|British Virgin Islands History|
The British Virgin Islands are to be found to the east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. The main islands that constitute this territory are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. There are around 50 other cays that make up the Virgin Islands although 15 of these aren't inhabited. British Virgin Islands' history is as diverse as the islands themselves.
British Virgin Islands History: Early Inhabitants
Like many of the Caribbean islands, the Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak tribes at around about the 100 BC mark. This was the case until the 15th century during which they were replaced by the Caribs, a much more fierce and aggressive tribe from the Lesser Antilles that had settled in many other Caribbean islands. The British Virgin Islands' history started with these humble tribes people.
The next phase of the British Virgin Islands' history was in 1493 when they were spotted by the renowned explorer, Christopher Columbus. They were not claimed for the Spanish Empire at this stage and neither were they settled upon. Columbus was a great explorer but he had neither the resources nor authority to take control of an island for himself.
The Spanish formed the next part of the islands' history when they claimed them in the 16th century; the Spanish did not, however, decide to settle here. They were joined by the British, French and Dutch who all fought for control over the region. The Dutch managed to capture Tortola for themselves in 1648 and held it until 1672, when it was captured again, this time by the British.
This helped the British continue towards Anegada and the Virgin Gorda shortly after in 1680. This may be one of the most uncertain periods of the British Virgin Islands' history as the islands were split under different nations and empires.
Although many considered them to be more of a strategic island, the British planted on them once economic conditions were once again more in their favor. The paths of slaves entered that of the British Virgin Islands' history when they were brought to the island in order to work the sugar cane plantations. The sugar cane industry proved to be unsustainable and collapsed shortly after the abolition of slavery. The island was swept by hurricanes too and this lead to an economic decline; there was also much more fierce competition from European and American plantations.
1960 saw the British Virgin Islands' history turn a little more British as they finally gained colony status. Just seven years later they became autonomous and recent times have seen a quick change from their traditional agricultural economy towards financial services and tourism. They are now one of the wealthiest areas in the Caribbean.
The British Virgin Islands' history is a long period of conflict and uncertainty. British Virgin Islands' history have seen many civilizations ranging from the Caribs to the Arawaks and then the British and Spanish. Their history has been shaped, reshaped and then completely changed on many occasions.
The British Virgin Islands' history is as diverse as the islands themselves and their interesting and diverse make up owes a lot to the long and varied history of the islands and their fascinating line of people and cultures.