The Baths and Beaches of Virgin Gorda

In 1492 Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue – Or so the rhyme goes!

However in 1493, Columbus came back to the Americas and discovered a land he called “Las Once Mil Virgenes” or the Eleven Thousand Virgins.  He was alluding to the Virgin islands of the Caribbean (also known as a part of the Lesser Antilles).  There were so many of the islands, he named them the Eleven Thousand Virgins in honor of St. Ursula.

Ever wonder where the Lesser Antilles were?

Ever wonder where the Lesser Antilles were?

Wikipedia has long article about St. Ursula and a portion of it follows…

“The legend of Ursula is based on a 4th- or 5th-century inscription from the Church of St. Ursula (on the Ursulaplatz) in Cologne. It states that the ancient basilica had been restored on the site where some holy virgins were killed.[4]The legend of Ursula is based on a 4th- or 5th-century inscription from the Church of St. Ursula (on the Ursulaplatz) in Cologne. It states that the ancient basilica had been restored on the site where some holy virgins were killed.[4]

“While there was a tradition of virgin martyrs in Cologne by the fifth century, this was limited to a small number between two and eleven according to different sources. The 11,000 were first mentioned in the ninth century; suggestions as to where this came from have included reading the name “Undecimillia” or “Ximillia” as a number, or reading the abbreviation “XI. M. V.” as eleven thousand (in Roman numerals) virgins rather than eleven martyred virgins. One scholar has written that in the eighth century, the relics of virgin martyrs were found, among which were included those of a girl named Ursula, who was eleven years old-–in Latin, undecimilia. Undecimilia was subsequently misread or misinterpreted as undicimila (11,000), thus producing the legend of the 11,000 virgins.[6] Another theory is that there was only one virgin martyr, named Undecimilla, “which by some blundering monk was changed into eleven thousand.”[7] It has also been suggested that cum […] militibus “with […] soldiers” was misread as cum […] millibus “with […] thousands”.[5]”

So whether there were really 11 virgin martyrs or 11,000 or just Ursula is unclear. Columbus evidently believed that there were 11,000, so upon his first views of the many beautiful untouched islands evolved the name “the Virgin Islands!”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Ursula

One of the favorite tourist destinations in these waters is the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Virgin Islands 177The British Virgin Islands were originally Spanish only to be claimed by the Dutch (the Danish West Indies) in the mid 1600’s.

The British captured Tortola and annexed the other nearby islands by 1680.

Tortola in the distance

Tortola in the distance

The US Virgin Islands were once under Dutch ownership as well.  Only in the early 1900’s (1916) did the Americans purchase their portion of the Virgin Islands.  The strategic value of the islands were the driving factor for this purchase.  The Panama Canal was being developed and an American Naval presence in the Caribbean was thought to be a very strategic decision.

The Baths of Virgin Gorda are considered one of the top five destinations.

This geologic area is full of exposed Granitic Boulders that allow the ocean waters to flow in and out of house sized boulders forming great pools of warm Caribbean water!

http://www.bvitourism.com/activity/baths-national-park

The Baths are a favorite attraction!

The Baths are a favorite attraction!

 The boulders are stacked in such a way to allow bathers to walk or swim between them.

Virgin Islands 138 Virgin Islands 143 Virgin Islands 146 Virgin Islands 156  Virgin Islands 152Virgin Islands 154

The other beaches on Virgin Gorda may not have boulders but do not lack for beauty.

 Virgin Islands 180 Virgin Islands 182 Virgin Islands 185 Virgin Islands 194An unspoiled island is a good thing to find!

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About rsingram

Environmental Specialist, Disaster Reservist, Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Para-Archeologist
This entry was posted in American Made, Nature Photos, No Pollution, Virgin Islands and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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