U.S. Virgin Islands Day, Motto, and Nickname
Danish West Indies
It took more than 40 years of negotiations and effort before the United States and Denmark finally reached agreement to transfer the islands into U.S. hands. A series of natural disasters, including a tsunami, hurricane, and fire, stood in the way of the sale. Disagreements between the two governments and a concern about the possible impeachment of U.S. President Andrew Johnson contributed to the lengthy delay in negotiations.
The onset of World War I changed the tempo. The United States was concerned about enemy military powers establishing bases in the Caribbean. Finally, in January 1917, a treaty was approved by both countries. The United States agreed to pay Denmark $25 million in gold bullion for the islands, a substantial increase from the original agreed-upon price of $5 million in 1900. On March 31, 1917, the islands became an unincorporated territory of the United States, and from that day forward became known as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Over time the islands democratically elected a government with a senate and governor who function under the administrative oversight of the U.S. Department of Interior.
March 31 is celebrated as Transfer Day, marking the date the Danish West Indies were formally ceded to the United States in 1917.
"United in Pride and Hope"
The motto of the U.S. Virgin Islands reflects the multicultural aspect of life on the islands.
The U.S. Virgin Islands does not have a nickname in its totality, but each of the main islands have nicknames: St. Croix is "Twin City;" St. Thomas, "Rock City"; St. John, "Love City"; and Water Island, "Small City."
-World Trade Press