St Ursula and her 11,000 virgins, or how the Virgin Islands got their name

October 11, 2011

News clippings

St Ursula

St Ursula as depicted on the official seal of the British Virgin Islands

Here in the British Virgin Islands we celebrate St. Ursula’s Day towards the end of October (this year the holiday falls on 21 October). St. Ursula is the namesake of the Virgin Islands, as told in this blog post published yesterday by Bob Schulman on the Huffington Post. As it turns out the saint’s history is pretty murky — it is the stuff of legend after all.

I’m not quite sure what small town on Virgin Gorda Schulman thinks bears Ursula’s name, but it is a fact the first government launch bore her name, and that the ‘lady with the lamp’ appears on the British Virgin Islands’ flag and is even the logo of a leading political party in the islands.

A pretty good showing for a fourth-century British princess, I’d say.

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About Susanna

Susanna is a Tennessee native transplanted to the BVI, and the author of Moon Handbooks Virgin Islands.

View all posts by Susanna

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