On March 25, 1718, some 36 years after the Danes established a permanent colony on the island of St. Thomas, they claimed St. John. However, it took five decades with heated political rhetoric, debts and contentious arguments between the British, Spanish and Denmark before the island of St. John became part of the Danish West Indies. Governor Eric Bredal led the expedition of 42 soldiers, a few slaves and 20 planters from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, to Coral Bay, St. John.
The planters helped plant a Danish flag at Coral Bay with great enthusiasm and joined Governor Bredal in a toast to the good King Frederick IV and the Danish West Indies Company. The planters waited patiently while the governor chose a site for the new fort that would defend Denmark’s’ interest on St. John. After the governor claimed some 2,000 acres of the flattest, best-watered land on St. John for the company’s plantation (Carolina), the planters got their opportunity to select their own parcels of land. Thus, the plantation system got underway the first day of settlement of St. John.