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Undersea volcanoes and shifting plate tectonics formed the Caribbean Islands and remained uninhabited as the islands developed.

The Arawak or Taino Indians were the first inhabitants who lived peacefully on St. John for centuries before a more aggressive tribe, the Caribs, overran them. You can visit the Petroglyphs, which are stone carvings over a reflecting pool that never runs dry. It was a very spiritual place for the natives. Thousands of years pass before white men from faraway lands arrive. Over the two centuries, European weapons and disease wiped out indigenous tribes.

Christopher Columbus discovered the Virgin Islands on his second voyage in 1493. The first island he saw was St. Croix, which he named Santa Cruz. After sailing further North, he found many more islands which he named Las Islas Virgenes - The Virgin Islands.

After his visit nothing much happened other than an occasional passing pirate or explorer. In the 1600's European powers continued to claim the Caribbean islands.

In 1671, Denmark clearly ruled St. Thomas, establishing the first permanent settlement there. In 1685, the Danes signed a treaty which allowed the Brandenburg American Company to start a slave-trading post on the island. At about the same time, St. Thomas became a pirate refuge. But piracy ceased to be a factor in the island's economy in the early 19th century and the slave trade continued until 1848.

From 1700 to 1750 trade was on the rise and prosperous merchants replaced the pirates on Dronnigens Gade (Main Street) in Charlotte Amalie.

By 1718 the Denmark's settlements expanded to St. John. A fort was constructed in Coral Bay, one of the safest harbors in the Caribbean. Remains of the fort are still there. In 1733, Denmark purchased St. Croix from France, uniting the three Virgin Islands, Water Island was recently added, making four US Virgin Islands. St. Thomas was known as a paradise for pirates and buccaneers, who looked for approaching ships through spyglasses. The most famous was Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard.

The 1733 Slave Insurrection was the first time enslaved people took control of a colony. The fighting between European planters and the slaves went on for 6 months, when the Danes received help from their recently alliance with France. Defeat was imminent and many rebels committed suicide rather than return to slavery.

The Danes declared St. Thomas a free port in 1724. Throughout the 18th century the islands prospered with sugar plantations and St. Thomas became a major trading center until 1848 when Denmark abolished slavery.

The United States bought the islands in 1917, as part of its military defense, for $25 million. The US wanted to prevent the islands from becoming a German sub base. In 1927 were residents granted U.S. citizenship. After World War II, St. Thomas became the tourist attraction it is today.

In 1956, The Virgin Islands National Park was established on St. John. The transfer of 5,086 acres to the US Department of Interior led by distinguished figures as St. John native and 1st VI Senator Julius Sprauve and Laurance S. Rockefeller.

The first Virgin Islanders elected Melvin Evans as their first governor after years of being appointed from above. To this day, we elect one non-voting delegate to Congress and cannot vote for President.

In 2001, President Clinton established The Coral Reef National Monument protecting 12,000 acres of submerged land on which coral reefs have long been home to a diverse array of marine life.

One of the latest signs of the islands' growth was the addition of Water Island to the US Virgin Islands in 1996. It is located just south of St Thomas.

In 2012, Trunk Bay was given the environmental Blue Flag destination.