When Did the Virgin Islands Become a Territory of the United States and Why?

The U.S. Virgin Islands, not to be confused with the British Virgin Islands, are a territory of the United States.

They lie about 40 miles (64 km) east of Puerto Rico.

The U.S. government purchased this group of 50 islands and cays from Denmark in 1917.

The reason? During World War I, the U.S. government wanted to be able to control this strategic spot in the Caribbean.

Other U.S. territories include the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Midway Islands, and several other Pacific Ocean islands, most of which were important to the U.S. military in World War II.

People living in U.S. territories are U.S. citizens, and each territory may have one non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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