Protestant Cay

Location: 17°44’58.71″N 64°42’10.02″W

Protestant Cay was previously known as Fort Sofia Frederika and later as Loot’s Kay (Dutch creole for pilot’s cay). It is a small, four acre island, about 150 yards north east from the Christiansted boardwalk. In “St Croix Under Seven Flags”, Florence Lewisohn states that in 1778, a fort named Fort Sophia Frederica was built on the cay and completed the following year. The fort was named for Sophie Frederikke, daughter of Ludvig, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She was married to the brother of King Christian and later was mother to King Frederik VI. The fort had a battery of four cannon matching those of Fort Louise Augusta on the point opposite, at the east end of what is now St Croix Marina, giving crossfire protection to the entrance of Christiansted harbor. Other reports say the fort was constructed in the 1780s and completed in 1788.

Anecdotally, locals believe the island is named for being a cemetery for Protestants in the mid 1600’s, because the French Catholic church who were in possession of St. Croix from 1650-1696, allowed only Catholics to be buried on the mainland of St Croix, and all non-Catholics away from the mainland, on “Protestant Cay”.

An article published in The Daily News gives a wonderful history of the Pilots of the Cay in 2016, and The Source published a very complete article on Fort Louise Augusta in 2021, with references to Protestant Cay and the burial of Protestant Huguenots.

Protestant Cay is home to a resort, “Hotel on the Cay”. The beach is a favorite of visitors and residents alike. It can be reached by ferry which runs every ten minutes from 7 am to 12 am, at a cost of $5.00 per person, round trip, payable on arrival at the cay. The ferry is free for guests of the Hotel, and all others after 4 pm weekdays, 5 pm weekends. To catch the ferry, one waits on the corner of the boardwalk across from the cay dock.

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