The New International Encyclopædia/Virgin Islands

2025833The New International Encyclopædia — Virgin Islands

VIRGIN ISLANDS. A group of the Leeward Islands, consisting of upward of 100 islands, situated immediately east of Porto Rico (Map: Antilles, P 5). They are mostly unproductive and uninhabited. Scarcely one-third of the area is in cultivation and occupied—about 270 square miles being inhabited by nearly 40,000 persons. The climate is comparatively healthful. There are two wet and two dry seasons. Hurricanes and earthquakes are somewhat frequent. In the geological formation figure chalk-limestone, serpentine, and eruptive stone. The coasts afford good fishing; nut trees abound in the forests; and there is fine pasturage. Among the exports are sugar, indigo, cotton, and salt. Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, and Saint John belong to Denmark; Culebra, Culebrita, and Vieques to the United States (formerly to Spain); and the rest of the group, Tortola, Virgin, Gorda, and Anegada, to Great Britain. The Virgin Islands were discovered by Columbus in 1494. See West Indies, Danish; West Indies.