TRANSFER DAY: One Hundred Years Ago Today
The 31st of March is recognized every year as “Transfer Day” in the United States Virgin Islands. This day commemorates an event that occurred one hundred years ago, when the Danish West Indies were formally ceded to the United States by Denmark; thus, becoming the U.S. Virgin Islands, in exchange for twenty-five million dollars. The United States’ interest in the Virgin Islands was primarily for their strategic location, while any economic benefits were secondary. The islands represented a much needed foothold in the Caribbean for the American navy, and later were looked toward as a base to guard the Panama Canal. American negotiations with the Danish government can be characterized as ones of strategic diplomacy. All offers of proposed purchase came on the heels of American military conflicts.