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1UpTravel - Geography Info and Facts of Countries : . - Virgin Islands


Virgin Islands Geography and Facts

Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates: 18 20 N, 64 50 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area:
total: 352 sq km
land: 349 sq km
water: 3 sq km

Area - comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 188 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season May to November

Terrain: mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little level land

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 474 m

Natural resources: sun, sand, sea, surf

Land use:
arable land: 15%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 26%
forests and woodland: 6%
other: 47% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes

Environment - current issues: lack of natural freshwater resources

Geography - note: important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural, deepwater harbors in the Caribbean


Background:
During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish.

Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish portion, which had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.



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