General information: In the XVII century. The archipelago was divided into English and Danish parts. Sugar cane, produced by the labor of slaves, formed the basis of the economy of the islands in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, according to Agooddir.com, the United States bought the Danish part of the islands, whose economy had been in decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.
Location: Caribbean Sea, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico.
Geographical coordinates: 18° 20′ N. latitude, 64° 50′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 352 km2; land surface area: 349 km2; water surface area: 3 sq. km.
Comparative area: twice the size of Washington DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 188 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: subtropical, moderated by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season from May to November.
Terrain: mostly hilly, with precipitous mountains and some coastal plains.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m; highest point: Mount Crown 474 m.
Natural resources: sun, sea, sand, surf.
Land use: arable land: 15%; cultivated land: 6%; pastures: 26%; forests and plantations: 6%; others: 47% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural Hazards: Several hurricanes in recent years; frequent severe droughts and floods; storms happen.
Actual problems of the environment: lack of natural sources of fresh water. Note to the <Geography> section: important location along the Anegada Strait, a key sea route to the Panama Canal; St. Thomas has one of the best natural deep water harbors in the Caribbean.
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 122,211 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 27.27% (male 17,121; female 16,204); 15 to 64 years old: 63.92% (male 35,391; female 42,727); over 65: 8.81% (male 4,638; female 6,130) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.06% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 15.9 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 5.47 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0.12 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male/female; under 15: 1.06 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 0.83 male/female; over 65: 0.76 male/female; for the general population: 0.88 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 9.43 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 78.27 years; men: 74.38 years; women: 82.39 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.25 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: no data available.
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: Virgin Islander; adjective: pertaining to the Virgin Islands.
Ethnic groups: black 80%, white 15%, other 5%; note: West Indians (45% born in the Virgin Islands and 29% born in the other West Indies) 74%, came from the US mainland 13%, Puerto Ricans 5%, other 8%.
Religious: Baptist 42%, Roman Catholic 34%, Episcopalian 17%, other 7%.