Today marks the 99th anniversary of the transfer of the Danish West Indies to the United States of America.
Fearing Germany’s advances on Denmark and its possessions, as well as protecting their route to the future Panama Canal, the United States purchased the Danish West Indies.
They paid $25,000,000.
At the time, the islands were in the most desperate economic situation.
The effects of World War I on the maritime trade, coupled with a severe hurricane five months prior, had disastrous effects.
On March 31st, during a somber transfer ceremony, the Danish flag was lowered and the American flag hoisted in its stead.
That moment, captured on film in this rare photograph, opened a new era in the history of the islands.
The Reading of the Proclamation
There was an impressive silence among the crowd as Acting Governor, Henri Konow read aloud the proclamation.
In attendance were our great-grandparents.
They were 33 years of age, raising four young children.
No one knew how their lives would change after this day.
Some wept openly, while others rejoiced.
As the transfer ceremony closed, His Excellency called for cheers for the King, while the Valkyrien’s band played “King Christian”, the Royal Danish anthem.
This was the last time the anthem represented the Virgin Islands.
Copyright © 2016 Valerie Sims. All Rights Reserved.