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Virgin Islands of the United States

"Virgin Islands of the United States" is a descriptor in the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus, MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Descriptors are arranged in a hierarchical structure, which enables searching at various levels of specificity.

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A group of islands in the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies, the three main islands being St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. The capital is Charlotte Amalie. The Virgin Islands were discovered by Columbus in 1493. Before 1917 the U.S. Virgin Islands were held by the Danish and called the Danish West Indies but the name was changed when the United States acquired them by purchase. Virgin refers to the fact that Columbus made his discovery on St. Ursula's day - virgins being her legendary companions - or to the resemblance of the chain of islands to a procession of nuns or virgins. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p1305 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p577)


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