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.

To pool all resources, the Danish West India Company was established in 1671 in Copenhagen to reoccupy St. Thomas (see source). The job of the Danish West India Company was to handle sailing, colonization, and trade on St. Thomas. From 1674, the company also took over the Danish establishments on the Gold Coast of Africa, and the name was changed to the Danish West India-Guinea Company.

The role of the Danish West India and Guinea Company

The Company managed the colonies in the West Indies and West Africa on behalf of the Danish King. Officials, soldiers, tradesmen, and plantation owners were sent out from Europe. Many slaves were transported from Africa to do the hardest work in the colonies.

A map from an old Dutch sea atlas.
St. Thomas is 31 square miles in size and quite mountainous, as shown on this map from an old Dutch sea atlas. Part of the map is a special map of the harbor in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas (top) Coral Bay on St. John (below) and views of various islands in the area (The Danish National Archives).