Named for the hourglass-like curves of its coastline, the island of Virgin Gorda was inhabited for many years by Carib Indians who lived peacefully off the land in farming and fishing villages. These indigenous people made do by using the islands abundance of natural resources and trading with one another. Eventually the island was settled by the British and like its many neighboring islands, Virgin Gorda was frequently visited by Bluebeard and Captain Kidd, some of history's most notorious pirates.
The settlers began growing sugar crops and soon there were plantations all over the island. Plantation owners became very involved in the slave trade that flourished throughout the British Virgin Islands. Much of the Virgin Gorda's economy was based on sugar crops and slave trade so when slavery was abolished in 1838 the island suffered greatly.
The island's economy was influx until the 1960s, when air travel and off-shore banking breathed new life into the largest of the British Virgin Islands.
The North Sound's calm waters made for an ideal anchorage for mega yachts. Seafaring celebrity visitors, including John Wayne and Brigitte Bardot, checked in at the Bitter End Yacht Club back in the 60s, not too long after Laurance Rockefeller founded Little Dix Bay resort in 1964.
Little Dix Bay began as one of Rockefeller's RockResorts, a forward-thinking brand dedicated to environmental preservation. Rockefeller's aim was to create a place where guests could relax and enjoy themselves in nature, with utmost respect for the local flora and fauna. Noted for his works in conservation, Rockefeller installed a desalination plant to provide the resort with fresh water.
Even after Rosewood took over the property in 1993, the hotel group remains committed to keeping things as green as possible. Little Dix Bay was heavily damaged by the 2017 hurricane season and is currently in the process of rebuilding. They're hoping to reopen in late 2019.
One of Virgin Gorda's most striking attractions, The Baths, was granted the official title of a BVI National Park in 1990. This collection of huge volcanic boulders semi submerged in crystal clear waters has been one of the island's most popular snorkeling and exploring destinations for nearly three decades.
More recently, developer David V. Johnson embraced this eco-minded sensibility when building Oil Nut Bay in 2016. This luxury resort community keeps its footprint as light as possible with solar power, rainwater collection and an environmental stewardship organization.
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