St. John History USVI

ANNABERG HISTORIC TRAIL -- SAINT JOHN ISLAND GUIDESaint John’s centuries old historical sites have been preserved on island with the help of the VI National Park.  They have withstood many hurricanes and lots of visitors.  If you are on the island, please take advantage of the opportunities to experience the historical ruins that once stood such as plantation sugar mills, great houses, and rum factories.  There are plenty of landmarks with information along the way.

We are also sharing the many authors and websites whose passion it is to indulge you in their perspective, love and fascination of the people and island through political, economic, social and cultural history.   If you would like to learn more before visiting or have self interest, please visit the websites or purchase the books listed below.  If you know of more books or resources you would like to see listed, please contact us at saintjohnislandguide@gmail.com.

St. John Historical Society

ST. JOHN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Very exciting news as of the Spring 2023, the St. John Historical Society will be opening a Museum in Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay.  This will be a work in progress and we will update you with more information regarding contacts, location, and opening date.   The St. John Historical Society is your starting place for exploring the people, places and events that shaped the history of St. John.

St. John History Timeline -- Virgin Islands National Park

ST. JOHN HISTORY TIMELINE — VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK

Explore this historical timeline beginning with the origins of the Arawak, Tainos, and Carib people and ending with Laurance Rockeller donated the land in 1954 to establish the Virgin Islands National Park.

ST. THOMAS HISTORICAL MUSEUM

ST. THOMAS HISTORICAL TRUST MUSEUM

Since St. John does not have an historical museum, this is worth the trip over to St. Thomas.  You’ll find so much of the history of these two islands are intertwined and if you are eager to learn more in general about the history of the U.S. Virgin Islands, this is the place to go.
Museum Hours are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  Mr. V J Palancia will set you straight on what is myth and what is history, as well as will be happy to share lots of notorious stories.
ST. THOMAS HISTORICAL TRUST MUSEUM5332 Raadets Gade, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas (no phone)
APPOINTMENT AND GENERAL INQUIRIES:  execdirector@stthomashistoricaltrust.org
Britannica Encyclopedia

BRITANNICA ENCYCLOPEDIA

What better resource than a quick synopsis provided by Britannica Encyclopedia to get a nice overview of the history of Saint John and the Virgin Islands.  Read about the land, people, economy, government and society, and history.

St. John Off the Beaten Track

ST. JOHN OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

This book is probably the most recommended book on St. John and will greatly enhance your island experience.

A History of the Virgin Islands of the United States

A HISTORY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES

Dr. Isaac Dookhan provides a comprehensive history of the U.S. Virgin Islands including the successive waves of immigrants, how they affected the physical environment and cultural life of the islands, the impact of international wars and politics, commodity price movements, and technological changes.

Night of the Silent Drums -- Saint John Island Guide

NIGHT OF THE SILENT DRUMS

Author John L. Anderson presents a semi-fictional account of the slave uprising in 1733-34 on the Danish West Indies island of St. Jan, reconstructing the island’s ways of life, the actions of planters and Africans, and the uprising’s outcome.

Night of the Silent Drums:  “Weeks passed and tensions mounted on St. Jan; and as more and more slaves escaped, one could hear more and more often the sounds of their drums, sending messages throughout the island in tongues meant only for African ears.  And then one night the drums fell silent. The time had come.  Rebellion was at hand.  This is the story of daily life in 1733 on a tiny Caribbean Island only 24 square miles in area.”

Cruz Bay from Conquest to Exploitation

A HISTORY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES

Dr. Isaac Dookhan provides a comprehensive history of the U.S. Virgin Islands including the successive waves of immigrants, how they affected the physical environment and cultural life of the islands, the impact of international wars and politics, commodity price movements, and technological changes.

Virgin Islands National Park The Story Behind the Scenery

VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK THE STORY BEHIND THE SCENERY

This book was written by Alan Robinson in 1974 and shares about a world where one can feel an overwhelming sense of the timelessness of nature and man’s place within it.

Vintage St. John

VINTAGE ST. JOHN, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Discover St. John’s History Through Seven Generations of Heartfelt Stories by Valerie Sims.  Get ready to be transported back to a nostalgic time in St. John’s history when survival meant clearing the land for cattle pastures, cultivating the soil and fishing… all to feed one’s family.

Me and My Beloved Virgin by Guy H. Benjamin

ME AND MY BELOVED VIRGIN BY GUY H. BENJAMIN

A whole village runs down to the shore to help pull in a great catch of fish.  A family huddles together in a house boarded up against the hurricane raging outside.  A young boy travels to St. Thomas to catch a glimpse of Charles Lindbergh.  Through these and other episodes, the reader begins to get an idea of how it must have been to grow up on a small isolated island before modern transportation and the resultant influx of modern culture changed that idyllic lifestyle.

In this collection of anecdote and reminiscence, Guy H. Benjamin recreates his island childhood on St. John and the lush natural environment that supported it.  Nature is full of wondrous things; waters teem with fish; trees grow heavy with fruit, and everyone shares in the abundance. It is a life of close family and church ties, where the Sunday school picnic is a major social function involving everyone.

From these beginnings, the author moves into an expanding world and begins to see the changes that are inevitably taking place on the islands.  He notes them with a mixture of sadness and hopefulness, for greater opportunity also brings greater potential for the people to grow and learn, and take care of their beautiful homeland.

Told with great affection and humor, these stories interweave personal experience with the customs and folklore of the Virgin Islands, thus providing an intimate view of a way of life which has disappeared forever.

SOURCE:  GOOD READS

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