Americans love St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands because they can have the best of both worlds there. They can experience a "foreign" culture, while still being linked to the States. First, St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands have all the elements you would expect from a tropical paradise that you can't necessarily find back home--spectacular beaches, turquoise ocean, colorful flowers, interesting architecture and history, and exotic wildlife. On the other hand, being part of the United States makes the U.S. Virgin Islands easy to visit. The language is English, the money is the dollar, and there are familiar fast food restaurants and other comforts of "home". In addition, traveling to and from the U.S. is uncomplicated and investments are protected by the American flag.
The Virgin Islands were named by an explorer familiar to all of us in the Americas--Christopher Columbus. After seeing the large number of islands in 1493, he named the group Las Once Mil Virgenes in honor of St. Ursula's 11,000 martyred maidens of Christian belief. Although the islands have seen many flags, the chain is currently split between the United States and Great Britain. The U.S. purchased its share of the Virgin Islands paradise from Denmark in 1916 for $25 million. This was considered a huge sum to pay for island real estate at the time. However, the U.S. government was on the eve of World War and was concerned that Germany might take over the islands from the Danes and use them as a base to prey on shipping going through the Panama Canal.
Each Virgin Island has its own personality, whether it be American or British. Although the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are beautiful and popular with vacationers and sailors, it is the three U.S. Virgins that get the largest numbers of cruise passengers each year. The BVI are simpler and less visited, as are St. Croix and St. John. Let's take a look at the most popular Virgin among the cruise lines--St. Thomas.
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