Historic Maps – 19th Century – 1804-1907

Surviving historic maps of St. Croix in the 19th century into the early 20th century have three fundamental base maps. The first 5 maps published after the turn of the century copied Oxholm’s 1799 map, typically published in either England or Denmark. The 1856 Parsons Admiralty Chart provides a unique creation, which was printed in several editions. Lastly, the 1907 Danish Atlantic Islands Association map likely drew from earlier maps.

The images presented on this page are low resolution to ease page loading while providing an understandable representation of each map. Links lead to far higher resolutions of each map.

Plan of the Island of St. Croix, from an actual survey made in 1794-1799 by P.L. Oxholm

1804 print dated

Laurie & Whittle, London

1804 map after Oxholm published by Laurie & Whittle

This English map acknowledges the reproduction of the Oxholm 1799 map. The information presented on the island and the table appear largely identical to Oxholm’s publication, although the style differs.

Since this map served an English audience, the table omits the portions in Danish. However, the scale remains in Danish miles.

A map of the Danish Island St. Croix in the West Indies, Surveyed 1799 by P.L. Oxholm, Drawn from the Original Map.

1809 print dated

W Faden, Charing Cross

1809 map after Oxholm published by W Faden

This English map acknowledges the reproduction of the Oxholm 1799 map. The information presented on the island and the table appear largely identical to Oxholm’s publication in content and style. Even the artwork around the cartouche replicate the Oxholm publication.

Since this map served an English audience, the table omits the portions in Danish. However, the scale remains in Danish miles.

Charte over den Danske Øe St. Croix i America, tegnet i Aaret 1818 af Ahlefeldt

[Map of the Danish Island St. Croix in America, drawn in the year 1818 by Ahlefeldt]

1818 print dated

Ahlefeldt reproduction of Oxholm

1818 map after Oxholm by Ahlefeldt

While this map does not specifically mention Oxholm, the information contained is clearly from the 1799 map. The data presented both on the island and in the table appear to be direct copies of Oxholm.

This map used a separate printing plate. Too many subtle differences exist, such as the font used for estate names, to indicate this map simply adjusted the original printing plate.

St Croix optaget af General Oxholm; Havnen ved Christianstæd efter … Rohde; Farvandet udenfor efter A. Lang

[St. Croix, mapped by General Oxholm; the harbor at Christiansted according to Rohde, the surrounding waters according to A. Lang]

1820 print dated

Peter Oxholm with later updates by Lang

1820 update to Oxholm with information from Lang

This map largely replicates the Oxholm map published in 1799. Significant details added include soundings for the approaches to and within Christiansted harbor.

Related to windmills, this map adds a windmill at the Sight in East End A along with a dwelling house in estate grön Kay. These structures placed on a sightline intersecting a sightline to Langs Observatorium appear as navigation aids that provide sounding depths. The windmill placement on a ridge to the south of the animal mill correlates with mill ruins found through field reconnaissance.

This map also updates the shape of Buck Island. All previous maps distorted the shape of Buck Island in various ways. This maps presents the shape of Buck Island more closely to the current shoreline, most notably with the shoreline reflecting Diedrichs Point on the southern side.

Table on the left side of the map presents identical information to Oxholm’s 1799 map. Given the similarities between the maps, this map quite possibly used the exact same printing plate as the 1799 Oxholm map for the main island and table. The difference in presentation of some of the soundings and cartouche indicate reasonably significant modifications to the printing plate.

The Island of Sainte Croix, from the Danish Survey of General Oxholm 1799

1831 print dated

The Hydrographical Office of the Admiralty based on Oxholm

1831 map after Oxholm by the Hydrological Office of the Admiralty

This map differs from previous maps by squaring the island with north facing the top of the page. Earlier maps in the Danish period positioned the island to make the quarter and estate boundaries parallel to the edges of the paper.

This map draws from Oxholm’s survey for the content. However, far less detail is provided for specific locations. Some place names differ between this map and Oxholm’s 1799 publication.

In appearance, this map far more closely resembles the later map from Parsons’ survey. Parsons may have been dispatched a quarter century later to update the details presented on this map.

Santa Cruz Admiralty Chart

1856 print dated

Surveyed by Mr. John Parsons, Master, R.N

1856 Santa Cruz Admiralty Chart by Parsons

John Parsons surveyed St. Croix in 1856 aboard the Scorpion. This map has extensive soundings around the island and eastward along Lang’s Bank. This map centrally features the bird’s eye view of the entire island and surrounding islets plus the inset of Christiansted. At the top of the map, six views of St. Croix are presented as the island is viewed from the sea.

The map provides topographic information similar to the 1799 Oxholm map, while adding specific height values for various hilltops. As expected for an admiralty chart, this map includes far more detailed soundings in the waters all around St. Croix, especially Christiansted harbor.

This map includes icons for windmills, towers without sails, steam chimneys, and other structures. Some curious omissions include no indication of Bonne Esperance windmill, which is a good sighting aid for entry into Salt River bay and Will’s Bay windmill that can aid navigation along the northwest coast of St. Croix. This map survives through a number of different published versions. Cursory review indicates largely identical information presented on the different printings.

St Croix: Kort over Dansk Vestindien

[St Croix: Map of the Danish West Indies]

1907 print dated

Foreningen De danske Atlanterhavsøer [The Association of the Danish Atlantic Islands]

1907 map of St. Croix by the Association of the Danish Atlantic Islands

This map was published shortly after the 1902 creation of the Foreningen De danske Atlanterhavsøer (The Association of the Danish Atlantic Islands). The 1907 date corresponds with the return of Hugo Larsen to Denmark after visiting the islands. The Association advocated not selling the Danish West Indies, and this map was part of an effort to create a stronger connection between Denmark and the islands.

The map includes the shoreline, islets, water bodies and courses, and coastal place names. Topographic features identify the hillier areas of St. Croix in detail. Estate names with circles pinpointing locations provide an updated view of place names.

Roads lead from towns to individual plantations, much in the same locations in which roads exist today. Specifically located on the map are the central sugar factories at Bethlehem and Richmond.

Go to the next page of historic maps, the 20th century