Written by Missy Johnston

Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI

Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI

Frederiksted is the second largest town on St. Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, but it’s not a “big city” by any stretch. Frederiksted’s charming Victorian style and laid-back Caribbean lifestyle make it a lovely stop during a St. Thomas private yacht charter In the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Its colorful buildings, talented local dancers, and picturesque Caribbean beauty are certainly enjoyable, but historically minded charterers will love the backstory of this beautiful waterfront town.

From the arrival of The Danish West India Company in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the 1600s until 1848, St. Croix was subject to slavery and harsh conditions imposed by the ruling Company. On July 3, 1848, then-Governor General Peter Von Scholten read the proclamation declaring the end of slavery. Notably, this occurred seventeen years before the United States formally abolished slavery.

Fort Frederiksted St Croix USVI

Fort Frederiksted St Croix USVI

July 3rd in the US Virgin Islands is known and celebrated as Emancipation Day. The site of the governor’s speech—Fort Frederiksted—is now a museum, and Frederiksted, St. Croix still has the nickname of “Freedom City.”

Fittingly, this July 3rd celebration takes place just one day before July 4th, the US Independence Day. U.S. Virgin Islands locals celebrate both days as reminders of the importance of freedom and human rights. All those in town on July 3rd and 4th are treated to music and dancing, fireworks, speeches, and presentations, and more.

Unfortunately, not all was smooth sailing after the slaves were emancipated, but this day did mark a turning point for workers demanding better conditions. About thirty years later, a labor revolt resulted in the entire town being destroyed by arson. When Frederiksted was rebuilt after the fire, architects chose the Victorian style, which is why this is such a quaint and idyllic little town.

Cannons at Fort Frederik in Frederiksted, on St. Croix, USVI

Cannons at Fort Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI

Frederiksted’s major attractions include the museum at Fort Frederiksted and several other historic buildings, including St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and a 19th century apothecary. A stroll down Frederiksted’s waterfront Stand Street delivers colorful and charming building fronts, craft vendors, live music, and plenty of delicious food and beverages. St. Croix is well worth visiting on a yacht charter itinerary of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and historic Frederiksted should not be missed. Spend a morning or afternoon strolling the streets, visiting the fort and museums and enjoying this little slice of Victorian architecture in the Caribbean.