4 Surprising Facts About the BVIs!
Since you can’t make it to the islands right now to learn some of this information first hand, we thought we’d share it with you virtually! Here are four surprising facts about the British Virgin Islands, where Cuan Law resides year-round!
Fact #1: Cristopher Columbus named the islands in 1493 after the tale of Saint Ursula.
Ever wonder where or how the British Virgin Islands actually got its name? Her legendary status comes from a medieval story that she was a princess who, at the request of her father King Dionotus of Dumnonia in south-west Britain, set sail along with 11,000 virginal handmaidens to join her future husband, the pagan Governor Conan Meriadoc of Armorica. After a miraculous storm brought them over the sea in a single day to a Gaulish port, Ursula declared that before her marriage she would undertake a pan-European pilgrimage. She headed for Rome with her followers and persuaded the Pope, Cyriacus (unknown in the pontifical records, though from late 384 AD there was a Pope Siricius), and Sulpicius, bishop of Ravenna, to join them. After setting out for Cologne, which was being besieged by Huns, all the virgins were beheaded in a massacre. The Huns’ leader fatally shot Ursula with a bow and arrow in about 383 AD (the date varies). (wiki link)
The islands were called ‘the virgin islands’ for quite some time until the British government coined them with the country’s name in order to distinguish the group of islands from the neighbouring set of islands owned by the United States, known as the US Virgin Islands.
Fact #2: The BVIs have been lived on for thousands of years!
There is evidence on the islands of humans living on it from 1500 BC and had been inhabited by three different tribes, two of which originated in South America and the Lesser Antilles before Christopher Columbus found the islands on his second Spanish expedition voyage to America. Though the Spanish claimed discovery rights of the islands, it was the Dutch to first inhabit the island a hundred years later, only to be overturned by the British 16 years later!
Fact #3: The islands used to grow sugar cane!
The islands were originally used by the British to produce sugar cane and contributed heavily to the slave industry of individuals from Africa. However, a series of hurricanes, the abolition of slavery in Britain, and the increased sugar cane production in larger countries hit the BVI economy hard and dropped production.
Fact #4: You can see two oceans from the SAME island!
Mount Sage is 521 m above sea level and located in Tortola. If you stand on this peak and look one direction, you can watch the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash against the Northern shores of the island. When you look the other direction, you’ll watch the Caribbean Sea roll into the Southern shores of the same island!