This island´s history stretches back more than three centuries to its settlement by Danish planters from St. Thomas who named the island St. Jan. Among its most notable legacy are the ruins of sugar plantations – the only ones left of the more than 100 which existed on the island in the 18th century – and part of the US Virgin Islands National Park which covers more than half of St. John. The best known is the Annaberg Sugar Plantation (pictured here) on the north coast, a 20-minute drive from Cruz Bay; here in addition to various ruins of the plantation house and outbuildings you´ll find exhibits explaining the sugar production process as well as the lives and times of both planters and the slaves who greatly outnumbered them. Also on the north coast near the eponymous bay, at Cinnamon Bay Plantation you can see the former plantation house as well as servants quarters, various buildings devoted to a sugarcane storage and processing, and a pair of small cemeteries. A another which is closer to Cruz Bay is Catherineburg, just ten minutes away.  Near Coral Bay, meanwhile, similar ruins can be found at Estate Carolina (which was the first to be established, in 1718),  and the Josie Gut Sugar Estate (established more than a century later, in 1820).

Other historic sights include petroglyphs left by the pre-Columbian Taíno people and Cruz Bay historic district is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, with some 20 points of interest  dating back to 1720, such as the mid-18th-century Enighed Great House (now home to the town library and cultural center), the Emmaus Moravian Church (1750-1782), and the ruins of the Danish Fortsberg fort (1760).

Read more in my post St. John, the USA's Dreamiest Caribbean Paradise.. 




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