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Transfer Day

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10 replies to this topic

#1
Cousin Ricky

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On March 31, U.S. Virgin Islanders celebrate Transfer Day, to commemorate the 1917 transfer of the Danish West Indies to the United States of America.

The transfer came after more than 50 years of negotiations. It was World War I that forced the issue; the USA feared a German takeover of Denmark, and wasn't keen on having a German base in the Caribbean. The Virgin Islands remained an important strategic naval asset for the USA in WWI and in WWII. My father tells of U-boats in the harbor, and wartime signals flashed from our mountain tops.

As revealed in another thread, we are under de jure rule by Congress, as directed by Article IV of the Constitution. We have no presidential electoral votes or voting representatives in Congress. However, Congress has seen fit to grant a republican form of government to its territories on an ad hoc basis, and has set up rules for itself on this matter. Today we elect a unicameral legislature, a governor and lieutenant governor, and a delegate to the House of Representatives. The delegate has all the rights and privileges of any other member of Congress, except the floor vote. Although we have no presidential vote, we do send delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions, as these are not restricted by the Constitution. We pay U.S. income taxes, but the money is administered locally.[1] We pay into the Social Security system.

There used to be stirrings of an independence movement in the past, but these came to an abrupt end with hurricanes Hugo and Marilyn, when independence advocates learned the advantage of a large insurance pool.

 [1]Incidentally, this means that the Bush/Obama tax cuts have hit us hard, and with the layoff of about 3000 Virgin Islanders (due to government cuts and the shutdown of our biggest employer) since the start of 2012, things aren't going to get easier soon. (How is it that oil refineries are losing money at the same time the oil companies are making the biggest profits in world history?)
“Facts seem to roll off a Christian like water off a duck.” —Great Ape

“How much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?” —Josh K, “Alpha and Omega”

“You don’t understand. My crisis of faith is over.

#2
Joe Bloe

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At your first link (above) I read that the USA paid $25m to the Danes for the Transfer.

I wonder if any of that cash "trickled down" to the citizens.
Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see.

#3
Great Ape

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I didn't know how the U.S. acquired the Virgin Islands. I found this video on Youtube explaining Transfer Day. In the video Senator Wayne James, talks about how most Americans, don't even realize the Virgin Islands is part of the United States. Interesting stuff.



                                          


#4
Cousin Ricky

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At your first link (above) I read that the USA paid $25m to the Danes for the Transfer.

And we Virgin Islanders damn proud of that $25 million. We like to point out that the USA paid more for the Virgin Islands than for Alaska.

(Incidentally, William Seward, who initiated the negotiations for the Danish West Indies, was also responsible for the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire. They laughed at Seward, calling Alaska "Seward's Folly." They stopped laughing when gold and petroleum were discovered there. They started laughing again when Alaska produced a vice presidential candidate.)
“Facts seem to roll off a Christian like water off a duck.” —Great Ape

“How much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?” —Josh K, “Alpha and Omega”

“You don’t understand. My crisis of faith is over.

#5
Cousin Ricky

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Check out all our Danish place names.

Charlotte Amalie, the capital city.

St. Thomas. There are plenty more Danish names that aren't on Google Maps.

Christiansted and Frederiksted, the towns on St. Croix.

We also have a lot of French names. St. John (therein lies a tale) and St. Croix were once owned by France.

The seven flags in the video are those of our seven historical colonial administrators:
  • Spain
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • The Knights of Malta, the worlds only sovereign nation with no national territory
  • Denmark
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
  • The United States of America
Coveted islands, these.
“Facts seem to roll off a Christian like water off a duck.” —Great Ape

“How much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?” —Josh K, “Alpha and Omega”

“You don’t understand. My crisis of faith is over.

#6
Great Ape

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There is a British Virgin Islands too? I didn't know that either. Doh!

Although the territories are politically separate, the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, maintain close cultural ties. The Virgin Islands has a rich history. I need to learn more about it.

                                          


#7
Cousin Ricky

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Although the territories are politically separate, the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, maintain close cultural ties. [...]

My father's mother was born in the BVI (although her roots are Puerto Rican), and my father's patrilineal roots are in the BVI. According to BVI law, I am a "Belonger," although I don't quite know what that means. I stand to inherit land there, although the land is now under national park protection, and we can't touch it. I suppose I could pursue dual citizenship if I were so inclined.

If you ever visit St. John, be careful with your cell phone. On certain parts of St. John, the cell towers on Tortola (on Her Majesty's side) overwhelm the signals from the U.S. side, and you will be charged sky-freaking-high rates for phone calls.
“Facts seem to roll off a Christian like water off a duck.” —Great Ape

“How much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?” —Josh K, “Alpha and Omega”

“You don’t understand. My crisis of faith is over.

#8
Great Ape

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The Virgin Passage separates the U.S. Virgin Islands from the "Passage Islands" or sometimes called the Spanish Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra, which are the easternmost islands of Puerto Rico. Wiki

Spanish Virgin Islands also? Is this why your grandmother has Puerto Rican roots Ricky? How far can you trace your family back in the Virgin Islands? How much land are we talking about and will you actually inherit it or will it remain part of the National Park?

If you ever visit St. John, be careful with your cell phone. On certain parts of St. John, the cell towers on Tortola (on Her Majesty's side) overwhelm the signals from the U.S. side, and you will be charged sky-freaking-high rates for phone calls.


That is interesting. I've been looking at pictures of the Virgin Islands and it is a beautiful place. You must really enjoy living there.

Edited by Great Ape, 01 April 2012 - 02:04 PM.

                                          


#9
Cousin Ricky

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Spanish Virgin Islands also? Is this why your grandmother has Puerto Rican roots Ricky? How far can you trace your family back in the Virgin Islands? How much land are we talking about and will you actually inherit it or will it remain part of the National Park?

I'm not sure that "Spanish Virgin Islands" is much more than a tourism marketing campaign. There was a mass migration from Vieques to St. Croix following the U.S. Navy's conversion of Vieques into a bombing range, but aside from that, Culebra and Vieques do not have the cultural and historical ties with the other islands that the British and U.S. Virgin Islands have with each other. Vieques has some lovely bioluminescent flora in its waters, and now that the Navy is gone, the island is turning toward tourism.

My grandmother's mother was from Culebra, and her father was from San Juan, IIRC. It turns out that I'm related to a former governor who was from Vieques, and appears to have been part of the aforementioned mass migration.

My surname is from the BVI, and prior to that, from Scotland England. I have kin all over these parts, and I can't begin to envision the whole tree.

The land will surely remain with the park, but I don't know what my rights will be.

Edited by Cousin Ricky, 08 August 2018 - 11:41 AM.

“Facts seem to roll off a Christian like water off a duck.” —Great Ape

“How much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?” —Josh K, “Alpha and Omega”

“You don’t understand. My crisis of faith is over.

#10
Great Ape

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I'm not sure that "Spanish Virgin Islands" is much more than a tourism marketing campaign. There was a mass migration from Vieques to St. Croix following the U.S. Navy's conversion of Vieques into a bombing range, but aside from that, Culebra and Vieques do not have the cultural and historical ties with the other islands that the British and U.S. Virgin Islands have with each other. Vieques has some lovely bioluminescent flora in its waters, and now that the Navy is gone, the island is turning toward tourism.


That's right, I do remember the Navy turning one of those islands in to a bombing range. I'm glad the Navy no longer uses it for that purpose and the island is returning to it's natural state.

My grandmother's mother was from Culebra, and her father was from San Juan, IIRC. It turns out that I'm related to a former governor who was from Vieques, and appears to have been part of the aforementioned mass migration.


Interesting stuff Ricky. Juan Francisco Luis was the the longest serving Governor in the history of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

My surname is from the BVI, and prior to that, from Scotland. I have kin all over these parts, and I can't begin to envision the whole tree.

The land will surely remain with the park, but I don't know what my rights will be.


Thanks for sharing that, it was all very interesting. My family tree is pretty much unknown to me. It's always interesting to know who you're related to and where you're from.

Edited by Great Ape, 02 April 2012 - 04:04 AM.

                                          


#11
Cousin Ricky

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My surname is from the BVI, and prior to that, from Scotland. I have kin all over these parts, and I can't begin to envision the whole tree.

 

Not that it means much to the thread topic, but I’ve since learned that my surname is English, not Scottish.


“Facts seem to roll off a Christian like water off a duck.” —Great Ape

“How much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?” —Josh K, “Alpha and Omega”

“You don’t understand. My crisis of faith is over.


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