St. John History and Location

St. John - An Island with a Deep History

St. John has a deep and rich history that stretches back to the year 300, when the Arawak people migrated to the island from Colombia and Venezuela. The Arawak remained on the island for roughly 1000 years before being driven off by the more aggressive Carib peoples.

Ancient History and Colonization

There is evidence from archeological digs that suggest the first inhabitants of St. John came around 770 BC. More recently there is evidence that points to a migration of the Arawak people from Colombia and Venezuela around 300 AD. Some evidence of their almost 1000 years on the island, before being displaced by the Carib people, can still be found. Extensive archeological work has been undertaken at Cinnamon Bay that may yield further information about pre-Columbian life on the island.


Despite British claim to the island, the Danish government claimed possession of St. John in 1684. While there were never extensive, formal hostilities, the two governments squabbled over possession until 1762, when the British relinquished their claims to the Danes. After formal possession, the Danes quickly expanded their footprint across a multitude of plantations for sugar and cotton.

Agricultural Production

The natural environment on St. John is not well suited for large scale production of sugar cane or cotton. As such, after clearing trees for plantations, the soil was found to be thin and lacking nutrients. Ash and other supplements were required to ensure crop production. St. John also lacked a sufficient labor base to handle the scale of the production initiated by the Danes. Slaves from Africa, and indentured servants, were imported en masse.

1733 Rebellion

One of the most significant events in St. John’s history is the slave revolt of 1733. Poor treatment, harsh living conditions, fear of famine and other factors led to desperation and, ultimately, an armed revolt by the slaves. After a small group of slaves overtook the garrison by surprise, they fired a cannon to alert others across the island that the revolt was underway. Over a six month period, more than a quarter of the approximately 1200 inhabitants were killed. Only after support from Spanish and French soldiers arrived from neighboring islands was the revolt suppressed and order restored.

Abolishment of Slavery

The Danish government enacted a 12 year plan to abolish slavery in the 1840s. However, upon hearing the plan, the St. John slaves stated they were not interested in waiting and, after a massive revolt on the island of St. Croix, the Danish governor immediately abolished slavery on the island. Unfortunately, similar to the history of St. Croix, the economy of St. John quickly crumbled as plantations fell into disarray and competition from Puerto Rico left the sugarcane industry profitless. By the early 1900s the inhabitants of St. John were essentially surviving on subsistence farming.

United State Purchase

The United States purchase St. John in 1917 from the Danish government as a part of other purchases made for military strategy purposes.

Bajo el Sol Gallery Learn More

528 18-3 Mongoose Junction
Cruz Bay
St. John, 00830

340-693-7070

Contemporary caribbean art gallery featuring local artists. Paintings, books, sculptures, photography, film screenings, and vintage art on St. John.
Carolina Corral Learn More

16133 Spring Garden
Coral Bay
St. John, 00830

340-693-5778

Welcome to Carolina Corral, the place to come for scenic horseback trail rides on the beautiful U.S. Virgin Island of St. John. Meet our personable and colorful horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats and a duck. Yes, one duck, she likes it that way.

This is a labor of love on a...
Drink St. John Learn More

1 Bay Street
St. John
St. John, 00802

  • Mon: 2:00pm-10:00PM
  • Tues: 2:00pm-10:00PM
  • Weds: 2:00pm-10:00PM
  • Thurs: 2:00pm-10:00PM
  • Fri: 2:00pm-10:00PM
  • Sat: 2:00pm-10:00PM
  • Sun: 2:00pm-10:00PM
Laid back vibe. Delicious cocktails. Ocean view.
The bar you don't want to leave.
That's what each day is about here at Drink, in Cruz Bay, St John, Virgin Islands. Whether you crave one of our specialty Bushwhackers or our latest incarnation of the Spicy Margarita, Drink is the...
Island Fancy Learn More

518 Mongoose Junction, Cruz Bay, St John 00830, U.S. Virgin Islands
St John
St. John, 00830

(340) 776-6940

  • Mon: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
  • Tues: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
  • Weds: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
  • Thurs: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
  • Fri: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
  • Sat: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
  • Sun: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
With a unique and storied history, Mongoose Junction is the premiere shopping and dining destination in the Virgin Islands. The magnificent stone and mahogany shopping center was designed and built by local architect Glen Speer and his crew of fine craftsmen and native stonemasons. The design, inspi...
L & L Jeep Rental Learn More


Cruz Bay
St. John, 00831

340-774-4889

L & L Jeep Rental, Inc. welcomes you to the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands. We hope you have an awesome stay here on our beautiful islands. We have offices in both St. John and St. Thomas to serve you better! For your convenience, we recommend renting a vehicle during your visit to our mountainous li...
The Lime Inn Learn More

PO Box 462
Cruz Bay
St. John, 00830

340-776-6425

  • Mon: 11:30-3pm​​ and
    5:30-9:30pm and
    HH: 11:30-5:30PM
  • Tues: 11:30-3pm​​ and
    5:30-9:30pm and
    HH: 11:30-5:30PM
  • Weds: 11:30-3pm​​ and
    5:30-9:30pm and
    HH: 11:30-5:30PM
  • Thurs: 11:30-3pm​​ and
    5:30-9:30pm and
    HH: 11:30-5:30PM
  • Fri: 11:30-3pm​​ and
    5:30-9:30pm and
    HH: 11:30-5:30PM
  • Sat: 11:30-3pm​​ and
    5:30-9:30pm and
    HH: 11:30-5:30PM
Lime Inn has been serving up the freshest seafood, homemade delicious recipes, and fantastic cocktails for 32 years! We invite you to come hang with us as the next generation, daughter Chelsea, and her husband Richard, continue the legacy of a fun and delicious dining experience.

Our classi...
Low Key Watersports Learn More

P.O. Box 716
Cruz Bay
St. John, 00831

800-835-7718

Join us on our daily scuba diving or snorkeling tours and discover why St. John is more fun UNDER the water.

Low Key Watersports is a PADI five-star IDC facility. Not scuba certified or looking to advance your dive certification? We can teach you in no time! We offer a full range of diving...
Pilates Worx Learn More

LUMBER YARD COMPLEX
Cruz Bay,
St. John, 00830

  • Mon: 8-7
  • Tues: 8-7
  • Weds: 8-7
  • Thurs: 8-7
  • Fri: 8-1
  • Sat: 9-1
  • Sun: closed
Melissa Luterek was voted Best Pilates Instructor by the L.A. Daily News. That same year Melissa opened her first Pilates studio in Los Angeles,CA. She is appearing to be a star of the increasingly popular Joseph H. Pilates Method of Body Conditioning.

A Pilates instructor for 17 years, Mel...
Sail The Dream Goddess Athena Learn More

9503 Frank Bay, Cruz Bay, St. John
St. John
St. John, 00830

(340) 277-3532

Set sail with us today aboard Goddess Athena and experience our gorgeous islands and beautiful outlying rocks and cays first hand. Join us on a voyage to those magical places accessible only by sea.

Each and every destination we'll share with you well be carefully selected to assure the sa...
St. John Yacht Charters Learn More

5000 ESTATE ENIGHED #390,
ESTATE ENIGHED
St. John, 00830

(340) 998-9898

ST. JOHN YACHT CHARTERS OFFERS PERSONALIZED, MEMORABLE SAILING TRIPS WITH AN UNMATCHED LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE.
ENJOY A TRIP TO THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS INCLUDING A STOP AT JOST VAN DYKE'S INFAMOUS SOGGY DOLLAR BAR OR SYDNEY'S PEACE AND LOVE. WE ALSO OFFER BREATHTAKING SUNSET SAILS AND ...
Wayward Sails Learn More

PO Box 37
St. John
St. John, 00831

(340) 473-9705

All inclusive full day and half day sails, sunset sails, and adventures on St. John, the Soggy Dollar Bar or White Bay. Customized private charters available for groups, honeymoons, newlyweds, and kids.

We offer guided snorkeling and snorkel lessons for all levels: beginner snorkelers to a...

American Paradise Real Estate

PO Box 8313
Cruz Bay
St. John, 00831

Claim Your Listing

Angry Nate's Boathouse and Seafood Emporium

1 King Cross St
Christiansted
St.Croix, 00820

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Antilles Resorts

PO Box 24786
Christiansted
St. Croix, 00820

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