St Thomas Jost Van Dyke St John Tortola Virgin Gorda Anegada St Croix

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  Introduction to the Virgin Islands:

The VI sit on the Puerto Rico Bank some 90 miles east of Puerto Rico and southeast of the tip of Florida. They are the most northerly isles in the Leeward Islands chain (in the lee of the prevailing wind which blows from south to north). They form part of the Lesser Antilles which is a long arc of smaller land masses on the eastern and southern margins of the Caribbean Sea stretching as far south as Trinidad. Mostly volcanic, the Lesser Antilles have been pushed up between two oceanic plates below the earth's surface where the Caribbean plate is rising up above the North American plate.

The island group was named by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage in 1493. The name Columbus gave them "Las Once Mil Virgenes" means the isles of 11,000 virgins and is a reference to St Ursula and her maidens who sacrificed their lives in Cologne. The islands are split into two groups, the United States VI (USVI) and the British VI (BVI) and together they encompass over 65 isles and cays of various sizes.

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United States Virgin Islands (USVI):

US Virgin Islands consist of three larger islands, St Thomas, St Croix and St John as well as over 25 smaller isles and cays. Of the three larger islands, all are volcanic except for St Croix which is a flat coral structure. St Thomas is the main island with the largest population and Charlotte Amalie is the capital of the USVI. Charlotte Amalie (named after a Danish Queen) is one of the main cruise ports in the Caribbean and the largest town in the VI.   

The British Virgin Islands (BVI):

British Virgin Islands consist of four larger islands, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke as well as over 40 smaller isles and cays. Of the four larger ones, all are volcanic except for Anegada which is a flat coral structure. Tortola is the main island with the largest population with Road Town which is the capital of the BVI. Within the BVI are three private island resorts including the world famous Necker Island and the lesser known Peter Island Resort and Guana. Road Town in Tortola is the main cruise port and the BVI is also an established Mecca for sailing with one of the largest fleets of bareboats and crewed yachts in the world. The very beautiful Virgin Gorda was named the "fat virgin" by Columbus due to it's shape on the horizon and is today world famous for it's lovely beaches including the The Baths which are not to be missed if you are visiting the BVI.

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