- Size: 31 square miles, 13 miles long and 4 miles wide
- Highest Point: 1,556 feet – Crown Mountain
The history of St. Thomas is as fascinating as the island is beautiful. Originally, the island was settled around 1500 BC by a group known as the Ciboney people. Later, the Arawaks replaced the original occupants of the island, then the Caribs became the people of the island. Christopher Columbus spotted the island on his second voyage to the new world in 1493. Today the island has a population of over 51,000 which is nearly half of all the occupants of the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas is approximately 32 square miles.
In 1657, the Dutch West India Company established their post on the island. The first official church congregation of St. Thomas was the Reformed Church of St Thomas which early settlers established in 1660 as a wing of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1666, after conquering the island, The Danish gained full governing control of the entire island and the land was used for sugarcane production and plantations. Then, in 1801 the first British invasion led to the occupation of the Island that was made official by the Articles of Capitulation which the Danes accepted. The occupation officially ended in April of 1802 when the Brits gave the island back to Denmark. Not long after the second British invasion occurred in December 1807 and lasted until November 1815 when the British once again gave Denmark control of the island.
Years later and thanks to the efforts of local islander David Hamilton Jackson, The Danes were persuaded to let the U.S. purchase the Virgin Islands. After having established the island’s first newspaper, Jackson worked to establish labor unions and improved working conditions. In 1917 the island’s purchase by the U.S. became official for $25 million worth of gold, the sale also included the purchase of Saint Croix and Saint John.