Mountainous and sparsely covered in forest. St. Thomas Harbor is a well-sheltered deep water harbor, peeking out between St. Thomas proper and the smaller, uninhabited Hassel Island. The island is semi-arid and the vegetation is sparse besides trees.
was settled by the Dutch in
1657 and soon became home to several bands of English pirates. The
island's population is mainly Danish (with Dutch and Portuguese Jews
.living there as well) and in 1672 the Danish India Company purchased
the island. In 1674 the King of Denmark purchased the island and
named the Port Charlotte Amalie, after his wife.
Because the Danish Navy did not operate as far south as the Caribbean (and was embroiled in a bitter war against the Swedes), the King empowered the Governor of the Danish West Indies (who resided in Charlotte Amalie) to issue Letters of Marque at his discretion.
The island became a haven for pirates to rival Tortuga and is home to a black market nearly as large as Curaçao.
St. Thomas is the only whole colony in the Caribbean not controlled by the French, English, Dutch, or Spanish. It was the extent of the Danish colonial empire at the time of its founding. The nearest other port that is not controlled by the 'big four (France, Spain, Britain, or the Netherlands) is the Portuguese colony at Buenos Aires, in Brazil.