The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Virgin Islands
VIRGIN ISLANDS a group of the West Indies, E. of Porto Rico, between lat. 17° 80' and 18° 50' N., and lon. 64° 10' and 65° 80' W.; total area, about 250 sq. m.; pop. about 45,000. They are about 100 in number, 50 of which, including Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke's, Guano isle, Beef island, Thatch island, Prickly Pear, Camanas, Cooper's, St. Peter's, and Salt, belong to Great Britain; St. Thomas, Santa Cruz, St. John, and several smaller ones to Denmark; Culebra and a number of islets to Spain; and Viéques, or Crab island, to all three powers. Not more than one fourth of the group are inhabited. Sugar, molasses, rum, indigo, salt, cotton, tobacco, turmeric, pimento, and ginger are exported. The climate is variable, and there are occasional earthquakes. The British islands (area, 57 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 6,651) were included in 1872 in the confederation of the Leeward Islands, to the governor of which the executive officer, called president, is directly responsible. The revenue in 1872 was £1,685, the expenditure £1,631. The group was discovered by Columbus in 1494.