Van Dyke, Buck “Pokken”Island after the
pox Lignum Vitae tree that grows there. Lignum Vitae (lead wood) is a very
light wood but is hard as a rock.

1645

The Dutch governor was assassinated in St. Croix by the English in retaliation
for the assassination of the English governor to ensure that they were
understood and not out done the English invited the newly elected Dutch
governor over to discus some issues concerning land rights and he was arrested
and later killed. The Dutch settlers withdrew from St. Croix, some came to St. Thomas.

French Era
Date?

French men settled in St. Thomas possibly disturbing the peace with Dutch
settlers still here. They were able to settle and did enough to be noted as a
former French colony.

1652

Denmark was looking to join the Slave Trade with some success already,
they were beginning to explore the possibilities of having a colony.

English Era
1653

Oliver Cromwell (drove the Spanish out for England) during the English period.
The French moved into St. Thomas with force to take over completely but was
usurped by the English and Louis XIV.
Knights of Malta Era

In ?:
(A rich and powerful Catholic sect)
The Knights of Malta spent some time here, nothing noted of fights or wars with
anyone for St. Thomas. They probably set up the slave system for Denmark.
The Knights have plied the slave trade for centuries and were driven out of
several European countries until they were allowed to settle in Malta in the
Mediterranean. They also occupied Saint Croix for some periods and so their
presence was felt in some way. The Knights being here just before Denmark
and Denmarks first colony seems very curious even with no substantial
evidence.


Danish Era

1665-1917

1665

Denmark after visiting the Caribbean several times looking for territories to
Speculating - late in the game as it was - in the already two hundred year
European colonization of the Caribbean claimed St. Thomas through the skipper
Erik Neilson Smidt, who planted the Danish flag into the ground of Sankt
Tomas. He went about the business of setting up the first colonization attempt
and was successful. Denmark never lost control of St. Thomas just of men that
either died or left because of their fears and the prospected arduous task of
inhabitation.

Only a man familiar with the sea and the Caribbean would dare to lead a group
to colonize an island; men who fare the sea, are fearless in life on land, and their
pursuits of happiness in it.

With the volatile nature of the Caribbean in its ecological character and the
many wars that the natives (“Indians”) and Africans waged to keep and set
themselves free, it definitely took a certain propinquity to fearlessness of God
and man to inhabit this new world. These were colonies of slavery, inhumanity,
war, high humidity, diseases, and almost certain death. For some: spiritually,
and for almost all, physically. It was a high risk, made irresistible, by the
promise of great wealth, and freedom for many exiles that would be sent away
to work plantations or as indentured servants etc. The fact that the Danes in
Denmark did not have formal education in schools until 1749, you can see how
it was a need to expand from their misery of life that drove many Europeans
into the Caribbean and suppressed and enslaved Africans who already had
schools and institutions of higher learning for thousands of years.

This being said Erik Nielsen Smidt died soon after arriving in 1665. Before he
died on June 12, 1666 he was able to build a small fortress, the first of several
fortresses built by Denmark on the island of St. Thomas Virgin Islands; Fort
Fredericksburg was the name of the fortress and it was built on the hill that Blue
Beards Castle sits on. Fort Fredericksburg was reconfigured over the years and
was finally completed in ca.1688 to the current configuration (ca.1688 - 2007).
The area was used as a plantation and subsequently a residence in the modern
era and was later established as the first hotel on the island in 1934. This effort
was spearheaded by Paul M. Pearson the very first civilian governor under the
U.S. Dept. of the Interior.

Because of the lose of Smidt, new blood sailed in to administer the island, and a
different vision for the island and its security was realized; his name was Jesper
Hoyer and here the idea and plans seeded to build and a fort in the location that
is now Fort Christian.

1665

The Danes were in and out of this area now called the Virgin Islands. Many lost
their lives to dysentery and Malaria during their commute and attempts to settle
St. Thomas.

1666

Danish governor Erik Nielsen Smidt died June 12, 1666. The Danish flag
continued to fly with the new, second governor; Jesper Hoyer who was a colleague
and copatriot settler.

1667

Jesper Hoyer’s tenure ended with complete chaos finding such sickness and death
that many fled the island was deemed unsafe; this was Denmark’s first attempt.

1668-1669

This was a quiet period of little activity with intentions of finding another
governor to continue the goals of establishing a productive slave colony..

1670

In Denmark King Christian acceded to the throne as king.

1671

The Danish governor was George Jorgen Iversen and his assistant was the very
important Lutheran Minister Kjeld Jensen Slagelse. Together organized the return
of Denmark to the territory as a permanent colony.
§ The Danish West Indian Company was established

1671-1680

Construction of Fort Christian was overseen by the second Danish governor
Jorgen Iverson, it was the second, but first legitimate fortress to be built by
Denmark, and the most formidable one that helped them maintain control of
St. Thomas; the Danish West Indies - for more than two hundred forty five
plus years. The new Danish governor Jorgen Iverson completed this task “by
any means necessary” and was labeled a tyrant by employing and delegating
work non prejudicially to anyone in the community in order to complete the
job.

1672

Denmark officially takes over St. Thomas: St. John in 1694 and St. Croix in 1733.
§ Jorgen Iverson was the Danish Governor. A Dane by birth, he became rich while working in the slave trade in St. Kitts (St. Christopher), he became a partner in a Dutch slave venture.
1673: Africans were: captured, enslaved, and brought to St. Thomas to be used to
cultivate land for cash crops or to be traded or perform other tasks for the colonists
social and economic goals.
1674-1680: Saw major fortress construction completed for the protection of the
harbour; Skytes Borg (sky tower);Black Beards Castle built by a Dutch man
by the name of Carl Baggaert and used as look out by the Danish
government and the eminent Fort Christian which was being completed by
the Danes. Because of these fortresses and Denmark strategic decision to
remain neutral during the European Wars. Denmark became very wealthy
during this period of trade, with diverse European slave companies
participating in the Triangular Slave Trade industry.
1680: Governor Iverson resigned with the construction of Fort Christian completed
For him it must have been mission accomplished, he ran the island autonomously
and was labeled a tyrant during his term in office. He was an asset for Denmark
who had a rough start in the early stages of colonization. Being a business man
and very ambitious he worked hard and expected others to as well.
1680-1686: Between these years, were the unstable years of the terrible brothers
named Nicolai Esmit, and Adolph Esmit, who both did things that were self
serving and illegal,? in those days. Corrupt for Governors even though in
the slave trade; they: allowed pirates to fly the Danish flag, confiscated
British property and he (Adolph) even imprisoned his brother Nicolai, albeit
justified he himself should have been imprisoned.
A new Governor was sent down from Denmark by the name Milan,
Gabriel he turned out to be worse than the Esmits. He tried to turn the
Danish settlers against Denmark by force promising to throw the people
to the gallows.
Gabriel Milan was ordered to bring Adolph Esmit back to Denmark but he
now also faced persecution with the ship called Fortuna Coming with a
commissioner authorized to order them to stand trial.
1686: Christopher Heins became the acting Governor.
1688: Blue Beards Castle was completed. Blue Beards was not a real Pirate this structure
was named to market the structure to the tourism industry. The fortress was
built on a hill named Frederiksburg named Fort Frederiksburg, King Frederick it
helped to prevent France from taking over the island.
§ Blue Beards Castle was established as a hotel in 1934 after being speculated by Paul D. Pearson to stimulate the local economy and create work for locals. The service industry was being established.
This year saw the first island wide census conducted, which counted 422 Africans
and 148 Europeans (66 Dutch/ 31 English/ 17 Danes and Norwegians/ 17 French/
4 Irish/ 4 Flemish/ 3 Germans/ 3 Swedes/ 1 Scotch/ 1 Brazilian/ 1 Portuguese).
1685: Brandenburg African Company was a German based company involved in the
Triangular Slave Trade with the Americas built and used what is today the former
Berne Ice Plant building to store slaves and to ship merchandise in the colonial era
and leased large portions of St. Thomas from the Danes between 1685-1718. Their
headquarters was located in the Finance Building perpendicular to Saints Peter and
Paul School.
1687: The German Brandenburger Company fell back on their payments to
Demark and leased out their portion to a Norwegian business man by the
of George Thormuellen.
1691: Taphus (tap house) the name that signified the capital and labeled it for what St.
Thomas was known for at the time: a market of pubs and bistros, was changed to
Charlotte Amalia in 1691, in honor of King Christian V’s new bride. The name of
the capital was later changed to Charlotte Amalie by America in 1936.
1694: The English finally allowed the Danes to settle Sankt Jahn
after being driven out a few times
by British troops living on Tortola after meetings and municipalities agreeing to
allow them to settle the small island.
1697: on September 28, The Danish West India and Guinea Co. was established with the
intentions of capitalizing on the slave market for big gains.
1700: Nisky Moravian Church was built. This is the oldest Moravian church in the
Caribbean. The Moravian religion was started by the Moravia people this so called
spiritual set out of Germany and Saxony. They did however started education for
slaves on the island.
1701-1713: St. Thomas thrived with the Danes during the Spanish Succession. All
European countries were fighting each other and Denmark was a
neutral territory and benefited by all the European traders doing
business safely here.
1717: Planters from St. Thomas travel back and forth to St. John to cultivate sugar cane.
In 1718 they had an official ceremony to inaugurate the establishment of St. John
as a plantation colony.
1730: Nisky Moravian Church was destroyed by a fire, later when it was rebuilt the
second floor with shingled sides was added.
1733: St. Croix was bought from France by Denmark. That same year saw a huge
rebellion on St. John; the Fortsberg Fortress Slave Revolt lasted for six months
when the African slaves took over St. John until the French from neighboring
Martinique assisted the Danes to regain control of the island. That single event is
said to have started the revolution of slaves throughout the Caribbean. The legend
of their bravery encouraged slaves for over a century and still today instills a sense
of pride and wonder in some today.
§ The first Danish governor of St. Thomas was Erik Nielsen, Jorgen Iversen was brought in soon after to replace the short lived governor Nielsen, and subsequent governors followed, such as: (3)Nicolaj Esmit,
(4)Adolph Esmit, (5)Gabriel Milan, (6)Christoffer Heins; June, 1686 –
March, 1689.
In 1733: A legendary slave rebellion in St. John that started at the Fortsberg Fortress
lasted for six months with the Danes losing the battle until French help came
from Martinique, at this point the French and Denmark were business associates
after having recently selling St. Croix to the Danes. This slave rebellion
encouraged slaves to revolt throughout the Caribbean.
In 1734: Birth of Chaka Zulu. He went on in life to revolutionize the spear by simply
shortening it and changed the method of combat inevitably by making it
more physical body to body contact where before it was more distant and
less violent. It is believed that he was influenced by the state of the world
8`` 1
he received it.
In 1754: These islands were officially the Danish West Indies after Denmark took
all plantations in the islands.
In 1756-63: The Seven Year War occured where France and Sweden wer allies with Austria and Saxony (Germans)
against the German States.
In 1763: Treaty of Paris saw the French retaining Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Barts
In 1784: St. Barts a French colony was exchanged with Sweden for trade routes and warehousing in Sweden.
In 1794 Christianborg was burnt down and the royal family purchased and moved into Amelienborg Palace.
In 1764: King Frederick of Denmark declares St. Thomas’ harbour a ‘Freeport’.
Sometime after that, the inhabitants from St. Barthelemy started coming to St.
Thomas for a better life, after being ignored by France and Sweden who were at
war with each other. These people were originally exiles or descendants of those
who were Slaves, indentured servants and plantation heads etc. who occupied
themselves in fishing and agriculture. When they came here they took up the
same traditions and settled in St. Thomas on the southern side of St. Thomas
now called French Town for fishing and the Northern side of the island called
North Side which is today the agricultural capital. They have several prominent
family names now in Virgin Islands: the Berry’s, Honduras, Magras, Boschulte.
These people have assimilated the culture of the island well and have gone into
politics and business. Some have mixed in and interbred with the largely
African population, but many still live in a somewhat segregated way on the
island.
Saint Barts (St. Barthelemy) was ceded to Sweden in 1784 with provisions
allowing France to establish a transshipment post at Goteborg. The war between
France and Sweden ended, with France purchasing the island in 1877.
1773: Boston Tea Party
1776: American Revolution
1784-1878: St. Barth was controlled by sweden a former Danish ruled country then the Swedish West India Co. was
formed in 1785-1805 eventually the French reentered the island after the trading routes and warehouses in
Sweden part of the arrangement ended. The capital of St. Barth's is named after Gustav III king of Sweden
whow as married to The former king of Denmark; King Frederiks V daughter Sopia Magdalena.
In 1792: White Tail Deer was introduced.
In 1793: Frederick Lutheran Church was built. It was the religion of the Danes and
is today the official religion of the Virgin Islands although the island main
religion is Catholicism.
Danish Rule; English Takeover-Napoleonic Wars
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 1809: Bernadotte Crown Prince and Regent was stripped of his powers.
In 1812: Napoleon invaded Sweden -Pomerania a former ally.
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.
The First Schleswig War 1848-51. Danes vs. the Germans of Schleswig-Holstein which Denmark previously ruled.
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 1863-1906: King Christian IX (1818-1906) ascends to the Danish Throne after King Frederik VII death. King Chiristian IX wife was strategic and fanatical with dynastic goals and organized six successful marriages of her off spring and he became the "Father in Law of Europe" after his six children married into six different Eurpean Royal Houses, in the early 21st century many European monarchs were directly descended from him:
1. Russia- Nicholas II
2. Greece- Constantine I
3. United Kingdom- George V
4. Denmark- Christian X
5. Norway- Haakon VII
1n 1864: Second Schleswig War Denmark lost South Jutland and Holstein Germany. This war was started by
Prussia (Germans) and Austria.
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
Careers.
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.
In 1903: Wright Brothers made their first flight.
In 1904: U.S. takes over the construction of the Panama Canal.
In 1917: The group of islands now known as the Virgin Islands was bought for an
amazing 25 million dollars worth of gold (some of it probably stolen from
Africa at some point in the preceding history; America profited greatly from
Slavery. The islands were governed by the U.S. Naval officers from 1917 until
1931, and governors were appointed by the president of the U.S. up until 1970
under the jurisdiction of the United States Dept. of the Interior.
Naval Rule Era
Naval Administrators governed the islands
1917-1919: James Harrison Oliver; Rear Admiral of the U.S. Navy administered the
Islands.
1920-1921: Joseph Wallace Oman; Rear Admiral of the U.S. Navy…
1921-1922: Sumner Ely Wetmore Kittelle; Rear Admiral of the U.S. Navy…
1922-1923: Henry Hughs Hough; Captain of the U.S. Navy…
1923-1925: Phillip Williams; Captain of the U.S. Navy…
1925-1927: Martin Edward Trench; Captain of the U.S. Navy…
1927-1931: Waldo Evans; Captain of the U.S. Navy…
In 1924: Hurricane
In 1927:U.S. citizenship was granted to Virgin Islanders. During the intervening
ten years before they were made citizens Virgin Islanders were considered
subjects of the United States.
In 1927 -1947: Arthur Fairchild created an arboretum on Magens
Bay Beach. He brought flowers and herbs from different parts of the
world and cultivated them on the beach. In 1946 he donated the beach
property and surrounding perimeter to the government with a contractual
stipulation protecting it by prohibiting the building of hotels and homes
in the area.
In 1930: Daily News was established as the local paper in St. Thomas was founded by
Ariel Melchoir.
In 1931: The end of Naval rule.
Civilian Rule Era
Governors appointed by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior
In 1931-1935: The first appointed Governor; Paul M. Pearson, was born on Oct.22,
1871. Paul M. Pearson (a Quaker) was appointed by the President of the
United States as the first civilian governor he tried to revive the economy
by creating a commercial hospitality industry. He spearheaded the Blue
Beards Castle Hotel establishment, one of the founders of the Caribbean
tourism industry he died March 27, 1938…
In 1932: Malaria epidemic
In 1934: Blue Beards Castle Hotel, the first hotel in St. Thomas, was established.
1935-1941: The second appointed Governor; Lawrence W. Cramer, was born on Dec.
26, 1897 and died Oct.18, 1978…
In 1936: The name of the capital was changed in spelling from Charlotte Amalia to
Charlotte Amalie. Women received their rightful freedom to vote and be
counted as a democracy should allow.
*In 1939: _______ Submarine Base was established.
*In 1939: The Organic Act was passed by Congress this allowed the people to create
their own constitution, supreme court, and also created their judicial, territorial
court, and legislative bodies of government. A self defining Moment in history
marked the day when the Organic Act which was passed in 1939 by the U.S.
and subsequently revised in 1954 set the stage for the Virgin Islands people to
define themselves. Stimulated by the need to have a supreme court to hear and
decide over cases autonomously and be more self ruling, efficient and
independent. Cases such as the one which challenged the right for them to
have safaris (a modified truck flatbed made into a carriage with parallel seats
with an open air design and a covering over head for protection from sun and
rain. An idea which originated in St. John (saint John 19.5 square miles) that
was developed for our own survival, ingenuity and resourcefulness, turns the
flat bed of a truck into a bus with several parallel seats and an opening on the
side of each chair for passengers to get in and out. Without a door to lock, or a
seat belt to prevent body propulsion in sudden stops or crashes this could seem
very dangerous, but we have a constitutional right to create such a vehicle
under the Organic Act. Where it may not be legal under U.S. safety laws, we
have different laws here that can allow us the right to have such a vehicle.
Everyday things such as these that people take for granted are rights that could
and were challenged. Sometimes by a people that these things don’t affect
demographically.
In 1941: The Navy builds airport, roads, and housing.
1941-1946: The third appointed Governor; Charles Harwood, was born on May 14,
1880 and died on Oct.23, 1950, the Charles Harwood highway was named
after him…
*In 1945-47: The submarine base was closed after World War II.
In 1946: Magens Bay Beach was donated to the Virgin Islands government by Arthur
Fairchild, a contractual stipulation prohibiting the building of homes or hotels
around the perimeter of the beach was arranged by Arthur Fairchild the owner
of Magens Bay.
1946-1949: The forth appointed Governor; William Henry Hustie, was born Nov.17,
1904 and died April 21, 1976…
1948: Harry Truman desegregated the U.S. military the St. Thomas airport was named
after him up until the 1980’s when it was then changed to Cyril E. King Airport.
1952: The very first Carnival Parade was held.
1950-1954: The fifth appointed Governor; Morris Fidanque DeCastro was the first
native born Governor.
In 1954: The Organic Act was revised and expanded. In essence it set the stage for the
people of the Virgin Islands to govern themselves. It created our legislative,
judicial and our territorial court and also had provisions for us to create a
supreme court. These provisions allowed us to be more autonomous in our
government. In these times (ca. 2008) some people feel that it needs more
revision.
1954-1955: The sixth appointed governor; Arcihbald Alphonso Alexander, was born
May 14, 1888 and died Jan. 4, 1958. Archibald was appointed at a very
mature age.
1956: Laurance S. Rockefeller the conservationist purchases and later donates 5000
acres (approximately 3/5of the island) to the V.I. National Park Service.
1955-1958: The seventh appointed Governor; Walter Arthur Gordon was born on
Oct.10, 1894 and died April 2, 1976 at the ripe age of 81.
In 1956: Laurance S. Rockefeller donates 5000 acres of his land in St. John to the V.I.
Park Service. It is today federal land and is undisturbed beauty. The Virgin
Islands National Park was established in St. John V.I.
1958-1961: The eighth appointed Governor; John David Merwin was first native born
administrator of the Virgin Islands, a sign of things to come. He was born on
Sept.26, 1921.
1961-1969: The ninth appointed Governor; Ralph M. Paiewonsky was born on Nov.9,
1907 and died on his birthday on Nov.9, 1991…
§ King was appointed as Government Secretary by John F. Kennedy. This position was the equivalent of the Lieutenant Governors position today.
In 1962: The College of The Virgin Islands was established. It was the beginning of a
new era with this institution for higher learning being established.
In 1969: Melvin Evans was appointed as governor after the resignation Ralph M.
Paiewonsky was received by Richard Nixon. Cyril E. King was serving as
Government Secretary at the time; a position that was the equivalent to the Lt.
Governor position.
1969-1970: The ninth and last appointed Governor; Melvin Evans was appointed as
Governor after the early resignation of Ralph M. Paiewonsky. Something
very curious about his resignation, he was probably aware of the up coming
elections and the changes that were on the horizon. To save embarrassment
he was probably asked to resign.
Self Governorship Era
Term limited elected officials, a supreme court, and a constitution
In 1970: The people of the Virgin Islands elected their own governor under the Organic
Act, his name was Melvin Evans. Mr. Evans before being elected was an
appointed governor in the previous administration albeit one year.
1970-1974: The first elected Governor; Melvin Evans was elected by the people of the
Virgin Islands he was the first person to be elected by the people after 53
years under American rule. Melvin was born on August 7, 1917 and died on
Nov. 27, 1984. The time had come for the people to choose their own
administrator. Melvin Evans was supposed to be an easy choice because he
served the people in that position by appointment of the President
previously, but one the election in a runoff victory.
1972: A delegate to Congress is elected and became our voice in the U.S. House of
Representatives. Our delegate has no voting rights for President. Still, the right
and freedom to vote for president of the U.S. is not granted to the “American”
citizens of the Virgin Islands these are people who serve in the military and die
for their country, and was sent to war to die for a country that does not give
them the right to vote or impeach the person sending them to war.
The United States has work to do in making it a more equitable relationship,
With, justice, freedom and empowerment for all of its citizens.
1974: The College of the Virgin Islands become fully accredited.
§ Cyril E. King was elected to office
1975: Second elected Governor; Cyril E. King, was born on St. Croix April 7th, 1921
and died January 2nd, 1978 before he was able to complete his term in office. He
started to work in office on January 6th.
§ The College of The Virgin Islands became fully accredited.
§ Cyril E. King worked his way up the ladder to become Senior Staff Member of Senator Humphreys office in the 1940’s and was the first African to serve in a U.S. senators office. He worked with Senator Humphrey for 12 years after being appointed in 1949. While in that position he acted as the Deputy of the Virgin Islands Legislature and helped to gain Congressional action to amend the Organic Act (the constitution of the Virgin Islands).
§ Mr. King a brilliant man, Graduated from the American University in
Washington D.C. during the 1950’s with a Bachelor of Science degree
in Public Administration.
§ Later on in his life he worked hard and received an Honorary doctor of Laws degree from Roger Williams College in the 70’s and was the first ever to be awarded the Hilbert Medal by Hilbert College for outstanding Humanitarian and public efforts on behalf of Virgin Islanders and United States residents alike.
§ In 1961 he was appointed as Government Secretary by President Kennedy,
§ In 1970 he ran governor of the V.I. and won the general election but lost in the run off count against Melvin Evans the incumbent.
§ Cyril E. King received a United Caribbean Youth Award in 1968 (New York).
§ He received many accolades and appointments in his lifetime most after he was appointed Government Secretary for the Virgin Islands by President John F. Kennedy.
§ Cyril E. King died in 1978 before he was able to complete his term in office as governor. Juan Luis the lt. Governor held the seat until he ran for office and won.
In 1977: In this year began the long journey to world notoriety and acclaim for
David Montgumery Horsford, today known as Dawuud Najee-Ullah
Nyamekye, after changing his name in 2002 to undo what was done in slavery.
Dawuud was born to Lorna Glendora West (Horsford) and William Z. Horsford
on December 8, 1967, was crowned Prince of St. Thomas Carnival on the 25th
anniversary of their annual celebration. He later became a historian of African
and Caribbean History and developed comprehensive, entertaining, historical
tours in the Caribbean for Caribbean Historical Tours.com. He was a
consummate artist, a renaissance man acting on film and stage, painting,
singing, dancing... Dawuud was born on Antigua (Wadably) W.I. in English
Harbour a beautiful fishing and boating coastal community.
1977: Cyril E. King wrote a congratulatory letter to Dawuud N. Nyamekye; formerly
David M. Horsford after winning his victory as Prince of Carnival.
1978-1987: Third elected Governor; Juan Francisco Luis was born on July 10, 1940…
In 1979: This year saw two powerful hurricanes (David and Frederic) whispering of
things to come.
In 1984: A tropical storm (Klaus) hit.
In 1986: The College of The Virgin Islands was changed to: The University of The
Virgin Islands.
1987-1995: Fourth elected Governor; Alexander A. Farrelly was born on Dec.29,
1925…
In 1989: Hurricane Hugo hit St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, and Water Island. The four
islands and many others in the Caribbean as well as the continental United
States were devastated. St. Thomas lost its power island wide and took months
for some areas to receive electricity. The idea to put the electric cables under
ground was discussed in political and social circles as a good alternative.
1995-1999: Fifth elected Governor, Dr. Roy Lester Schneider was born on May 13th,
1939. Dr. Schneider was a former Prince of Carnival in St. Thomas and as
governor pushed for the hospital to be named after him. An obvious affinity
for women of a lighter or white complexion he was viewed by many as being
pompous.
In 1995: Yet another devastating Hurricane hit the island of St. Thomas and the island
was in shambles many people left the island. Hurricane Marilyn was
debatably more devastating than Hurricane Hugo, thanks to the resilience built
up from going through Hurricane Hugo the people somehow survived.
Hurricane Luis was in that same year.
In 1996: Water Island is formerly transferred to the Virgin Islands government for
governorship, after being previously managed by the U.S. Dept. of Interior
Water Island has a population of less than 300 people. The island has three
salt ponds, two gorgeous beaches.
§ Hurricane Bertha hit.
In 1998: Our sixth elected Governor Charles W. Turnbull was elected as Governor.
§ Hurricane Georges.
In 1999: Hurricane Lenny.
1999-2007: Sixth elected Governor; Charles W. Turnbull Ph.D. started his term in
office…
2002: Governor Charles W. Turnbull was re-elected as the seventh Governor.
§ The islands thrived under Turnbull’s administration.
In 2006: Julian Jackson was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. Julian Jackson was
our four time middle weight champion of the world who insisted on training in
St. Thomas, despite opportunities to use better facilities off island.
In 2006: The Virgin Islands government almost exceeds one billion dollars in revenue.
This is evidence progression on the island. With crime on the rise, and many
unsolved crimes the island has a price to pay for its economic growth and
sustained wealth and exposure. We are recording this history based on statistical
facts and accounts. There has been documented proof of corruption in
government in some instances with a high rate of approximately a third of the
population working in government, it is definitely time to reduce and redefine
the governments way of doing business, especially with the creation and
utilization of the Organic Act which was passed by Congress in 1954. This has
given the people of the Virgin Islands a right to create their own constitution
and supreme court, with some limitations but still in effect gives them more
autonomy in the handling their daily governmental affairs and the societal laws
for their people. Therefore the dynamics in their relationship will change with
the United States of America. How much and profound depends on their
creativity in writing these new laws.
C.A.R.I.C.O.M. exists in the Caribbean to unite and engage these islands in
trade, but the Virgin Islands only has observance status representing the
limitations in trade and other areas that can be of benefit if these markets were
to open but are not because of its “American” status. We will see how this will
change in the future.
St. Thomas’ population is approximately 53,200 people, with a low
unemployment rate between 4 – 6 percent. The government however
employs a staggering third of the population and should reduce its size. Backed
up with people who refuse to retire while reaping the benefits of huge salaries.
The government needs to downsize and stimulate the local economy in the
private sector with the intent to create entrepreneurs with the local people and
use their talent. Most people who are not working is because of a lack of desire
or unfair hiring practices. Many people from abroad come to St. Thomas to find
work or escape their existence and to “do some thing different.” Blacks
comprise a large part of the population at about 80%, Whites 10%, Indian 10%.
2006: Eighth elected Governor; John P. DeJongh was elected, with his running mate
Lieutenant Governor, Gregory R. Francis from St. Croix. They were elected in
2006 and started working in 2007.
In 2008: A new road project was begun, after many years being a topic of discussion, the
expansion of Long Bay is now becoming a reality. This hopefully is going to
alleviate traffic congestion.
Currently: There is a boom in development that is now slowing down but is going to
provide lots of service jobs. If the U.S. economy stays strong the island
should do well. Most of the visitors are Americans (97%) and visit by way of
cruise ship service.
Historically: St. Thomas has always been the capital of the Virgin Islands, even when the
capital was headquartered in St. Croix. A tourisms based service economy
with a low unemployment rate. St. Thomas was place of commerce and still.
is today. Used in the olden days as a trading depot and then a coaling
station, now is jewelry mecca of the world.
Government: St. Thomas and St. Croix has seven senators for each island, and St. John
has one senator (At-Large) making a total of fifteen. Under the new
constitution these dynamics may change. There is now a growing desire in
the community for changes to made in the legislature. Currently in the
Executive Branches of government a Governor and Lt. Governor is elected
every four years and fifteen senators in the Legislative Branches that are
elected every two years. There is also Delegate to Congress but without
voting rights in the House. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor
and are approved by the Legislature. They head: Agriculture, Police,
Housing Parks and Recreation, Education, Tourism, Planning and Natural
Resources, Public Works.
The District Court of the Virgin Islands and the Territorial Court exists,
these hold judicial power.