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St. Thomas was once home, hundreds of years ago, to several native tribes, including the Arawaks. In 1493 Christopher Columbus is known to have come across St. Thomas on his second voyage to the New World. Conflicts with the Europeans and foreign diseases quickly decimated native populations, which were almost insignificant by the 1600's.
The island changed hands among the Spanish, Dutch, and British several times in its early history. It, and other surrounding islands, served as sugar producers largely populated by African slaves. Eventually St. Thomas would become a part of the Danish West Indies, under the control of Denmark's king.
In 1917 the United States negotiated a deal with the Danish government to purchase the islands, including St. Thomas, for $25 million dollars. As a U.S. Territory, residents of St. Thomas have been American citizens since 1927; they have no direct representation in Congress nor do they vote in the U.S. Presidential elections.
Today St. Thomas is one of the Caribbean's most popular destinations for tourists. Red Hook on the East End of St Thomas is a quaint town with of shops and nearby resorts such as Ritz Carlton.