A Brief Overview of the History and Political Situation of the U.S. Virgin Islands

The home of management consulting firm Cane Bay Partners is the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The United States laid claim to several Caribbean islands and made them territories, just as it had done with land on the mainland and with other islands, including Hawaii.

A Brief History

The initials in front of this Virgin Islands name distinguish it from the islands of the same name that are actually owned by Great Britain. Those are called the British Virgin Islands. All were discovered by Christopher Columbus in the late 1400s, although they were already inhabited by native people.

Both England and Holland originally colonized St. Croix, later being displaced by the French. Denmark eventually became the owner of St. Croix and two other islands, St. Thomas and St. John. The three were known as the Danish West Indies. The United States bought these three islands in 1917, wanting a more strategic military position during World War I.

U.S. Territories

Although many territories were later upgraded to states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands remain territories. The nation owns other territories as well, but those do not have any permanent residents.

Voting Issues

Residents born in these territories are U.S. citizens, although they cannot vote for President because territories do not have Electoral votes. U.S. citizens who move to St. Croix or another Caribbean island from a state or the District of Columbia do have this Constitutional right as long as they complete the required paperwork each time.

The co-founders of Cane Bay Partners both moved to St. Croix from the mainland United States. One is originally from Georgia and the other from Michigan. Cane Bay Partners maintains a satellite office Atlanta, as well as one in the Central American country of Belize.

Pushing for a Change in Status

When it comes to territory residents considering pushing for statehood or becoming an independent nation, most of the discussion comes from Puerto Rico, with its population of more than 3 million. The total population of the U.S. Virgin Islands, in contrast, is only about 103,000 as of 2017.