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The Virgin Islands

Christopher Columbus discovered the islands on his second voyage to the New World, landing on St. Croix in 1493. Denmark purchased the islands in 1733, bringing St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas under Danish rule. The United States purchased St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas in 1917 for $25 million in gold.

The islands are located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. They are made up of some 50 islands and cays (pronounced "keys"), the largest of which are St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. St. Croix's Point Udall is the easternmost point in the United States. Two-thirds of St. John is a United States National Park. The popular Charlotte Amalie is the capital of St. Thomas.

Water Island, the "Fourth Virgin Island," is the newest addition to the U.S. Virgin Islands. This tiny Caribbean jewel is home to a gorgeous white-sand shore called Honeymoon Beach.

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