Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Historical snapshot of St. Thomas
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 Material Information
Title: Historical snapshot of St. Thomas
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: January 24, 2002
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00265
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Z The Daily News, Thursday. January 24, 2002

Historical snapshot of St. Thomas

Olasew Darit, an ecoogit lives on
t Ci. He is a Dily News -nasinut-
iii gcoSmust.

I visited SL Thomaes, myhome island,
last weekctl and it was bustling with
cruise ship business foem I lavcnsighl to
downtown historic Charlotte Amaui
Accordiinhg to Johan Lnc Cantens,
a Dunish planer ofthe early 1700s, SL
Thomas got its name from an Einglish
captain by the name of Thnomma." St.
Thomas wasanoutpot forpiratesbeforec
the Danes took poseosin ofthe island
in 1672.
St. Thomas is known today for his-
toric sites such as Blackbeardn's Castle,
Bluebeard's Castic. and Drake's Seat.
Pirates once rie the island.
Deamacwsas leomnerofEuropean
nations for colonial power in the West
Indics. Her first attempt to establish a
colony on St. Thomas was m 1666,
whie fe&d Six years lar. die Danish
West india Co. established a poemansEm
colony on St.Thooas The early sellers
of SL Thomas wrer plarnte' who wer
busy cleaingland for ne, iton.tobnc-
co and indigo which were in much
demand in Europe. The mountainous
topoaphy md relatively poor soilof S
Thomas made agriculture unprofitble
for thLe olonists
Aller 1725 the sctales on the island
tumed to trde as their main means of
livelihood They soon found out that the
changewas good due to the island's na-
ural protected hmabor
Jai 1717. the Danish West India and
Guinea Co colonizd St. Joh. he island
was too small and mountainous to sup-
port largescale plantation agriculture.
Futnhetnre. the islaml ne tnumbered
more than several thousands people. In
the middle 180s. the Danes attempted
to build a town on lhe wesem pn of SL
tim knwn as"Coisoanst c."Howeeo ,
dis aimanpt to constsuct a town on the

und some badOs came to de island and
Gov. Christopher Hein granted lots to
uild on dhe plin northeast ofthe fort.
Olasee Furih epansion of the mtw took
placciD 1692 whenJohan oezgant-
Davis ed lo aongthe walrf o to the south.
Hee. platemsbuk tow houses In 1698.
the town consisted of 47 houses with
.n_ tme of the most prominent planes on
the iisland.Thsepptanessalsobuitwae-
imldnewafllynmaialied"Thietf houses and cared into the adieagbma-
the Danish West India Co. selected the ss Slill then the town only omiased
sf .tfiont si a Iong he antl o of one sotaet, Kon ensgade that began
ofSt Th as to establish a own. 0 to 0 fea west ofthe fost
The reet ended a Brandenburg Co.
trading post on tIhe weiten outskin of
the town. After the 1700s, more and
Between 1764 to 1765, moe planes look uull orpart-time
the town 'Savanne' was residence in the town and engaged in
established located In adingandcommere.The Warofthe
a isSpanish Succession from 1701 to 1713
the valley west of also brughi English DunciFiench and
Denmark Hill. This area Psugese iades to ide island as set-
was set aside for the tellers. It was the European wars of the
-growing free colored t sha played a major role in dthe
growth atid de nea ofSmoft. Tam
population of the town. By 1716.hetowncoaiineda82hous-
es and anumnierofnewwarohouiceson
Cogseuteionof ForChri sianscm d the watenrfia to the west o the fort.
in 1672 mand was copleted in 160in alm 176l 1765.erlown"Svanne"
honor of Danish King Chrisean V In was established, located in the valley
1681. Charlote Amalia. Ihe capital of west of Denmark Hill. This area was
the Danish West Indies. was founded set-aside for hce growing free colored
Nicolas Esm. who wasgovenor ofdh population of the town.
Danish West Indies, gave permnission to The other town was called "hast
four caitsmen who rcctny Savne." which was laid ou to the east
edlotheislandtobul dtheirhaomeswens of the fnot and Govement Hill in the
of the fo. area prescitly known as King Quarter.
These men also were granted licenses The mangrove lagoon cosl of the fort
as innkeepers to provide lodgings for was drained and filled from 1781 to
traders to St. Thomas as well as for 1782 for house lIe. By 1789, Charloe
planters when they came to shore in Amalia had 2.055 inhabitants, which
townon business. In 1688 whenthe fist meant thai 39 percent ofthe island's tul
census ,was taken the town had a popu- population of 5,266 persons lived in the
lunon ofonly 37 persons. This only con- town.
sisted of one row homes located below Today, SL Thomas is not only known
the hills to the west of the fon. In that for is natural haboter, buulso for its his-
same yer.newocmigraton of cndlt en tonctowrn.

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