Virginia, a Base for Caribbean Privateers

By Jeff McCord Virginia, a Base for Caribbean Privateers A hundred years before Blackbeard and Captain Kidd sailed Virgin Island waters in the early 1700s, the first Queen Elizabeth backed privateers whose Caribbean successes made later pirates look like petty thieves.   With accumulated loot from Spanish ports and ships estimated to total more than 120 […]

Citizens and Governments Working Together to Save Caribbean Reefs

By Jeff McCord   Citizens and Governments Working Together to Save Caribbean Reefs   For years we have been “loving to death” a marvelous life form. The good news is that we are learning the errors of our ways in time to make a difference. Coral reefs are constructed by clusters of simple marine animals […]

Revisiting the Hamilton the West Indian (not the Musical)

Revisiting Hamilton the West Indian (not the Musical) By Jeff McCord Clearly, the multi-cultural Caribbean shaped the views and life course of America’s “West Indian founding father.”   Alexander Hamilton’s youthful experiences with Afro-Europeans and varying religious beliefs and laws in a sea of islands controlled by competing nations informed his career. Then, as now, he […]

Dog (and Cat) Days in the Virgin Islands

Dog (and Cat) Days in the Virgin Islands by Jeff McCord “She’s a West Indian sled dog,” I would explain to bewildered island children. “You know, the kind of dog that pulls sleds in the snow and lives with Eskimos.” These were kids who had never seen snow, however. My white Siberian husky, whom I […]

“America’s Paradise” for One Hundred Years

By Jeff McCord “America’s Paradise” for One Hundred Years Down in the islands known as “America’s Paradise,” residents recently observed an important anniversary – one hundred years as part of the United States. On March 31, 1917 the Danish West Indies became the U.S. Virgin Islands following payment to Denmark of $25 million in gold […]


By Jeff McCord It’s no wonder that President Lincoln wanted the Virgin Islands. By 1863, the second year of the Civil War (which began in April, 1861), Union patience was being stretched thin by “rebel pirates” and “English rebel agents” frequenting then Danish and neutral St. Thomas, to quote Rear-Admiral Charles Wilkes, Commander of the […]

“Rogues, Vagabonds, the Idle and Dissolute”and the Luck of the Irish

“Rogues, Vagabonds, the Idle and Dissolute” and the Luck of the Irish By Jeff McCord As we anticipate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, it’s fun to think about the role of the Irish in the Virgin Islands and Virginia. Sons and daughters of Eire have been pioneers, planters, pirates, entertainers and much more throughout […]

Romance and Sweat Mark the Season

by Jeff McCord February is the high season on the Virgin Island of St. John. Our beaches are full and the usually quiet island bustles with thousands of visitors and more special events and activities than islanders can take advantage of. Two February occasions embody St. John’s happy, healthful and busy high season: The romance […]

How the South’s “Pirate” Helped Establish the U.S. Virgin Islands

By Jeff McCord   How the South’s “Pirate” Helped Establish the U.S. Virgin Islands   With the United States mainland more politically divided than at any time in recent memory, it’s interesting to look back at the impact of a real Civil War on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most importantly, the adventures of Confederate naval […]

Diamond Jubilee for a Tropic National Park

Diamond Jubilee for a Tropic National Park by Jeff McCord For the people of the United States and their often overlooked Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), December marks the 60th anniversary of a gift of incalculable value. On December 1, 1956 in the small port of Cruz Bay, St. John, a small group […]