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St Croix

ST CROIX or SANTA CRUZ, the largest island in the Danish West Indies. It lies 65 m. S.E. of Puerto Rico, in 17 40' N. and 64 14' W., is 22 m. long, varies in breadth from i m. to 6 m., and has an area of 84 sq. m. Pop. (1901) 18,590. Parallel with the western coast is a range of hills, culminating in Mount Eagle (1164 ft.). The narrower western part is also hilly, but on the S. shore there are marshy tracts with lagoons of brackish water. Sugar is the staple product, and near Christianstad there is a central factory conducted by the government. The planters are mostly English, and their language predominates. The capital, Christianstad (locally known as " Bassin "), is situated at the head of an inlet on the N. coast, but its harbour is to a large extent choked with mud. It is a picturesque town, and the seat of the Danish governor during half the year. The only other town, Frederickstad, stands on an open roadstead on the coast. It is locally known as " West End," and part of the town, wrecked by the blacks in 1878, lies in ruins. The climate is healthy, the mean annual temperature being 74 F. and the average rainfall 45-7 in. per annum.

St Croix was discovered in 1493 by Columbus, and was owned in turn by the Dutch, British and Spanish. In 1651 it was taken by France, and two years later was given to the Knights of Malta by Louis XIV. In 1733 it was purchased by Denmark. Slavery was abolished in 1848 after a violent insurrection which had broken out among the slaves.

See Sir H. H. Johnston, The Negro in the New World (1910).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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