Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas). Population: 18,914 (2005).
US External Territory (Unincorporated). Gained a measure of self-government in 1954. Although US Virgin Islands residents are US citizens, they cannot vote in presidential elections - one elected delegate represents the islands in the US House of Representatives. The 1954 Organic Act created an elected 15-member Senate for the islands. Since 1970, executive authority has been vested in an elected governor who serves a four-year term.
Head of state:
President Barack Obama since 2009.
Head of government:
Governor John de Jongh since 2006.
120 volts AC, 60Hz.
The result of the US Virgin Islands' history and location is a unique blend of Danish heritage and American modernity combined with a relaxed and friendly attitude typical of the Caribbean. Add to this miles of glistening beaches, first-class diving facilities and verdant tropical vegetation, and there is more than enough to seduce any visitor.
The Danes' legacy is evident in Christiansted, on the largest island, St Croix, whose historic sites include Fort Christiansværn (dating from 1774) and the Old Custom House. St Thomas too retains much of its Danish influence; in the capital, Charlotte Amalie, converted warehouses now house stylish boutiques. Those seeking unspoilt natural beauty should head to St John. With no airport, and two-thirds of the island's deep valleys set aside as a national park, this is an ideal Caribbean retreat.