Saint Croix is the biggest of the US Virgin Islands although the capital city, Charlotte Amelie, is located on St Thomas. Saint Croix itself has two towns Frederiksted (pop. 830) and Christiansted (pop. 3,000). The name of the island comes from the earlier Spanish name given by Christopher Columbus in 1493 – Santa Cruz or ‘Holy Cross’. As Santa Cruz, Saint Croix gets a lot of mention in swashbuckling stories of pirates and buccaneers sailing on the Spanish Main.
The populace before the Europeans got there was Arawak and Carib and they had probably been there since about 5000 BC. After 1493 the population of the Caribbean got involved in a 100 years war with the Spanish and the type of people living on the island altered forever.
Saint Croix has been owned and therefore predominantly occupied by the Spanish, The British, the French, the Dutch, the Maltese and the Danish all of whom had slaves and plantations
The slaves were freed in 1848, but many chose to remain on Saint Croix. Descendants of slaves still live on the island. The total population of the island is now roughly 60,000.
English is the official language and is the most commonly spoken, although there is also some Spanish, French Creole and Virgin islands Creole, also known as Crucian, which is spoken by most people in informal situations.
This Hispanic segment of the Crucian populace is mostly of Puerto Rican lineage. The US bought Vieques from Puerto Rico during the Second World War and evicted its inhabitants. Many moved to St Croix because of its similarity to Vieques. These people have integrated well, but also kept a few of their old customs. They usually speak a mixture of Spanish and Crucian English in a distinctive form of Spanglish.
Continental Americans make up about 13% of the population and mostly live on the eastern side of St Croix. Arab Palestinians are also a significant minority owning most of the petrol stations and supermarkets on St Croix. Other recent immigrants have moved from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the Philippines.
There has been some tension between immigrants and those calling themselves ‘real Crucians’, but it has largely evaporated because of to intermarriage. There have been attempts to define a ‘real Crucian’.
The matter seems to have been sorted out when in 2009, the recommended U.S. Virgin Islands Constitution voted by the Fifth Constitutional Convention proposed three definitions of U.S. Virgin Islanders: “Ancestral Native Virgin Islander”, who have ancestral ties (and their descendants); “Native Virgin Islander”, who were born on the island (and their descendants); and “Virgin Islander”, who are any United States citizen who has lived in the territory for five years.
Christianity, in the guise of Protestantism is the main religion, although the Hispanic community is Roman Catholic. There are also small groups of Jews and followers of Rastafari, Islam.
Owen Jones, the author of this piece, writes on many topics, but is currently involved with St Croix Virgin Islands. If you are interested in St Croix Vacation Rentals in the US Virgin Islands, please click through to our site.