Passenger: But this is VERY interesting! Lecturer: Good I’m glad you think so! There were two other physicians who were credited with saving the lives of sailors by giving them oranges or lemon. It took 41 years before they were able to convince the British Navy to give the Sailors oranges to prevent scurvy. Finally, the British used lime juice instead, which is why the sailors became known as “limeys.”
Passengers: (Laughing.) Oh, that’s why... I often wondered about the name. 41 years? Lecturer: Now, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s get back to discussing St. Thomas. It is believed that Arawak, also known as Taino and Ciboney tribes settled in the Caribbean. And who knows what important event happened in 1492? Passengers: (Together.) Columbus discovered America! Lecturer: In the same year, Columbus “discovered” the Caribbean. Thinking He had landed on the Asian coast, he named the islands “Las Indias”. And what did he name the people? Passengers: Indians! Lecturer: Right! During his second voyage, Columbus named the islands, “Las once Mil Virgins” or “The 11,000 Virgins” in honor of St. Ursula and her 11,000 martyred Virgins. Passenger: So that’s why we call all these islands, “The Virgin Islands?” Lecturer: That’s right. Now to continue: In 1665 Danish King Frederik III claimed St. Thomas, but two years later, the Danes abandon the island discouraged by hurricanes and disease. By 1681, the island was flourishing again. Passenger: What would make them go back again? Lecturer: It was probably an order by the king. He owned the land and wanted people living there. He couldn’t collect taxes if no Danes were living on the island. Passenger: The town of Charlotte Amalie was founded by the Danes from the profits of the sugar trade. At one time there were over 170 sugar plantations. But, the focus changed to one of trade. In 1722 it became a free port, meaning all goods were exempt from duties and regulations. Passenger: Where did the name, Charlotte Amalie come from? Lecturer: It was re-named after Charlotte Amelia to honor the bride of King Christian V of Denmark. It is the capital and the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Thomas (along with most of the Caribbean islands) was ruled by French, Dutch and English Countries. Meanwhile, the United States also had its’ eye on The Virgin Islands. Does anyone have an idea why it would be of interest to the U.S. Passenger: military reasons? Lecturer: Exactly! The U.S. government had already considered the strategic Caribbean military base. But it took 50 more years to purchase the Virgin Islands. Passenger: Why such a long time? Especially if the government wanted a military base. Lecturer: Did anyone see the movie, “Seward’s Folly?” (Several people say they had seen it). For those of you who did not see the movie, it was about Secretary of State William Henry Seward’s purchase of Alaska. It was not a popular move in congress. Passenger: I know Alaska cost around $7 million; how much did the islands cost? Lecturer: The proposed contract for $7.5 million was approved in Denmark, but the U.S. Senate refused to authorize it. A few years later, in 1900, another offer was made for $5 million. This time, Denmark refused the offer. Passenger: It doesn’t make good business sense to offer less! Lecturer: You’re right! When WWI began in 1914, Congress worried that Denmark might lose control of the islands. So as the expression goes, they went “back to the drawing board”. The Danes raised the price to $25 million in gold. Passengers: Incredible! Wow! Lecturer: The sale finally took place in 1917. The final price represents one of America’s most expensive land purchase ever. But now the government realizes that neither Alaska nor the Virgin Islands was “folly”. Alaska became a huge resource for oil, hunting, fishing, and tourism. The Virgin Islands provide employment and fun for many people. Passenger: The Virgin Islands were certainly a great investment! Lecturer: Yes, they are often referred to as “American Paradise.” Since my time is almost over, I’m going to give you a handout of some more dates about the islands. I know you all want to change into formal clothes for tonight’s dinner. You will be meeting the captain then. Passengers: (They clap hands and say, “Thank you, that was very informative”).