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  • 1493 Columbus sails by the Virgin Islands, lands on St. Croix, and is attacked by Carib Indians.
  • 1625 Dutch and English establish frontier outposts on St. Croix.
  • 1650 Spanish forces from Puerto Rico overrun English garrison on St. Croix.
  • 1653 St. Croix taken over by the Knights of Malta.
  • 1671 Danes begin settlement of St. Thomas.
  • 1672 England adds British Virgin Islands to its empire.
  • 1674 King Louis XIV of France makes St. Croix part of his empire.
  • 1717 Danish planters from St. Thomas cultivate plantations on St. John.
  • 1724 St. Thomas is declared a free port.
  • 1733 Danish West India Company purchases St. Croix from France; slaves revolt on St. John.
  • 1792 Denmark announces plans to abandon the slave trade.
  • 1807-15 England occupies Danish Virgin Islands.
  • 1820s Sugar plantations on the Virgin Islands begin to see a loss in profits.
  • 1834 England frees 5,133 slaves living in British Virgin Islands.
  • 1848 Under pressure, the governor of St. Croix grants slaves emancipation.
  • 1867 First attempt by the United States to purchase the Virgin Islands from the Danish.
  • 1872 British Virgin Islands put under administration of the Federation of the Leeward Islands.
  • 1916 Denmark signs treaty with the U.S. and sells islands for $25 million.
  • 1917 Virgin Islands fall under the control of the U.S. Navy for 14 years.
  • 1927 United States grants citizenship to island residents.
  • 1936 Under Franklin Roosevelt, the first Organic Act is passed, granting voting rights to U.S. Virgin Islanders.
  • 1940 Population of U.S. Virgin Islands increases for the first time since 1860 because of its use as a port during World War II.
  • 1946 First black governor of the U.S.V.I., William Hastie, is appointed.
  • 1954 Revised Organic Act passed; the U.S.V.I. fall under jurisdiction of Department of the Interior.
  • 1956 British Virgins released from the Federation of the Leeward Islands.
  • 1966 Queen Elizabeth II visits the British Virgin Islands.
  • 1967 B.V.I. get a new constitution.
  • 1980s U.S.V.I. see major development and construction, putting natural resources at risk.
  • 1989 Hurricane Hugo rips through the islands, hitting St. Croix especially hard.
  • 1995 Hurricane Marilyn causes millions of dollars of damage and leaves thousands homeless.
  • 1996 Water Island, off the coast of St. Thomas, is officially declared the fourth U.S. Virgin Island; U.S. Senate grants permission for two casino hotels to be built on St. Croix.
  • 2000 St. Croix becomes the first "casino island" in the Virgin Islands.
  • 2005 Plans stall for grand development of St. Thomas.
  • 2008 B.V.I. become one of the world's leading offshore financial centers.
  • 2009 Islands experience drop-off in tourism as U.S. economy goes into recession.
  • 2010 U.S.V.I. officials tackle environmental problems.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.