The Spanish Virgin Islands (also known as the “Passage Islands”) are a group of islands located directly east of Puerto Rico, of which they form an administrative part and do not share a direct political link with the US Virgin Islands, located directly to the East.
As Puerto Rican islands, they are not often recognized as part of the Virgin Islands archipelago. However, they belong geographically to the same chain. They are also closer to St. Thomas than is St. Croix (two islands of the US Virgin Islands).
The term “Spanish Virgin Islands” is common in Puerto Rican tourist literature2, but rarely appears on maps and general atlases.
Like Puerto Rico, they belonged for a long time to Spain, and Spanish remained the predominant language, although English was practiced there.
The main islands of the group are Culebra and Vieques, accompanied by several islets and reefs. Many of these are part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge3, while much of Vieques forms the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge4.
Administratively, the archipelago is divided into two municipalities: Culebra and Vieques.
The archipelago, populated by 11,119 inhabitants, covers 378.2 km2, resulting in a density of 29.27 inhabitants per km2. The most populous community is Isabel Segunda which has 1,459 inhabitants.