Info & Resources

US Virgin Islands

Written by Staff Writer

Country Overview:
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.

Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates:
18 20 N, 64 50 W

Area – Comparative:
Total: 1,910 sq km, land: 346 sq km, water: 1,564 sq km

Land boundaries:
0 km

188 km

Subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season September to November

Mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little level land

Elevation extremes:
Caribbean Sea 0 m

Highest Point:
Crown Mountain 475 m

Natural Resources:
Sun, sand, sea, surf

109,840 (July 2008 est.)

Virgin Islander(s) (US citizens)

Virgin Islander

Ethnic groups:
Black 76.2%, white 13.1%, Asian 1.1%, other 6.1%, mixed 3.5% (2000 census)

Baptist 42%, Roman Catholic 34%, Episcopalian 17%, other 7%

English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9% (2000 census)

Country Name:
US Virgin Islands

Government Type:
NA 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 Name:
Charlotte Amalie

None (territory of the US)

National Holiday:
Transfer Day (from Denmark to the US), 31 March (1917)

Revised Organic Act of 22 July 1954

Legal System:
Based on US laws

Executive Branch:
Chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)

Head of Government:
Governor John DeJONGH (since 1 January 2007)


under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as the Virgin Islands, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in the Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 7 and 21 November 2006 (next to be held November 2010) election results: John DeJONGH elected governor; percent of vote – John DeJONGH 57.3%, Kenneth MAPP 42.7%

About the author

Staff Writer