Virgin Islands (United States)

Virgin Islands (United States)

Basic Data

Official Country Name: Virgin Islands of the United States
Region (Map name): Caribbean
Population: 120,917
Language(s): English, Spanish, Creole
Literacy rate: N/A

The U.S. Virgin Islands is made up of three islands—St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John—located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean east of Puerto Rico. The islands lie along the Anegada Passage, a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal. The islands were once ruled by the Dutch then sold to the United States in 1917. The population is approximately 121,000. English is the official language, but Spanish and Creole are also spoken. The chief of state is the President of the United States. A governor acts as the head of government, presiding over a unicameral, 15-seat Senate. The Virgin Islands also has a non-voting representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. The most important economic sector is tourism, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the gross domestic product. Manufacturing, including petroleum refining, is also important, and the country boasts one of the world's largest petroleum refineries.

The media enjoys freedom of speech and press under the U.S. Constitution. The Virgin Islands Daily News maintains offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix. The St. Croix Avis publishes daily on St. Croix and can also be found on St. Thomas. On St. John, the Tradewinds news-paper appears bi-weekly, with select stories appearing online, and the St. John Times publishes monthly in print and online. The Virgin Islands Business Journal appears on Wednesday in print and online. The Thomas Source, St. Croix Source, St. John Source and the humorous Island Melee are free, alternative online news sources operated by the online publisher One Paper.

There are 16 radio stations, five AM and 11 FM, serving 107,000 radios. There are two television stations broadcasting to 68,000 televisions. There are 50 Internet service providers.


"Facts About the U.S. Virgin Islands," University of the Virgin Islands Library (n.d.). Available from .

St. Thomas Source (n.d.). Available from .

St. John Times (2001). Available from .

St. John Tradewinds (2000). Available from .

"Virgin Islands," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from .

Virgin Islands Business Journal (n.d.). Home Page. Available from .

Jenny B. Davis

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