Transfer Day 2023: With the purchase of the U.S., the United States made its final territorial acquisition a century ago. Caribbean Islands. The Virgin Islands are comprised of three major islands — Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas — and fifty smaller cays and islands. They are situated at the southernmost tip of the Caribbean. The day is commemorated with great vigour throughout the Virgin Islands. State institutions host parades, and the American flag is raised during the evening ceremony.
HISTORY OF TRANSFER DAY
Midway through the 1860s, the American military leadership began to consider the Virgin Islands. In 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward proposed the idea of the acquisition. The Danish government ratified the transaction for an agreed-upon price of $7.5 million. The following year, however, the islands witnessed a terrible catastrophe. At home, the impending indictment of President Andrew Johnson further disrupted the proceedings, and the plan was ultimately abandoned. Decades passed, but the idea of a Caribbean naval base persisted among the United States’ senior diplomats.
In 1900, Secretary of State John Hay initiated the second round of negotiations, which resulted in a $5 million sale agreement. However, this time the Danes exacted their vengeance by destroying the Panama Canals agreement.
Throughout the preponderance of the early 20th century, relations between the two holdings remained sour. Fear of European expansion in the Caribbean compelled American diplomats to initiate a new round of negotiations. The United States offered $25 million in gold coinage in March 1916 in exchange for the immediate abandonment of the Virgin Islands. The agreement was finalised in the same year, and the United States ratified the treaty. Senate proceedings on September 7, 1916.
Although the transfer was approved in order to establish a U.S. military base in the Caribbean, the island proved to be a profitable investment due to the region’s booming tourism industry. Today, Virgin Islanders are American citizens with a seat in Congress and numerous protections under the Constitution. The 31st of March is a holiday commemorating the peaceful cessation of the islands and the strategic expansion of the American empire.
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HOW TO RECOGNIZE TRANSFER DAY
Recreating the ceremony
It would be accurate to say that the Transfer Day ceremony had a touch of drama. From the lowering of the Dannebrog (the Danish flag) to the increase in generals as the Star-Spangled Banner permeated the air. On March 31, perform your own routine.
Learn about the past
Humans have inhabited the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1000 B.C. From the native inhabitants to the Danish occupation, the history of the islands is extensive and varied. In addition, the islands have witnessed vast ethnic cleansing, displacement, and slavery, among other atrocities. On Transfer Day, receive a refresher course in the United States’ Caribbean territory.
Eat Red Soil
The traditional Danish dessert Red Grout is prepared with guavas and tapioca. It is a delicacy in America. Virgin Islands and is served annually on Transfer Day to residents. The dish is simple to prepare and is best served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
5 LESSER KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE U.S VIRGIN ISLANDS
A struggle for liberty
In 1733, a century before the United States abolished slavery, islanders launched a failed slave rebellion.
The bioluminescent nocturnal existence
Pockets of the Virgin Islands are illuminated at night by dinoflagellates, which are colonies of microscopic plankton.
The gathering of pirates
Pirates continue to use the Virgin Islands as a safe haven, a practise that began in the 17th century when Governor Adolph Esmit allowed them to access the area for lucrative trade opportunities.
Christopher Columbus came up with the term.
In 1493, Colombus visited the islands and named them “The Virgins” in honour of Saint Ursula and her 10,000 virgins.
Residence of Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton, one of the United States’ Founding Fathers, spent a significant portion of his childhood working as a clerk and experimenting with his writing on the streets of St. Croix.
WHY TRANSFER DAY IS IMPORTANT
It honours the multiplicity
The Caribbean islands are home to a diverse population of Native, African-American, and Latino Americans. Transfer Day highlights the substantial contributions of these societies to the American fabric.
It enhances the tourism sector
Tourism is the economic backbone of the Virgin Islands. Over fifty percent of Virgin Islanders are employed in the tourism and hospitality industries. Transfer Day teaches us about the islands’ hidden grandeur.
It recognises the strategic victory
Years of strategic negotiations and good-faith politics made possible the bloodless, conflict-free transfer. The acquisition precluded the establishment of a German stronghold along the Caribbean coast at the onset of World War I.
TRANSFER DAY DATES