group of islands of the Leeward group in the West Indies, east of Puerto Rico, comprising the , easternmost islands of this group, constituting a British territory (59 sq mi, 153 sq km; pop. 17,000), & the , the islands of this group closest to Puerto Rico, constituting a territory of the U.S. (134 sq mi, 347 sq km; pop. 109,000; cap. Charlotte Amalie: abbrev. VI)
Origin of Virgin Islands; from Spanish Las Virgenes, the virgins, so named (1493) by Christopher Columbus in honor of the legendary 11,000 followers of St. Ursula
A group of islands of the northeast West Indies east of Puerto Rico, divided politically into the British Virgin Islands to the northeast and the United States Virgin Islands to the southwest. Originally inhabited by Arawaks and Caribs, the islands were sighted and named by Christopher Columbus in 1493.