The current flag of the U.S. Virgin Islands was officially adopted in 1921.
As an unincorporated territory of the United States, the island's flag features parts of the U.S. seal. One eagle claw holds three arrows, representative of the three major islands, while the other claw holds an olive branch.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, which was founded in 1666, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It contains a deep-water harbor that was once a haven for pirates and is now one of the busiest ports of call for cruise ships in the Caribbean, with about 1.5 million cruise ship passengers landing there in 2004. Protected by Hassel Island, the harbor has docking and fueling facilities. In 2010 the city had a population of 18,481, which makes it the largest city in the Virgin Islands Archipelago. Hundreds of ferries and yachts pass through town each week, and at times the population more than doubles.
The city is known for its Danish colonial architecture, building structure and history, and a dozen streets and places throughout the city have Danish names. Charlotte Amalie has buildings of historical importance including St. Thomas Synagogue, the second-oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, and the oldest Lutheran church in the Western Hemisphere, the Frederick Lutheran Church. Watch Carnival slide show
St. Croix For some time St. Croix was one of the wealthiest islands in the West Indies. The prosperity was due greatly to sugar cultivation, rum production and slave labor. St. Croix's economy existed through trade. The island exported five commodities; sugar, rum, cotton, molasses and hard woods and imported almost everything it needed.
The price of sugar in the world market was stable for the first decades of the 19th century and St. Croix's plantation owners were doing well.
In 1917 St. Croix along with the islands of St. John and St. Thomas were purchased by the United States of America from the Danish government for military reasons. In the late 1930's St. Croix's agriculturally based economy was not improving. Economic insecurity continued until the fifties, when tourism became a leading industry in the U.S.V.I.
Today St. Croix is U.S. territory with the main industries being tourism, agriculture and oil refinery. One of the most renowned attractions in the U.S.V.I., the Buck Island National Park is located a short distance from the St. Croix shore. Recently the first casino in the U.S.V.I. was built on St. Croix.
In 1917 the United States bought St. John from Denmark. By the 1930's, news of the beautiful American island had spread to the United States mainland and the beginning of what was to become a tourism boom on St. John was established.
Laurence Rockefeller in 1956 donated land to the Federal Government to establish a National Park. The 5000 acres became the nation's twenty-ninth National Park. The land was presented to Fred Seaton, who was the Secretary of the Interior, he promised the government would 'take good and proper care of these precious acres and verdant hills and valleys and miles of sunny, sandy shores'. Since then other donations have been made and presently the Virgin Islands National Park includes 7200 acres of land and 5600 acres of underwater lands.
Today St. John thrives as a favored tourist destination. A construction boom in the past couple of years is changing St. John from a quiet, sleepy island to one with a little more traffic and development.