1. 1650
  2. 2000
  • 1650
  • 1700
  • 1750
  • 1800
  • 1850
  • 1900
  • 1950
  • 2000
  1. 1671 - 1672

    The Danish West India Company is established

    After several expeditions to the Caribbean, the Danes had occupied the island of St. Thomas in 1666. It had one of the best harbors of the West Indies. However, the occupation had to be abandoned.

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  2. 1718

    The occupation of St. John

    After almost 50 years on St. Thomas, the Danish West India Company wanted to colonize yet another island of the West Indies. The natural choice was St. John, close to St. Thomas.

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  3. 1733

    The Danes buy the third island of the West Indies – St. Croix

    In 1733, the Danish West India Company bought the almost uninhabited island of St. Croix from France. It is located close to St. John and St. Thomas and is slightly larger than the two islands.

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  4. 1733

    The slaves rebel on St. John

    The enslaved of the islands lived under very harsh conditions. Rules from 1733 stipulated that enslaved who committed grand larceny were to be pinched three times with red-hot tongs and hanged.

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  5. 1754 - 1755

    The dissolution of the Danish West India and Guinea Company

    For many years, the Danish West India and Guinea Company monopolized trade and shipping in the Danish West Indies. The plantation owners were not happy with this. They wanted liberalization.

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  6. 1792

    Danish decision to abolish transatlantic slavetrade

    With the Enlightenment, new thinking about human rights and better conditions for the individual citizen emerged. There were discussions about whether to abolish the inhuman transport of slaves.

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  7. 1801 - 1815

    The English occupy the islands

    There were political problems in Europe, and Denmark was on a collision course with Great Britain. In March 1801 the British occupied the Danish West Indies.

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  8. 1848

    The slave rebellion on St. Croix and Emancipation

    The transatlantic slave trade was abolished from 1803. But slavery in the West Indies continued. However, many called for abolition, and in 1833 the enslaved were freed in the British West Indies.

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  9. 1866 - 1867

    Negotiations with the U.S. on sale fail

    The formerly very lucrative activities in the West Indies became a losing proposition from the middle of the 1800s. Several parties began suggesting selling the colony.

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  10. 1877 - 1880

    Another rebellion on St. Croix

    The enslaved laborers in the Danish West Indies were emancipated in 1848. But they were not given much better conditions as free men – not when it came to housing, health, education, or economy.

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  11. 1900 - 1902

    New sale negotiations with the US

    After the abortive sale negotiations in 1867, Denmark came very close again in 1902 to selling St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. In January 1900, the U.S. approached Denmark with a proposal.

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  12. 1911 - 1912

    Last census in the Danish possessions in the West Indies

    From the very beginning, the Danish authorities kept the population in the colony well accounted for. The last census in the islands under Danish flag was conducted on February 1, 1911.

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  13. 1916 - 1917

    The islands are sold to the U.S.

    After futile negotiations on selling the islands to the U.S., the Danes launched a range of reforms. But they were fairly half-hearted and insufficient to relieve the social distress.

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  14. 1997

    The documents from the West Indian colony become world cultural heritage

    The records from the Danish West Indies are of a unique quality. Thus, in 1997 it was included on the UNESCO list of the written world cultural heritage, The Memory of the World Register.

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  15. 1999

    International co-operation to maintain the historical heritage

    Through the years, researchers have used the Danish documents from the Danish West Indies. But for many years the archives – approx. 800 linear meters – were poorly registered and in bad shape.

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