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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





March 31, 1917

The U.S. Takes Formal Possession of The Danish West Indies
and Renames it the United States Virgin Islands

On this day in 1917, the Danish administration of the Danish West Indies ended and the United States took formal possession after having purchased the islands for $25 million on January 17. The Danish West Indies are made up of three islands (St. Thomas, St. John, and Santa Cruz) totalling 185 square miles. The islands had been purchased by the Danish king, Frederick V of Denmark in 1754.

March 31, 1870

Thomas Mundy Peterson Becomes the First
African-American to Vote in the United States

On this day in 1870, Thomas Mundy Peterson became the first African American to vote in a United States election under the provisions of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The vote took place in Perth Amboy, NJ. Thomas Munday Peterson was a school custodian and was active in the Republican Party. He also is known as the first African-American in that city to serve on a jury. March 31st is now celebrated in New Jersey as Thomas Mundy Peterson Day.