The Virgin Islands were originally discovered and named by Christopher Columbus in the year 1493. The islands were originally named for Saint Ursula and her virgin followers, and they were under the control of at least 5 different European countries over the first 300 years of the islands’ existence (Spain, England, Netherlands, France and Denmark). The Virgin Islands were held under Danish control however, from the year 1672 until they were purchased by the United States on January 17, 1917. The United States took control of the territory on March 31st of that same year, thus the islands were officially renamed the Virgin Islands of the United States.
The Virgin Islands of the United States consist of a group of islands located in the Caribbean sea, about 90 miles east of Puerto Rico. The Virgin Islands are made up of many small islands; however the notable ones include the islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, Water Island, and Saint Thomas.
The United States Virgin Islands flag was officially adopted in the year 1921. The design is strikingly simple; it consists of little more than a simplified variant of the Seal of the United States of America placed atop a white background. To the immediate left and right of the seal on the flag sit the letters “V” and “I”, representing of course the name of the islands.
One interesting thing to note about the symbol on the flag is the three arrows being held by the eagle in its left talon. This is of course symbolic of the three major islands that make up the Virgin Islands – Saint Thomas, Saint John, and Saint Croix.
Also, interestingly enough, the original design was drawn by a cartoonist named Percival Wilson Sparks. Once approved, the design for the US Virgin Islands flag was embroidered by the cartoonist’s wife Grace – thus the flag was born.