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Dinner with the Captain (2)

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”).
Author: Torsten Daerr