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The history of Caneel Bay dates back thousands of years and has been influenced by people of many cultures.
It was the forbearers of the Tainos who first lived in this area around 600 A.D. They survived off of the land and the ocean, gathering berries and fishing. They lived on the island peacefully for hundreds of years. Eventually, sometime in the 1400’s, the Caribs repeatedly attacked the island and eventually left it unpopulated.
Most of St. Johns remained unpopulated for the next 200 years, aside from a few small groups of Native Americans.
The Dutch had begun colonizing neighboring St. Thomas Island in the early 1700’s, and a few of the Dutch people sailed to St John to begin developing plantations.
The first Caneel Bay was not at its current location. The word “caneel” comes from the Dutch word for “cinnamon”, and the current Cinnamon bay was the location of the original Caneel Bay. When the English came to control the Virgin Islands, the current locations for Cinnamon Bay and Caneel Bay were established, and remain such today.
In the 1730’s Caneel Bay was the only area of St. Johns that was not overtaken by slaves from the Amina Tribe.
Today Caneel Bay and St. John are part of the US Virgin Islands.