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Information Edit

HistoryEdit

  • Pre-colonial history

The island was originally settled around 1500 BC by the Ciboney people. They were later replaced by the Arawaks and then the Caribs. Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1493 on his second voyage to the "New World".

  • Danish colonial period

The Dutch West India Company established a post on Saint Thomas in 1657. The first congregation was the St. Thomas Reformed Church, which was established in 1660 and was associated with the Dutch Reformed Church.

The Danish conquered the island in 1666, and by 1672 had established control over the entire island through the Danish West India and Guinea Company. The land was divided into plantations and sugarcane production became the primary economic activity. As a result, the economies of Saint Thomas and the neighboring islands of St. John and St. Croix became highly dependent on slave labor and the slave trade. In 1685, the Brandenburgisch-Africanische Compagnie took control of the slave trade on Saint Thomas, and for some time the largest slave auctions in the world were held there.

Saint Thomas's fine natural harbor became known as "Taphus" for the drinking establishments located nearby. In 1691, the primary settlement there was renamed Charlotte Amalie in honor of the wife of Denmark's King Christian V. It was later declared a free port by Frederick V. In December 1732, the first two of many Moravian Brethren missionaries came from Herrnhut Saxony in present-day Germany to minister to them. Distrusted at first by the white masters, they lived among the slaves and soon won their confidence.

Modern DayEdit

St. Thomas became the master settlement of the Danish West Indies, with it's temporary sub-colonies being St. Croix and St. John. Emperor Ocata I instated Edmond Stark as Viceroy of the colony and Acting Viceroy of the other Caribbean colonies in 1749. Viceroy Stark went to work on abolishing the slave trade and turning the economy towards ethical trades such as fur, weaponry and ironworking. Many things were imported to the island to strengthen it's habitat and livelihood, including foxes and rare plants. Among other projects were the founding of Leeds Garden Wildlife Refuge, where animals were set free to live far from hunting grounds and trappers.

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