St. John, V.I. has been an American territory since 1917 after being bought from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million of gold. Denmark previously controlled St. John for approximately 245 years with Great Britain over throwing this island between 1801 - 1810 where their influence is still seen today since the islands residents drive on the left. Before all the chaos, peaceful tribes lived on the islands from before 1500 B.C. until a steady stream of Europeans began to arrive.

“St. John is now entirely settled, so that there is no more land left to give away except at the Fort and the company’s plantation, which is still lying idle, as it is not surveyed. Next year the greater number of St. John inhabitants will begin paying the poll and land tax. There are already about 20 works built and others in the process of building…”, so wrote governor Moth to the to the company directors on March 16th, 1726. That is before Laurance S. Rockefeller donated over 5,000 acres of land to the V.I. National Park Service.

St. John (19.5square miles – 18 degrees n/ 64 degrees w) was named Sankt Jan (Saint John) by the Danes of Denmark. Named after a saint it is no surprise that the island is a beautiful haven for anyone wanting to get away from the modernized world in need of nature and all that is left of this world that is not destroyed by man. St. John could be called land of trails; there are over thirty four different trails on the island many of them leading to hidden away pristine beaches.


Non colonial era

+3500 B.C. - early 1500’s: Tribal societies  (Ortoiroid (archaic) People, Ciboney, Taino,

Arawak, Carib). The close proximity to Central America and the Yucatan and the vast traveling that tribes did for thousands of  years put St. John in an inevitable position on the routes headed to the South of the  Caribbean chain.

1500’s – 1600’s: Diverse and curious Europeans; Spanish and English looking for tribal peoples for slaves

1600 – 1694: Now phasing out of the usual “Indians” that were inhabiting the island of St. John due to genocidal extinction, Pirates; Dutch, Danish, and British colonizers, visiting and leaving at different times.The Danes were visiting St. John (1665- 1694) because of its close proximity to St. Thomas and their desire to colonize and settle it. The Danes found water there and enough resources to find it attractive and encouraging to have a serious go at it. At that time St. Thomas was doing well for them except for their high mortality rate in St. Thomas in the beginning. The Danes were not welcomed to settle St. John, they were constantly driven off by the English in Tortola.

1665: The Danes planted their flag in St. Thomas with the help of a blond skipper by the name of Erik Nielsen Smidt.