Danish Colonial Empire

Figure 1.--Columbus discovered the Virgin Islands (1493), located near what would become their Puerto Rican colony. The Europeanbs began figting over the Islands (1620s). The Danish laid claim to the Islands (1666). France eventually acquired the Islands, but the Danish West Indian Company purchased the Virgin Islands (1733). The three islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas) became known as the Danish West Indies. The Virgin Islands archipelago were divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane becane the main crop produced by slave labor. The limited land area and rather arid island did not make the islands major sugsr priducers. The United States purchased the Danish Virgin Islands during World War I (1917). Here is a scene on St. Croix in 1910, just before the United States purchased the Islands.

Denmark is today a small rather pacifust orinted country in northern Europe. It was at one time a major and very war-like country. It was inhabited by the norther Germans and beyond the knowlege of the Romans. During the medieval era, Demark became a major European power with the Viking outburst from Scandanavia (9th century). It suceeded in conquering much of England. The Danelaw at one time extended over almost all of England, except for Wessex in the southwesr. King Harold ended Denmark's efforts to conquer England (1066). During the Viking era, colonies were establshed in he Atlantic Ocean: the Faroese, Iceland, and Greenland and later the Shetland and Orkney Islands (1380-1469). These colonies were important for Danish seapower. Eventually they evolved as important for whaling and fishing. After the NAZI invasion of Denmark (1940), Britain occupied Iceland. The isand declared itself as an independent republic (1944). Greenland continues as an autnomous part of the Danish kingdom. Denmark participated in the European maritime expansion and began building a small, but wide-flung empire (16th century). Ultimately this was an effort that was comprised by losses in the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and Great Norther War (1700-21). They acquired outposts in Asia. Danish West India was in the Karibik (1666-1917). Danish West India was important for Danish and Schleswig-Holstein farmers. They used enslaved Africans to grow sugar cane which was refined in Flensburg and Copenhagen. Danish East India included: Nikobaren--Ny Danmark - New Denmark/Nicobar Islands (1756-1848/1868), Serampore--Frederiksnagore in Bengalen (1755-1845), and Tranquebar Drink bar (1620-1845). Denmar's African outposts were located along what the British called the Gold Chost and is the modern country oif Ghana. Here the Danes established bases and ports that were involved in the slave trade (17th-18th centuries). The Danes also had European colonies: Danish Estonia (1206-1645), and the Bishopric of Courland (1559-85). In the Americas, Denmark established the Caribbean Virgin Islands as the Danish West Indies (1666). They sold the Islands to the United States during World War I (1917).


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Created: 4:17 PM 5/28/2018
Last updated: 4:17 PM 5/28/2018