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U.S. Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands of the United States is a group of islands in the Caribbean that is a dependency of the United States. These islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands.

During the 18th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave labour, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. During the submarine warfare phases of the First World War, the USA feared that these islands might be seized by Germany as a submarine base and accordingly approached Denmark to sell the islands to the USA. On January 17, 1917, the United States bought the Danish West Indies for $25 million and took possession of the islands on March 31. The Danish Crown may have felt pressure to accept the sale, thinking that the USA would seize the islands if Denmark was invaded by Germany. US citizenship was later granted to the inhabitants of the islands in 1927. This part of the Islands had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.

Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for more than 70% of GDP and 70% of employment. The islands normally host 2 million visitors a year. The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, textile, electronics, pharmaceutical, and watch assembly plants. The agricultural sector is small, with most food being imported. International business and financial services are a small but growing component of the economy. One of the world's largest petroleum refineries is at Saint Croix. The islands are subject to substantial damage from storms.

See: List of U.S. Virgin Islands Governors

From the CIA World Factbook 2000. Not Wikified.


See: Virgin Islands and Danish colonization of the Americas, Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport.



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