The Virgin Islands of the United States (commonly called the United States Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands or USVI) are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.
The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, along with the much smaller but historically distinct Water Island, and many other surrounding minor islands. The total land area of the territory is 133.73 square miles (346.4 km2).
As of the 2010 census the population was 106,405, mostly composed by those of Afro-Caribbean descent. Tourism is the primary economic activity, although there is a significant rum manufacturing sector.
Formerly the Danish West Indies, they were sold to the United States by Denmark in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of 1916. They are classified by the UN as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and are currently an organized, unincorporated United States territory. The U.S. Virgin Islands are organized under the Revised Organic Act of 1954, and have since held five constitutional conventions. The last and only proposed Constitution adopted by the Fifth Constitutional Convention in 2009 was rejected by the U.S. Congress in 2010, which urged the convention to reconvene to address the concerns Congress and the Obama administration have had with the proposed document. The convention reconvened in October 2012 to address these concerns, but was unable to produce a revised Constitution before its October 31 deadline.
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“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville (18051859)
“Consider the islands bearing the names of all the saints, bristling with forts like chestnut-burs, or Echinidæ, yet the police will not let a couple of Irishmen have a private sparring- match on one of them, as it is a government monopoly; all the great seaports are in a boxing attitude, and you must sail prudently between two tiers of stony knuckles before you come to feel the warmth of their breasts.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Lets have some good, old-fashioned literature, with a virgin and a moral.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)
“I thought it altogether proper that I should take a brief furlough from official duties at Washington to mingle with you here to-day as a comrade, because every President of the United States must realize that the strength of the Government, its defence in war, the army that is to muster under its banner when our Nation is assailed, is to be found here in the masses of our people.”
—Benjamin Harrison (18331901)
“Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANSour inferior one varies with the place.”
—Thomas Paine (17371809)