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First Stop, St. Croix
The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix has been inhabited for more than 4,000 years. The first tourist of note was Christopher Columbus, who made this his first stop on his New World tour in 1493 and gave the island its name. Since then, it has been ruled by seven different nations, and its cultural heritage reflects that blend of nationalities and traditions.
On the north shore, Christiansted is the center of St. Croix’s government, commerce and history. Its natural harbor made it an important seaport in the 1700s. The centuries-old town showcases several important historical sites, churches and colonial West Indian-style buildings. The modern boardwalk stretches the length of the town, lined with shops and eateries on the water’s edge and a scenic boat-filled harbor.
To the west, the idyllic little town of Frederiksted is also of major historic interest. It was the first to salute the U.S. flag from foreign soil in 1776 and Danish Governor Peter Von Scholten announced the proclamation of the emancipation of slaves here in 1848, earning its nickname of Freedom City. Today, it is known for its cruise ship dock at the Frederiksted Pier and Clock Tower Plaza, and its great examples of West Indian architecture in the Market Place.
Other Points of Interest
• BUCK ISLAND REEF NATIONAL MONUMENT the first designated underwater National Park whose primary designation was to protect a coral reef system.
• CAPTAIN MORGAN VISITORS CENTER Home to the second largest selling rum brand in the world.
• DIVI CARINA BAY CASINO The only casino in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
• TROPICAL RAINFOREST The verdant 15-acre tropical rainforest north of Frederiksted.
• POINT UDALL marks the easternmost point in the United States with an impressive monument overlooking the seaside cliffs.
• VERY LONG BASELINE ARRAY telescope. Linked with nine others nationwide, it is a part of the world’s largest dedicated full-time astronomical instrument.
Top 10 Historic Sites
1. THE CHRISTIANSTED NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE includes Fort Christiansvaern (1749), Customs House (1841), the Steeple Building (1753), the Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse (1749) and Scale House (1856), now a convenient visitor’s information center.
2. GOVERNMENT HOUSE (1747) on lower King Street in Christiansted.
3. FORT FREDERIK (1752) in Frederiksted is a National Historic Landmark, the site of the official emancipation of slaves in 1848.
4. WHIM PLANTATION MUSEUM is an authentic Danish sugar estate dating from 1710s.
5. THE CRUZAN ESTATE DIAMOND RUM DISTILLERY has been producing the finest rum for more than 300 years. Tour the distillery as well as the ruins of the original sugar mill and plantation, built in 1760.
6. ST. GEORGE VILLAGE BOTANICAL GARDEN
7. THE LAWAETZ FAMILY MUSEUM offers a view of Danish West Indian life.
8. ESTATE LITTLE PRINCESS is a plantation built in 1749.
9. SALT RIVER BAY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND ECOLOGICAL PRESERVE
10. THE ROSEWAY AND WORLD OCEAN SCHOOL is a registered US National Historic Landmark schooner.
Velkommen! The Danish Connection
The connection between Denmark and the U.S. Virgin Islands spans more than 400 years, and remains strong even today. As you walk the streets of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas or Christiansted, St. Croix, that tie is evident everywhere you look. The Danes were the first settlers in the U.S. Virgin Islands back in the 1600s and you will often see Danish street names as well as their English equivalents on streets signs. Most of the towns and forts were named after Danish royalty and you will hear many Danish surnames within the ranks of prominent local families.
The strong V.I./Danish friendship is nurtured by two very active groups, the Friends of Denmark in the Virgin Islands and its counterpart, Vestindisk Selskalb, Denmark’s Friends of the West Indies Society. During the 50th anniversary of the 1917 transfer of the islands to the U.S., a weeklong celebration was planned, with more than 100 Danes attending. However, there weren’t enough hotel rooms to accommodate them, prompting local families to open their homes to their visiting guests. The two groups continue that tradition with alternate visits to each other’s countries as guests in each other’s homes. They also work together to promote concerts and cultural events, assist with historic research and sponsor a summer student exchange program to encourage further sharing of culture and friendship.
VISIT OUR FRIENDS
No passport is required for U.S. citizens traveling to the U.S.V.I., if another proof of citizenship, such as driver’s license or birth certificate with picture ID, is available. Non-U.S. visitors need a valid passport and appropriate visa. No immunizations are necessary.
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