For What It’s Worth

In 1733, the Danish West India-Guinea Company acquired St. Croix from the French for 750,000 Livres. To comprehend its value today, we need to convert this amount into present-day dollars.

The Livre tournois, serving as the French Pound in medieval France, predates the French Franc introduced in 1795. In 1720, the Livre was valued at 0.31 grams of pure gold. Considering today’s gold price of $1944.28 per troy ounce, this equates to $19.38 for 0.31 grams, making the purchase price around $14.5 million in today’s dollars.

However, a devaluation in 1726 by Louis XV altered the Livre’s value to 4.50516 grams of fine silver. With today’s silver price at $22.39 per ounce, the Livre is now worth only $3.24 in today’s dollars, resulting in a purchase price of $2.43 million.

Comparatively, both $14.5 million and $2.43 million seem economical when viewed against present real estate prices. In 1917, Denmark sold all three islands, including St. Croix, to the US for $25 million, which translates to about $650 million in today’s purchasing power.

The total land area of the territory is 133.73 square miles, with St. Croix covering 84 square miles (roughly 53,760 acres). This amounts to approximately $7,600 per acre, significantly lower than current land valuations.

So, that’s it, for what it’s worth.

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