Sundays with Stassi: A St. Johnian Christmas…but more of a brief history lesson

The 3rd installment of my island Christmas experience was supposed to start off with my account of Christmas caroling on St. Thomas that ends in Emancipation Gardens with some sort of challenge at 6AM…but the way my life with family in town was set up, being a tour guide and taxi driver is exhausting so I slept right through the caroling experience! I was looking forward to it but my futon held me hostage that morning…
Yes, I have family in town because mom said she’s never ever spent a Christmas without me (y’all know I’m the baby girl 😃) so I have had several #islandadventures with them. We’ve done all sorts of Christmas sightseeing but the highlight has been the continuation of Christmas parties, which are still going on even today. The other day, we drove onto the car ferry to cruise on over to St. John, the smallest of the US Virgin Islands. I wanted them to experience St. John because all of the history that I am learning about the islands. Historically speaking, St. John is known for the many sugar plantations that were across the island. Most notably was the 1733 Slave Revolt when a group of captive Africans known as the Akwamu (from present day Ghana) took over their plantation and then the slaves took over the island for about 7 months before French and Swiss soldiers arrived on island to restore order. What’s interesting is the Akwamu people were known to be powerful and wealthy in their own land, but were taken from that land to serve as slaves in a foreign land. Unfortunately it was another 70 years before the slave trade in the Danish West Indies ended and then another 45 years after that before slavery was abolished. (For more history info visit: http://stjohnisland.com/about/history-of-st-john-island/) While we didn’t get to see the Fortsberg ruins, the site of the revolt, because apparently a 4X4 vehicle is recommended to get to the site (remember St. John is mostly the VI National Forest), we were able to park and hike up to Peace Hill, the site of an old sugar mill ruin. The Peace Hill Trail offers some amazing views of the north shore of St. John and even some of the British Virgin Islands.
Island Hopping,
Stassi Nicole

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