Bought by the United States in 1917 from the Danish, The U.S. Virgin Islands today consist of Saint Croix (the largest), Saint John and Saint Thomas, and Water Island (the smallest) with several other surrounding minor islands. The total land area of the territory is 133.73 square miles (346.4 km2). As of the 2000 census the population was 108,612.
In 1672 the British captured Tortola from the Dutch. Administered as part of the British Leeward Islands, the British Virgin Islands obtained its autonomy in 1967 as a British Overseas Territory, where the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II.
Comprises of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, and several other surrounding islands. Once a predominantly agricultural based island, today its economy is one of the most prosperous in tourism and financial services in the Caribbean. The population of the Islands is around 21,730 in 2003.
In 1493, Christopher Columbus landed on an island he named Santa Cruz. Driven away by the Carib Indians, he sailed northward to a nearby group of islands he called Las Once Mil Virgenes, in honor of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins.