Salt River Bay National Historical Park & Ecological Preserve

Everyone wants to live on a tropical island.

At Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Reserve, you can learn about the many cultures that have made St. Croix their home.

According to archaeological evidence on exhibit at Salt River Bay, St. Croix has been continuously occupied since about 400 A.D. The first inhabitants were Indians from South America—the Igneri, Taino and Carib—who left behind examples of their pottery.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus dropped anchor off St. Croix on his second trip to the New World. He named the island Santa Cruz and sent an expedition inland in search of fresh water. It was one of only two documented visits by Columbus to now-American soil.

Ponce de Leon, governor of Puerto Rico, followed Columbus 15 years later. He made peace with the Carib and arranged to purchase their produce.

Through the 1600s, the strategically placed St. Croix traded hands half a dozen times. The English, Dutch, and French all laid claim to the island at one time or another. Today’s residents can trace their ancestry to the slaves brought from Africa.
 
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Reserve tells the island’s long and fascinating history. You can also see massive mangrove forests, snorkel over coral reefs, and dive into a submarine canyon.

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