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[photo] Charlotte Amalia Historic District
Courtesy of U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Tourism

Charlotte Amalia, the first permanent European settlement on St. Thomas Island, was established in 1672 after the arrival of the Danish West India and Guinea Company. Platted in 1681, the town was named in honor of Denmark's Queen. An accidental misspelling on a map changed the name of the town to Charlotte Amalie after the U.S. acquisition of the islands. During the 17th century, the settlement and harbor were known as safe havens for pirates and other infamous men the likes of Jean Hamlin, Bartholomew Sharp, "Tempest" Roberts and Captain Kidd. During the early 19th-century Napoleonic Wars, the British occupied the island, and, later, during the American Civil War, Confederate blockade runners briefly used Charlotte Amalie as a base. Today, Charlotte Amalie Historic District includes buildings and sites that represent the town's history; notable district features include Fort Christian, Emancipation Garden (which commemorates the July 3, 1848, emancipation of slaves), and Skytsborg, or "Blackbeard's Castle," a five story conical tower the Danes built in 1678 to serve as a watchtower overlooking the harbor.

The Charlotte Amalia Historic District is bounded by Nytvaer, Berg and Government Hills, Bjerge Gade, and the St. Thomas Harbor in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas Island, U.S. Virgin Islands. Emancipation Garden is open 24 hours daily but visits during daylight are recommended. Call 340-774-8784 for more information. The Visitors' Bureau is just across the street from the garden, where visitors can pick up brochures, maps, and tourist publications. Call 340-777-8827 for further tourism information.


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