Timeline Virgin Islands

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A northern and southern group of islands in the West Indies east of Puerto Rico. The northern group are the British Virgin Islands and include Virgin Gorda. The southern group are the Virgin Islands of the US and includes St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
    (WUD, 1994, p.1595)

1493        Columbus discovered a group of islands that he christened Las Once Mil Virgenes, in memory of St. Ursula and her 11,000 martyr virgins who were slaughtered by the Huns at Cologne in the 5th century.
    (SFEC, 2/15/98, p.T8)

1757        Jan 11, Alexander Hamilton (d.1804), first U.S. Secretary of Treasury, was born on St.  Croix.
    (WUD, 1994 p.640)(AP, 1/11/98)(HN, 1/11/00)(HNPD, 1/11/00)

1811        Aug 6, Judah Philip Benjamin (d.1884), Sec. War and Sec. State for the Confederacy, was born a British subject in the Virgin Islands. He went on to become the first professed Jew elected to U.S. Senate, from the state of Louisiana in 1852. He was brought to South Carolina as a child. After attending Yale (1825--7) he settled in New Orleans. He served Louisiana in the US Senate (Whig, 1853--9; Democrat, 1859--61). He was noted for his pro-slavery speeches in the Senate. Favoring secession, he served the Confederacy as attorney general (1861) and then as secretary of war (1861--2). He was blamed for the Confederate army's lack of equipment, but Jefferson Davis promoted him to secretary of state (1862--5). Late in the war he urged the recruitment of slaves into the Confederate Army. With the collapse of the Confederacy he fled to the West Indies and then to England (1866), where he made a brilliant new career as a British barrister, especially in appeal cases. He wrote the Treatise on the Law of Sale of Personal Property (1868), which at once became the standard in the field. In 1872, he became a counsel to the queen. Benjamin died in Paris.
    (HNQ, 12/8/98)(MC, 8/6/02)

1830        Camille Pissarro, artist, was born on St. Thomas Island.
    (Hem., 1/97, p.124)

1848        Jul 3, Gen. Peter Von Scholten, faced with the likely destruction of towns and plantations by a slave revolt, declared the slaves of the Danish West Indies (later US Virgin Islands) to be freed.
    (SSFC, 7/5/09, p.A3)

1855        Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), French impressionist, moved to France from his native St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
    (WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)(Hem., 1/97, p.124)(WUD, 1994, p.1097)

1867        Denmark reached a deal to transfer Saint Thomas and Saint John (part of the Virgin Islands) to the United States to the US for $7.5 million, but a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami and fire, as well as domestic and intíl. political conflicts delayed the transfer for 50 years.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Virgin_Islands)(SSFC, 3/27/11, p.M3)

1916        Aug 4, The United States signed a treaty to purchase the Danish Virgin Islands for $25 million. The US purchased the southern Virgin Islands including St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and about 50 other small Caribbean islets and cays from Denmark. They were then known as the Danish West Indies. The Act of March 3, 1917, authorized payment by the US of $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
    (WUD, 1994, p.1595)(AP, 8/4/97)(HNQ, 11/20/99)

1916        Dec 14, People of Denmark voted to sell Danish West Indies to United States for $25 million. [see Aug 4]
    (AP, 12/14/02)

1917        Jan 17, The United States paid Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
    (AP, 1/17/07)

1917        Mar 31, The United States took possession of the Virgin Islands. The purchase from Denmark for $25 million had been set up in 1916.
    (AP, 3/30/97)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Virgin_Islands)

1931        Jan 30, The United States awarded civil government to the Virgin Islands.
    (HN, 1/30/99)

1937        Mar 26, William H. Hastie became the first black federal judge in the Virgin Islands.
    (HN, 3/25/98)(SS, 3/26/02)

1949        Oct 29, Alonzo G. Moron of the Virgin Islands became the first African- American president of Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia.
    (HN, 10/29/98)

1952        On St. John the Virgin Islands National Park was established on 5,000 acres turned over to the US government by.
    (SFEC, 2/15/98, p.T8)

1955        Feb 20, Kelsey Grammer, actor (Fraiser), was born in the Virgin Islands.
    (MC, 2/20/02)

1955        Rockresortsí Caneel Bay was established on 500 acres purchased by  Laurence Rockefeller.
    (SFEC, 2/15/98, p.T8)

1964        Rockresortsí Little Dix was established land first purchased by  Laurence Rockefeller.
    (SFEC, 2/15/98, p.T8)

1989        Sep 17, Hurricane Hugo slammed into several Caribbean islands, including St. Croix, which was the hardest hit. The 4 day sweep through the Caribbean killed 62.
    (AP, 9/17/99)

1995        Sep 4-1995 Sep 7, Hurricane Luis hit the Virgin Islands.
    (NH, 10/96, p.60)(www.nhc.noaa.gov/1995luis.html)

1999        Nov 17, Hurricane Lenny hit the Virgin Islands with 150 mph winds with most of the force over St. Croix.
    (SFC, 11/18/99, p.A3)

2000        A first Virgin Islands casino was scheduled to open on Divi Carina Bay.
    (SFEC, 9/12/99, p.T3)

2001        Jun 13, In the USA Virgin Islands police Corporal Wendell Williams (49) disappeared after ending his midnight shift. On Feb 10, 2012, a team of 70 police officers arrested five suspects in the case, including one in Georgia with the help of federal agents.
    (AP, 2/10/12)

2003        Jun 17,  The Virgin Islands Party was swept from power after spending 17 years at the helm, according to final election results.
    (AP, 6/18/03)

2003-2007    Physician Orlando Smith governed the British Virgin Islands.
    (AP, 11/8/11)

2004        Nov 13, At least 5,500 residents of St. Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, have signed a petition asking Congress to make the island its own U.S. territory.
    (AP, 11/13/04)

2004        Jun, The US IRS warned companies in the Virgin Islands, in what is known as the Economic Development Commission program, to avoid manipulating residency and income rules to qualify for tax breaks. Enforcement of new regulations began in early 2005.
    (WSJ, 12/27/06, p.A4)

2005        Jun 20, A US federal judge threw out evidence against four men charged with laundering more than $60 million through their chain of US Virgin Islands grocery stores, ruling that FBI agents acted in "reckless disregard for the truth."
    (AP, 6/21/05)

2005        Sep 8, In the Virgin Islands Elena Lin Yee was arrested and charged with impersonating a US government official and misuse of official documents. Yee used fake credentials to pose as a US ambassador to Grenada, the wife of a former US ambassador to the UN and a US ambassador-at-large.
    (AP, 9/9/05)

2006        Sep 26, A former chief of environmental protection in the US Virgin Islands pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the islands' government of more than $1 million. Hollis Griffin (43) acknowledged engaging in a five-year bribery scheme that paid up to $350,000 in kickbacks to at least four government officials in exchange for consulting contracts worth $1.4 million.
    (AP, 9/26/06)

2006        Oct 31, A leading researcher said large species of coral that form underwater reefs and create rich habitat for marine life are disappearing from around the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean.
    (AP, 11/1/06)

2006        Dec 28, Senators of the US Virgin Islands passed Act 6905 in a special session. It raised the governorís salary from $80,000 to $150,000 and senatorsí salaries from $65,000 to $80,000. The average income on St. Croix was $26, 548.
    (WSJ, 1/13/07, p.A14)

2006        Gov. Charles Turnbull of the Virgin Islands told the US Senate that a government crackdown on tax abuse was forcing many legitimate businesses to close their doors.
    (WSJ, 12/27/06, p.A4)
2006        The population St. Thomas, one of the US Virgin Islands, was about 55,000. The total population of the Virgin Islands was about 109,000.
    (Econ, 9/2/06, p.32)(WSJ, 12/27/06, p.A4)

2007        Jun 19, James Cockayne (21) of New Hope, Pa., was beaten and stabbed to death in the Virgin Islands. 3 men, Anselmo Boston, Kamal Thomas and Jahleel Ward, were arrested after the parents of Cockayne appeared on US news programs and accused Virgin Islands detectives of botching an investigation into their son's death. On Oct 10, 2008, Ward was found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges. Anselmo Boston and Kamal Thomas were found guilty on two counts each of third-degree assault, among other charges.
    (AP, 10/6/08)(AP, 10/10/08)

2007        Aug 3, Virgin Islandsí authorities arrested Kamal Thomas and charged him with first-degree murder and assault, as well as using a dangerous weapon while committing a crime. James Cockayne (21) of new Hope, Pa., was killed on June 19 near a shopping center.
    (AP, 8/6/07)

2007        Sep 25, A large swath of coastal land was secured by The Trust for Public Land, paving the way for the biggest expansion of the US Virgin Islands National Park since it was created more than 50 years ago. The pristine property on St. John, known as Estate Maho Bay, will be transferred to the National Park Service when federal funds become available in 2-3 years.
    (AP, 9/26/07)

2007        Nov 13, The British Virgin Islands told the US there is overwhelming evidence that Leonid Reiman, Russiaís Telecommunications Minister owns much of Russiaís telecom industry through an offshore fund.
    (WSJ, 11/14/07, p.A1)

2008        Feb 9, Sen. Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state, slicing into Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's slender delegate lead in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama also won almost 90% in the Virgin Islands. McCain narrowly won Washington while Huckabee took Kansas along with a narrow win in Louisiana.
    (AP, 2/10/08)(SSFC, 2/10/08, p.A1)

2008        Jul 31, A US Virgin Islands hospital fired four board members after a US government audit found alleged financial mismanagement and the use of taxpayer money to fund lucrative pay packages for top administrators.
    (AP, 7/31/08)

2008        Aug 14, In the Virgin Islands 2 former government officials faced prison after being found guilty of running a million-dollar bribery and kickback scheme. Dean Plaskett, former commissioner of the islands' planning and natural resources department, was sentenced to nine years in prison. Marc Biggs, former commissioner of the property and procurement office, will serve seven years.
    (AP, 8/15/08)

2008        Aug 21, In the US Virgin Islands a judge imposed a life sentence on Daniel Castillo, convicted of strangling Laquina Hennis, a 12-year-old girl, last year.
    (AP, 8/22/08)

2008        Sep 7, In the Virgin Islands US federal agent William Clark (33) intervened in a couple's drunken fight outside his apartment and shot Marcus Sukow to death. Clark was charged with murder and faced trial. In 2010 the case was dismissed on a technicality: that proper procedure was not followed in identifying Sukow's body to the medical examiner.
    (AP, 10/23/10)(AP, 10/28/10)

2008        Oct 16, Hurricane Omar passed the Virgin Islands overnight leaving oil spills in St. Croix as 40 boats sank or washed ashore.
    (AP, 10/18/08)

2008        Oct 26, Gabriel Lerner (27) was kidnapped and killed after he offered 2 men a ride in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Lerner was from the Milwaukee area and worked as a clerk for a Superior Court judge on the island. On March 4, 2011, Auriel Frett (24) was convicted of first degree murder for the slaying. Jurors deliberated less than three hours before reaching the verdict. The co-defendant, who was 17 at the time of the murder, pleaded guilty last year. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
    (AP, 3/5/11)(http://tinyurl.com/4b8c97y)

2009        Jan 19, Some 25 people, most of them Haitians, were aboard an overloaded boat that was illegally traveling the 100-mile (160-kilometer) passage from the Dutch territory of St. Maarten to the British Virgin Islands. They were apparently island-hopping in hopes of eventually reaching US shores when the boat hit a reef, pitching passengers into the ocean. 13 migrants were rescued by a passing fishing boat. In September 4 men, two Sri Lankans and two residents of St. Kitts, were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging up to 2 1/2 years for organizing the doomed sea voyage from St. Maarten.
    (AP, 1/21/09)(AP, 9/22/09)

2009        Jan, Liquor company Diageo PLC signed a long-term lease to build a Captain Morgan rum distillery in the Virgin Islands in exchange for a portion of the territory's excise-tax revenue, estimated at $2.7 billion over 30 years. The distillery opened in late 2010 on the island of St. Croix. Puerto Rico expected to lose $140 million in 2012 as a result of the lucrative production of Captain Morgan rum moving to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
    (AP, 7/6/11)

2009        Apr 30, Police in the US Virgin Islands canceled the popular J'ouvert carnival after four people were wounded in a shooting and two stabbings.
    (AP, 4/30/09)

2009        Sep 3, In the US Virgin Islands two ticket agent contractors who worked for Delta Airlines and an airport employee were arrested after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to smuggle illegal immigrants into the US.
    (AP, 9/5/09)

2009        Oct 27, A jury in the British Virgin Islands convicted dive shop owner David Swain of drowning his wife, Shelley Tyre (46) during a 1999 scuba-diving trip in what prosecutors called a near perfect murder. Authorities charged Swain with murder after a 2006 civil trial in Rhode Island found him responsible for his wife's death. That jury awarded Tyre's family $3.5 million, but Swain filed for bankruptcy and has not paid the sum. On Nov 10 a judge sentenced Swain to 25 years in jail. In 2011 Swain walked free after judges with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal found problems with the jury instructions during the 2009 trial.
    (AP, 10/28/09)(AP, 11/10/09)(AP, 9/29/11)

2009        Oct 29, In the US Virgin Islands a small plane crashed into a field and burst into flames shortly after taking off in St. Croix, killing all three people on board.
    (AP, 10/30/09)

2010        Mar 17, US federal authorities won a court order requiring officials in the US Virgin Islands to repair sewage plants that have dumped raw waste at beaches renowned for snorkeling and surfing.
    (AP, 3/17/10)

2010        Jul 12, In the US Virgin Islands a Puerto Rican tourist (14) was killed in front of her horrified family when she was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight attributed to warring gangs.
    (AP, 7/12/10)

2010        Oct 19, Two employees of the US Virgin Islands' tax bureau were accused of leading a scheme that pilfered as much as $500,000 from the government using fraudulent tax refund checks. Tax bureau employees Tiffanne Sutton and Colette Hacket-Browne and others had allegedly taken part in tax fraud since 2006.
    (AP, 10/20/10)

2011        Jan 9, In the US Virgin Islands a traffic stop led to the seizure of 228 kg (502 pounds) of cocaine from Miguel Pascual, a Dominican national. The drugs had an approximate street value of more than $6 million.
    (AP, 1/10/11)

2011        Jun 17, The Virgin Islands government said it has transferred 66 male inmates to the US mainland to improve security at a prison that federal officials have said is out of control. Gov. John de Jongh said the transfer of inmates from the Golden Grove prison on the island of St. Croix to prisons in Virginia and Florida was planned months before the federal government requested to take over the prison.
    (AP, 6/18/11)

2011        Jun 24, In the US Virgin Islands a 6-week embezzlement case against three former hospital executives ended in mistrial. A US government audit had accused the three of colluding with the hospital's board to hide bloated compensation packages and of lying to legislators about hospital funds.
    (AP, 6/24/11)

2011        Jun 28, U.S. Virgin Islands Immigration and Customs Enforcement said officers have found 531 kg of cocaine, worth about $16 million, some marijuana and two pistols at a house on St. Thomas.
    (AP, 6/28/11)

2011        Oct 26, A high-end jewelry manufacturer in the US Virgin Islands was ordered to forfeit thousands of pounds (kg) of protected black coral and pay a $1.8 million fine for trading in it. Gem Manufacturing Inc. pleaded guilty to seven counts of violating the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act.
    (AP, 10/26/11)

2011        Nov 7, The British Virgin Islands held elections. The main opposition party, The National Democratic Party, dominated parliamentary elections with nine of 13 parliamentary seats, putting party leader Orlando Smith, the islands' No. 1 politician, in line to be premier of the offshore corporate haven for the next four years.
    (AP, 11/9/11)

2011        Nov 15, US Federal agents said they have seized 709 pounds (321 kg) of cocaine and arrested three men off the US island of St. John. The suspects' boat was first spotted Nov 11 by a maritime surveillance aircraft flying over the US Virgin Islands.
    (AP, 11/15/11)

2012        Nov 8, Alvin Williams Jr., a senator in the US Virgin Islands, was arrested after being indicted by a grand jury in a public corruption case.
    (SFC, 1/17/13, p.A10)(http://tinyurl.com/ao85ge6)

2013        Jan 17, Alvin Williams Jr. (34), a former senator in the US Virgin Islands, pleaded guilty in a public corruption case.
    (SFC, 1/17/13, p.A10)

2013        Apr 5, A data leak was reported orchestrated this week by a Washington-based group called the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. It involved tens of thousands of offshore bank accounts, mainly form the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and Singapore, and named dozens of prominent figures around the world. New details were being released by the day. The leak allegedly involved records from 10 tax havens.
    (AP, 4/6/13)(SFC, 4/5/13, p.A4)

2013        Jun 15, Britain clinched a deal with its major offshore tax havens on Saturday that will see 10 British overseas territories and crown dependencies sign up to international protocols on information sharing. Those included were Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
    (Reuters, 6/15/13)

2014        Jan 22, The Washington-based Intíl. Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said it has obtained documents showing the identities of nearly 22,000 owners of companies and trusts in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and other offshore centers. It said they include the brother-in-law of Chinaís Pres. Xi, former Premier Wen Jiabaoís son and son-in-law and relatives of other ruling party figures.
    (SFC, 1/23/14, p.A4)

2014        Jan 26, The Royal Caribbean cruise line ended a 10-day trip in the Caribbean early after hundreds of passengers and crew members on the Explorer of the Seas were sickened with a gastrointestinal illness consistent with norovirus. Health officials boarded the ship at St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
    (AP, 1/27/14)(SFC, 1/27/14, p.A2)

2014        Feb 13, Louis Willis, the former director of the US Virgin Islands' Internal Revenue Bureau, turned himself in under charges of tax evasion.
    (AP, 2/15/14)

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