The US Virgin Islands: St John
St. John - An Oasis of Calm in a Busy World
About 50 miles east of Puerto Rico lies St. John, the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a mere nine miles long and five miles wide. The indigenous Arawak lived there for over 1000 years, and ever since Christopher Columbus discovered the little island in 1493, it has been a multicultural crossroads for European and American influences. After World War II its natural beauty was threatened by growing commercialization, but we have billionaire Laurence Rockefeller to thank for preserving its original charm. In 1956, he purchased most of it and then granted it to the United States – under one condition: It must be preserved as a national park.