Secretary Zinke to Make Official Visit to U.S. Virgin Islands Marking 100th Anniversary of Islands’ Transfer to the United States

Will Join Danish Prime Minister at Centennial Celebrations on St. Croix and St. Thomas

3/30/2017

Date: March 30, 2017
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will make an official visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) on March 30 – 31 for the centennial celebrations marking the day the islands were formally transferred from Denmark to the United States in 1917.

The Secretary will join Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and other dignitaries and meet with USVI Gov. Kenneth Mapp, speak at official March 31 ceremonies on St. Croix and St. Thomas, and participate in various centennial activities. Congresswoman Amata Coleman Radewagen, American Samoa’s Delegate to the U.S. Congress, will also attend the commemoration. Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior Nikolau Pula will also attend.

The Department of the Interior, through the Office of Insular Areas, is responsible for coordinating federal policy with the U.S. Virgin Islands, the territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Office of Insular Affairs’ mission is to foster economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the insular areas. In addition, the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service manages a number of public lands in the USVI, including Buck Island Reef National Monument; Christiansted National Historic Site; Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve; Virgin Islands National Park; and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument.

Situated in the Eastern Caribbean, the USVI consists of the main islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. The islands cover about 136 square miles of land, with 604 square miles of sea and 117 miles of coastline. The population of the USVI is about 105,000. The capital, Charlotte Amalie, is on St. Thomas. To the east is St. John, which hosts Virgin Islands National Park. St. Croix and its historic towns, Christiansted and Frederiksted, are to the south.