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A drawing of a female Carib Indian
A female Carib Indian, native of the Virgin Islands

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U.S. Took Ownership of the Virgin Islands
March 31, 1917

If you owned a tropical island, what would you call it? The U.S. chose the name "Virgin Islands" when it took formal possession of the Danish West Indies on March 31, 1917. The U.S. bought the islands from Denmark for $25 million. The island chain consists of St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, and about 50 other small islands, most of which are uninhabited. The islands are in the Lesser Antilles, between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

When Christopher Columbus landed on St. Croix in 1493, the native Carib Indians occupied the islands. Sadly, by the time Europeans began to settle there in the 1600s, most of the native population had died from diseases introduced by early explorers.

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