The Virgin Islands: Bargains in the Sun


Americans have Kaiser Wilhelm to thank for the Virgin Islands. Though U.S. Presidents had tried for 52 years to acquire the strategic Caribbean vantage points, it was not until Denmark—which controlled them for over two centuries—was threatened by the Germans in World War I that the Danes agreed to transfer the islands to U.S. custody. On March 31, 1917, the U.S. took title to its new possession for the fire-sale price of $25 million, paid in nearly 48 tons of gold bullion.

That windfall of war was celebrated last week in the tranquil islands with the tintinnabulation of steel...

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