The Seven Flags over St Croix

In 1970, Florence Lewisohn penned the definitive history of St. Croix titled “St. Croix Under Seven Flags,” highlighting the island’s rich past under the rule of seven different entities. It’s worth noting that this significant work has never been reprinted, a fact that many consider a societal injustice.

Fast forward to 2018, when Stan Joines released “The Eighth Flag,” a captivating book delving into themes of cannibals, conquistadors, and buccaneers. The eighth flag symbolizes the Jolly Roger, the iconic skull and crossbones flag associated with pirates, now commonly used to denote toxic or dangerous content.

For a deeper exploration of the seven ruling entities, Lewisohn’s other work, “Divers Information on The Romantic History of St. Croix,” provides varying levels of detail on this fascinating subject. It’s worth mentioning that this book is now in the Public Domain.

The seven entities that have held dominion over St. Croix, as documented by Lewisohn, are as follows in chronological order: Spain, England, Holland, France, Knights of Malta, Denmark, and the USA. Lewisohn meticulously chronicles each “occupation” period along with the corresponding dates in her research.

Lewisohn documents the following “occupation” entities and dates:

  • 1493    Spain, following Columbus’ second voyage.
  • 1587    England, by way of envoy John White then later, a small settlement in the West End south shore where they started growing sugarcane around 1625.
  • 1625    Holland, with a small settlement near Basin (Christiansted), By 1642 they had expanded their settlement along with French Huguenots and called it “Nieuw Zeeland”. England still maintained their settlement in the south-west.
  • 1646    England holds on to the island after driving out the Dutch and French
  • 1650    Spain – when 1200 Spaniards from Puerto Rico drive out the English, then leave.
  • 1650    France – Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy takes possession in the name of the French Crown, then in 1651 he buys St Croix from the French King.
  • 1653    Knights of St John of Malta  – De Poincy grants all of his possessions to the St John order of the Knights of Malta. In 1657, De Poincy sends supplies to St Croix with Chevalier de la Mothe, but some 200 French inhabitants kidnapped De Mothe, stole his boat and sailed off to Brazil.
  • 1665    The French West India Company buys St Croix from the Knights of Malta, but the company goes broke.
  • 1674    France pays off the company debt and assumes ownership of the island.
  • 1695    France relocates all inhabitants to Santo Domingo and the island is abandoned.
  • 1733    Danish West India and Guinea Company buys St Croix from the French for 750,000 livres, the first recorded time that a territory was acquired by purchase.
  • 1755    Denmark takes over the island as a Crown Colony.
  • 1917    United States of America purchases the Danish owned islands from Denmark for $25M

Just for interestWikipedia: Not mentioned by Lewisohn; there were two invasions of the territory by the British in the early 1800’s. The first invasion and occupation of the Danish West Indies occurred during the French Revolutionary Wars, when at the end of March 1801 a British fleet arrived at St Thomas. The Danes accepted the Articles of Capitulation the British proposed and the British occupied the islands without a shot being fired. The British occupation lasted until April 1802, when the British returned the islands to Denmark.

The second British invasion of the Danish West Indies took place during the Napoleonic Wars in December 1807 when a British fleet captured St Thomas on 22 December and Saint Croix on 25 December. The Danes did not resist, and the invasion was bloodless. This British occupation of the Danish West Indies lasted until 20 November 1815, when Britain returned the islands to Denmark.

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