The New Student's Reference Work/Virgin Islands
Vir′gin Islands, a group of over 30 islands lying east of Porto Rico, in the West Indies, with an area of 58 square miles. About one fourth of them are inhabited. Sugar, molasses, cotton, salt, turmeric, pimento and ginger are among the products. Most of the islands belong to Great Britain, and since 1872 are included with the Leeward Islands, the president of the British Virgin Islands being under the authority of the governor of the Leeward Islands. The other islands of the group belong to Denmark, except Crab Island, which is owned by Spain. Columbus discovered the islands in 1494. They were secured by Britain by settlement in 1635, shortly after the British occupation of the Bahamas. The chief town is Roadtown on Tortola Island. The other principal islands of the group are Anegada and Virgin Gorda. To Denmark belong Santa Cruz, St. Thomas and St. John. Population 4,691.