About the Island
The island may only cover 32 square miles, but St. Thomas has been called the gateway to the Caribbean. Known worldwide for beautiful beaches and amazing scuba and snorkeling spots, it is also home to some of the friendliest people on the planet. Charlotte Amalie, the territorial capital was founded in 1666 and was first named Taphus (Beer House in Danish). That name lasted for about 30 years but was finally, some say thankfully, changed to Charlotte Amalie after a queen consort to King Christian V of Denmark and Norway.
Here you will find Blackbeard’s Castle, a watchtower actually, named in honor of the island’s rich pirate history, with both Bluebeard and Blackbeard leaving their marks on the island. The capital is a very busy cruise-ship port, with dozens arriving daily in the shadow of the 17th-century Fort Christian, named after the king himself.
With a total year-round population of about 52,000 islanders, English may be the official language of St. Thomas, but most speak a delightful dialect called Virgin Island Creole. One may also hear Spanish and occasionally, French Patois. Tourism is the driving force of the economy on St. Thomas, with over 1.5 million tourists visiting in an average year. Drawn by the prospect of duty-free shopping and the largest collection of Danish architecture in the Caribbean. Tourists flock to see Danish castles, cemeteries, churches, forts, town homes, sugar mills and plantation houses, as well as partake of exciting watersports and world-class cuisine.
St. Thomas is also often the first stop on an island adventure that includes St. Croix, St. John and Tortola. But for modern treasure hunters, St. Thomas is the end-all destination, with shops and global brands, like Rolex, Tiffany and Breitling selling duty-free wares to the many annual visitors. Blackbeard’s gold may be long gone from the beaches of St. Thomas, but there is much to be found in her open air markets.