St. John Virgin Island History
St. John Virgin Island was originally settled by the Taino Indians, thousands of years before European exploration led to fights between the major powers over the possession of St. John Virgin Island and its Caribbean neighbors. Denmark was the first to stake claim on the yet unsettled St. John Virgin Island in 1675, though not without protest from the British, whose ownership of the nearby island of Tortola led them to consider St. John Virgin Island as theirs as well. After a series of squabbles, St. John Virgin Island was officially handed over to Denmark in 1762 to preserve a tenuous peace in the area. The Danish quickly established St. John Virgin Island as a bustling plantation colony, beginning a series of slave imports from Africa, whose descendants make up the majority of today's St. John Virgin Island residents. The economy of St. John Virgin Island suffered through several hard periods during the nineteenth century, as inhabitants struggled to create a living for themselves on small vegetable farms.
Things took a sharp turn for the better in 1956 when the majority of St. John Virgin Island, having been acquired by the United States during the First World War, was purchased by American millionaire Laurance Rockefeller. Rockefeller had established his own resort on St. John Virgin Island and wished to see a large portion of it turned into a protected national park. When his dream was accomplished, tourism swiftly became the dominant industry on St. John Virgin Island, creating jobs for its residents and improving the island's infrastructure. Today the people of St. John Virgin Island take the preservation of its undisturbed nature very seriously, as the park guarantees that the island will continue to thrive and welcome tourists to its beautiful beaches and forests each year.
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