St. John is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands
. It is the smallest of the three, at about
20 square miles.
Archeological evidence shows that humans lived on the island as early as 700 BC.
Some of the pre-European settlers left petroglyphs next to the only fresh-water
spring on the island.
Danes took formal possession in 1694 and established cane and sugar
using slave labor. There was a large revolt and massacre in 1733.
St. John is very rough and mountainous, formed mostly out of volcanic basalt.
It is the least-developed of the three islands as well -- the
Virgin Islands National Park covers 2/3 of the island and about that
much of its beaches. Because of this, St. John is very laid back and
unspoiled. The land for the park
was purchsed by Laurence Rockefeller and then donated to the United States federal
government in the 50s. The park opened in 1956.
St. John has one town, Cruz Bay, and another small community, Coral Bay. There is no
airport, but a ferry from St. Thomas docks hourly at Cruz Bay. Some of the best
snorkeling and hiking in the region can be found on St. John.