The Archeology Program at Virgin Islands National Park is working to illuminate the complex relationships between indingenous Caribbean cultures, European colonial powers, and Africans brought to these small islands.
Timeline of Human Habitation on St. John
1000 BC to 200 BC The first humans arrive in the Virgin Islands
200 BC to AD 600 The first village settlers on the islands.
AD 600 to 1200 Rapid population growth and village expansion across the landscape
AD 1200 to 1492 Development of the complex Taino Culture
AD1450 to 1550 Contact Period first between Taino and Carib followed by Spanish and the demise of pre-Columbian culture
AD 1580 to 1700 European expansion into the Caribbean and the age of Piracy and Privateers from park owned lands
AD 1665 to 1733 Early European settlement of St. Thomas/Hassel Island and St. John
AD 1733 to 1840s Expansion of sugar, cotton, slavery and maritime commerce
AD 1801 to 1815 The Napoleonic War and British occupation
AD 1839 to 1848 Underground railway period marked by guardhouses and escape routes
AD 1840s to 1917 Emancipation, the end of the sugar and cotton industry and the introduction of bay rum, cattle, and charcoal production and a new era of maritime commercial expansion.
AD 1917-1931 American “Naval Regime”, Naval Base established on Hassel Island.
AD 1940s World War II military installations on Hassel Island
AD 1920s to 1950s Visitors from the United States begin to discover and move to the Virgin Islands. Tourism becomes the island’s major source of commerce and industry.
AD 1950s to present Establishment of Virgin Islands National Park on St. John and Hassell Island. Virgin Islands National Coral Reef National Monument established in 2001.
Did You Know?
This unusual-looking tree found in dry forest areas has a reddish, peeling bark. The leaves and sap smell like turpentine and have many medicinal properties, but it is the peeling bark that gives the tree its nickname – "Tourist Tree".