March 31 -- $25 million buys the USVI

March 31, 1917…

Before this date, what is NOW called the US Virgin Islands was known as the Danish West Indies. The cost of the purchase was 25 million dollars, which I REALLY hope you might have gathered from the title of this post.

“but Phlip, what in the blue hell does this have to do with black history?” you ask?

If you know anything about the West Indies, you know that is where the slaves were transported to (or through) when the US was making attempts to deter slave owners from importing them (link from my own archive, that). With that in mind, a great many of the black folks settled on the French (Haiti), Dutch (what we’re talking about now, among others) and mostly Spanish-controlled Caribbean nations. With that said, the white folks went to where they could own slaves or back home and the black folks became the majorities.

With that in mind, the US Virgin Islands being a US Territory inhabited by brown people, this becomes a black history fact.

Now, I look at the deal in and of itself and think “damn, some baseball players make more a year than it cost the US to buy their stake in the Virgin Islands?” and then I go have a drink or something like that. No, but seriously, it is amazing to look back on these purchase prices and think of just how cheaply whole COUNTRIES were bought as recently as within the past 85-90 years.
Crazy indeed.


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