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History of Frederiksted
Project Location

Danish - 18th Century

The Danish West India and Guinea Company bought the island from the French in 1733. Attracted by cheap land, planters, mostly English, flocked to St. Croix from neighboring islands. But the company's impending bankruptcy prompted the settlers to petition the Danish king for aid, and the island was made a Crown Colony in 1755. The Danish influence, more lasting than that of any other European power, is particularly evident today in the gingerbread architecture of Christiansted and Frederiksted.

During the second half of the 18th century, the island enjoyed a period of enormous economic prosperity based on the cultivation of sugar, the production of rum, and the slave trade. The Danish West Indies served as a central slave marketplace in the region, and despite the protestations of the Danish Crown, St. Croix's planters relied heavily on slave labor. The Danish government declared slavery illegal in 1792 but assisted planters in acquiring slaves during a "transition" period; the slave trade was abolished in 1803. However, St. Croix's slaves would not achieve independence until July 3, 1848, when Governor-General Peter von Scholten roused from his bed in the wee hours of the morning by the news of a slave insurrection ordered their immediate emancipation.

Columbus Late 15th Century
English / Dutch 17th Century
Danish 18th Century
19th and 20th Century