On January 17, 1917, as the Great War raged in Europe, the government of the United States signed a deal to purchase the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
The agreement transferred Denmark’s territories in the West Indies, ‘including the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix together with the adjacent islands and rocks.’
Good thing they picked up those rocks!
The US government paid ‘a sum of twenty-five million dollars in gold coin of the United States.’
$25 million was clearly a lot more money back then than it is today.
But given the change in the gold price over the years, $25 million worth of gold in 1917 is valued just under $1.5 billion today.
That’s still an amazing deal.
It means that, adjusted for inflation to 2016 dollars, the US government paid about $175 per acre for the Virgin Islands.
Today, an acre of land on one of the islands could easily set you back around $400,000.
So the USVI purchase ended up being a pretty solid return on investment.
This post was published at Sovereign Man on December 15, 2016.