The Virgin Islands National Park is located in the American Virgin Islands. It has an area of 52 square kilometers and receives 803,000 visitors annually. The Virgin Islands National Park was established on August 2, 1956.
The Virgin Islands are located about 80 kilometers east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. Because one wanted to preserve this fantastic island paradise and withdraw it from commerce, the Virgin Islands National Park was founded.
It should be mentioned at this point that the islands are exceptionally beautiful. White sandy beaches, blue skies, turquoise seas, volcanic landscapes and coral reefs. A dream in the Caribbean. Of course, visitors to the park want to enjoy this too, so diving, swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and boating are high on the list. Fishing and island tours are also possible here.
History of the Virgin Islands National Park It is
estimated that the first humans landed in the Virgin Islands around 300 AD. They were refugees from what is now Venezuela and Guyana. Their settlements stood in the sheltered north and west of the islands. They probably only entered the dry south side to gather food. This situation lasted for about a thousand years. The Arawak, as the people were called, lived on their island. The idyll ends abruptly when around a hundred years before the white settlers, Caribs invaded the islands and killed or expelled the inhabitants.
Even Columbus landed here. He reached the island of St. John on November 4, 1493. For Columbus, the island was deserted. Either they hadn’t shown up or there weren’t any people left on St. John then.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the island became a colony of Denmark. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Danish company Westindia and Guinea Company built the first sugar cane factory on the island. This stands in an area that is not part of the national park today. Black slaves were allowed to embark from West Africa, who had to work on the sugar cane plant and the cotton area. In 1848 Denmark abolished slavery and the whites left the area. Few residents remained who had previously made a living from agriculture and animal husbandry.
The livestock farming destroyed the vegetation and so the entire forest on the island was rebuilt.
Animals in the Virgin Islands National Park
Noticeably few native animals live in the national park. There are only six species of bats to be found on the island. However, the immigrants brought various animals with them to the island. In order to fight the introduced rats, they brought mongoose here, among other things. Today there are also around 100 species of birds on the island. These include seagulls, frigate birds, pelicans and herons as well as ducks.
In addition, fish and frogs naturally live in the water areas. Lizards also feel at home on the island.
The sea turtles are particularly interesting. Life in the sea is of course pronounced. The many different types of corals are incredibly colorful. Mussels, snails, starfish and fish are also well represented.
Plants in the Virgin Islands National Park
Under the Danish colonial rule, most of the original plants were either exterminated or severely decimated. The colonists have replaced many of the native plants with exotic ones, which offer the visitor a colorful picture.