The United States Virgin Islands (abbrevated: USVI; or the American Virgin Islands), officially the Virgin Islands of the United States, are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. It is located beside the British Overseas Territory, the British Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, and many other surrounding minor islands.
Originally a Danish possession in the Antilles, known as the Danish West Indies the islands were purchased by the United States in 1917. After the United States bought what is now known as the United States Virgin Islands from the Danish, the islands became an unincorporated U.S. territory. Most residents were granted U.S. citizenship in 1936, and an act of 1932 provided that all natives of the Virgin Islands who on the date of the act were residing in the continental United States or any of its insular possessions or territories were U.S. citizens.
The islands remained under the direct control of the U.S. government until 1968, when residents were first allowed to elect their own Governor (previously, governors had been appointed first by the navy, then by the interior department). In 1972, residents elected their first non-voting delegate to congress.
World War III
Cuba attempted to attack the Virgin Islands alongside Puerto Rico. However, its distance from Cuba proved to be too far for the Cuban Air Force to launch raids on the islands. In addition to that, the lack of strategic value of the islands were determined to be a drain of resources for the Cubans. The attack was ditched after the failure to cripple elements of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet stationed at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.
Both the Puerto Rico National Guard and the Virgin Islands National Guard were federalized by President George H.W. Bush when Cuba entered the war. The two national guards banded together which made it an effective force in defending the inhabited U.S. territories in the Caribbean Sea. These elements were present during the liberation of the Caribbean islands and the invasion of Cuba.
The Virgin Islands were not directly attacked by Cuban forces. However, it did house a few refugees coming from the Caribbean island nations that were invaded by Cuba. The Virgin Islands National Guard provided assistance in reconstruction in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
In 2012, prior to the Puerto Rican statehood referendum, a referendum was held of union with Puerto Rico. The results was 60% No, 40% Yes.
EconomyJust like its Caribbean neighbors, the Virgin Islands derive its economy from tourism, mainly from cruise ships traversing the Atlantic. In terms of output, fishing and fruits are one of the main exports of the islands.