St. Thomas, V.I. has been an American territory since 1917 after beging bought from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million of gold. Denmark previously controlled St. Thomas for approximately 245 years with Great Britain taking over the island between 1801 - 1816 during the Napoleonic wars. The British influence still exists today where driving on the left is the norm in this otherwise American island. Before all the chaos, peaceful tribes lived on the islands from before 1500 B.C. until Europeans started colonizing the islands.