Virgin Islands Travel Information

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St John
St Thomas
Virgin Islands National Park Part of the National Park Service's website.

Facts About the Virgin Islands

Background: During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish portion, which had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.
Dependency status: organized, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between the Virgin Islands and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Capital: Charlotte Amalie
Currency: 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Geography of the Virgin Islands

Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 18 20 N, 64 50 W
Area:
total: 352 sq km
land: 349 sq km
water: 3 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 188 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season May to November
Terrain: mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little level land
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 474 m
Natural resources: sun, sand, sea, surf
Land use:
arable land: 15%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 26%
forests and woodland: 6%
other: 47% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes
Environment - current issues: lack of natural freshwater resources
Geography - note: important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural, deepwater harbors in the Caribbean.

People of the Virgin Islands

Population: 108,708 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  27.27% 
15-64 years:  63.92%
65 years and over:  8.81%
Population growth rate: 1.06% 
Birth rate: 15.9 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.47 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 9.43 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  78.27 years
male:  74.38 years
female:  82.39 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.25 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups: black 80%, white 15%, other 5%
note: West Indian (45% born in the Virgin Islands and 29% born elsewhere in the West Indies) 74%, US mainland 13%, Puerto Rican 5%, other 8%
Religions: Baptist 42%, Roman Catholic 34%, Episcopalian 17%, other 7%
Languages: English (official), Spanish, Creole

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Virgin Islands > Map Economy