The Caribbean Island of St. Thomas
The Island of Saint Thomas is located the Caribbean, a county and constituent
district of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), an unincorporated territory of the United
States. Charlotte Amalie is the island’s territorial capital and port. The island total land area
is approximately 31.24 square miles (80.9 km2).
The island was originally settled
around 1500 BC by the Ciboney people. They were later replaced by the Arawaks and then the Caribs.
Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1493 on his second voyage to the "New World". The Caribs
barely survived the first decades of contact with Europeans, either due to disease, deportation or
The Dutch West India Company established a post on Saint Thomas in 1657. The Danish conquered
the island in 1666, and by 1672 had established control over the entire island through the Danish
West India and Guinea Company.
The land was divided into plantations and sugar cane production became the primary economic
activity. As a result, the economies of Saint Thomas and neighboring islands of Saint John and
Saint Croix became highly dependent on slave labor and the slave trade. In 1685 the
Brandenburgisch-Africanische Compagnie took control of the slave trade on Saint Thomas, and for
some time the largest slave auctions in the world were held there. Saint Thomas was known for its
fine natural harbor, known as "Taphus" for the drinking establishments located nearby. In 1691 the
primary settlement there was renamed Charlotte Amalie in honor of the wife of Denmark's King
Christian V. It was later declared a free port by King Frederick V.
The religious training of the African slaves was not of interest to the Danish colonial
government. In December 1732, the first two of many Moravian Brethren missionaries came from
Herrnhut Saxony in present day Germany to minister to them. Distrusted at first by the white
masters, they lived among the slaves and soon won their confidence. A small Jewish community was
set up in Charlotte Amalie and set up a historic synagogue Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim, the
oldest synagogue in continuous use in the United States.
While the sugar trade had brought prosperity to the island's free citizens, by the early 19th
century Saint Thomas was in decline. The continued export of sugar was threatened by hurricanes,
drought, and American competition. In 1848, slavery was abolished and the resulting rise in labour
costs further weakened the position of Saint Thomas' sugar producers. Given its harbors and
fortifications, Saint Thomas still retained a strategic importance, and thus in the 1860s the
United States government considered buying the island and its neighbors from Denmark for $7.5
million, but failed to find domestic legislative support for the bid.
Things to do in St. Thomas
People go in and out of the island by the Cyril E. King Airport and the sea.
The United States Virgin Islands is the only place under the jurisdiction United States where
driving on the left is the rule of the road. This was brought down from the then-current Danish
practice at the time of the American purchase in 1917. However, because St. Thomas is a U.S.
territory, most cars are imported from the mainland United States and as a result, the steering
column is located on the left side of the vehicle.
There are open-air cabs, also known as the "dollar bus". It costs one or two dollars depending
on one's destination, and is the cheapest way to navigate the island. There are set routes that it
follows. One passes by every drop-off location about every 5-10 minutes.
Passenger and limited car ferry services to neighboring islands such as Water Island, St. John, St.
Croix, and the British Virgin Islands run regularly out of the Red Hook, Charlotte Amalie, and
Crown Bay marinas.
Bolongo Bay: The Bolongo Bay Beach can be located at the southern end of The Bolongo Beach
Resort, this beach offers a variety of water sports and beach toy rentals.
Brewer’s Bay: Located near the University of the Virgin Islands campus, Brewer’s Bay is a
family favorite for weekend picnics and gatherings. Visitors can relax in the shallow waters or
sunbathe on the wide shore.
Coki Beach: Located on Coki Point, this white sand beach with crystal clear water offers
excellent snorkeling and diving. Beachside eateries serve picnic table fare including burgers,
sandwiches and some local dishes. There is a dive shop, Jet Ski rental and several vendors renting
snorkel gear, beach chairs and floats. Right next to Coral World Ocean Park, it’s easy to make a
day of visiting both attractions.
While visiting St. Thomas you can take a glimpse into 18th century city planning by walking
up or down the 99 steps, view defense structures like a fort, canons and watch towers or learn
about local history at museums and historic houses. More on Historical Sights.
Driving to the top of the highest mountain on St. Thomas for a fabulous view or stopping at
the famous Drakes Seat for a stunning panoramic of Magens Bay. You can explore these lookout points
and other interesting sites around the island on your own or on a tour with a knowledgeable
Ride on a tram to a spot with a name that says it all; Paradise Point. Enjoy the underwater
scenery at a marine park or by submarine.
The St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point, a modern aerial cable car, is your ride to the
best sightseeing in the Virgin Islands. The trip is 7 minutes one-way and takes you 700 feet above
sea level. Stay at the top for as long as you want and enjoy unique shops, a neat Bird Show
(10:30am, 1:30pm & 3:30pm), a fun bar featuring the famous Bushwacker, a grill for a nice lunch
and fabulous panoramic views of cruise ships, Charlotte Amalie harbor and neighboring islands.
Spend the day at Coral World Ocean Park, one of St. Thomas’s Greatest Attractions. Get up close
and personal with the beauty and magic of Caribbean marine life in a stunning setting. View life on
a coral reef from the unique Undersea Observatory. Pet a shark, hand feed a stingray or a rainbow
lorikeet! There are several gift shops, cafes and shower facilities. Additional activities include
brand new Sea Lion Splash, Sea Trek Helmet Dive, Shark and Turtle Encounters, Nautilus Semi-Sub,
Parasailing and Snuba. Located next to Coki Beach. Open 9-5 daily, November - May. Summer schedule
Getting Married In St. Thomas
St. Thomas is bless with historic churches, centuries-old sugar mills and forts, romantic
resorts, unique wedding locales, glorious palm-fringed beaches and easy marriage laws, the U.S.
Virgin Islands is a natural aphrodisiac for budget-conscious couples or those for whom the ultimate
ceremony has no price tag. you have the choice of three Island to choose from for your perfect
St. Croix, the historic, free-spirited
St. John, the unspoiled natural beauty
St. Thomas, the cosmopolitan sister
Whatever island you select, experienced resort and independent wedding specialists are available to
offer an overwhelmed amount of help to plan a ceremony nothing short of amazing.
Services are available for first-time brides and grooms, those renewing vows or couples just
interested in reaffirming their love for each other. Exchanging vows the traditional way, say in
one of St. Thomas’s beautiful churches, remains en vogue with many couples. Synagogues, mosques,
Moravian churches, Catholic cathedral, and other houses of worship can be reserved. Interested in
something unconventional? Consider getting married underwater, aboard a charter yacht or in a
lavish villa. For a reception like no other, dine surrounded by a coral reef aquarium, or enjoy
drinks in a submarine immersed in the Caribbean Sea. Coordinators will take care of every minute
detail, including incorporating family traditions; recreating special themes; helping with the menu
selection; getting custom floral arrangements, photographers and musicians; and arranging for
unique gifts and activities for you or any guests or family members.
St. Thomas is a U.S.
Territory; it is easy for citizens of the United States and Canada to obtain a marriage license.
There is no stay to meet a residency requirement or blood test needed before getting a marriage
license. You must however be a signed, notarized and authorized application to the Territorial
Court - Your Wedding Coordinator will arrange that for you.
It can take a minimum of seven working days to obtain the marriage license and must be arranged
before you arrive on island. Follow these steps to obtain your marriage license, please allow a
minimum of two months in order to ensure receipt.
Click here to Download the
Marriage Application (PDF) and complete it. The Marriage Application must be submitted to the
Territorial Court of the USVI at least one month prior to the ceremony date (see below for mailing
Marriage Application Tips:
1.Parents"- State both parents'
2."Mother's maiden name"- For both Bride and Groom
3.Place of birth"- For both parents
4.Previous marriages - Certified copy of divorce or death certificate must accompany
The following must accompany the Marriage Application:
5. letter detailing arrival and departure dates, location of stay (Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort),
On-Island contact: (Lorna Richardson, Wedding Coordinator, Wyndham Sugar Bay)
6. certified check or money order for $100.00 ($50.00 - Non-refundable for application fee and
$50.00 - Marriage license fee)
Mailing the Application
It is recommended
that you send this information via Federal Express or Express Mail in order to have a tracking
number to confirm its receipt. You also have the option to send it regular mail. Make copies of the
information that you send to the court, and bring them with you to St. Thomas.
Territorial Court of the Virgin
St. Thomas, USVI 00804
Phone: (340) 774-6680, Ext. 6207
Once in St. Thomas you will need to
pickup your license at the Territorial Court in Downtown, Charlotte Amalie. NOTE: If time allows,
upon arrival, stop by the court on the way to your Resort from the airport.
The application will need to be notarized at the Territorial Court. There is no physical exam or
blood test required.
There are no restrictions regarding arriving on island prior to your ceremony. you must go to the
courthouse for the signing of the license. It is open Monday-Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and
Saturdays from 10:00am to 12:00 Noon Closed on Holidays. (There are 20 legal holidays observed in
St. Thomas. Verify in advance with your Wedding Coordinator, that your dates are not in conflict
with one of these holidays.)
The language of St. Thomas and the
rest of the US Virgin Islands are English. The literacy rate in the Virgin Islands is around
90-95%.It is common to hear French Creole and Spanish spoken, particularly on St. Thomas and St.
Croix. Spanish is spoken in the Virgin Islands by immigrants of Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo.
French Creole is spoken by immigrants from St. Barthélemy, St. Lucia, St. Martin, Dominica, French
Guyana, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Martinique.
Our source: Over 70% of the information on this page was taken from http://wikitravel.org the other information was from knowledge of the