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The port town of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas was founded to serve the needs of early Danish traders and planters. Savanne, or Savan, the northwestern subdivision of Charlotte Amalie, was established to provide housing for an increasing number of manumitted slaves or "free coloureds," as they were called. This group, having gained their freedom by direct purchase or by baptism, left the rural estates on which they worked and lived and moved to the town. Although legally free, they were treated as an inferior class and were subjected to rigid restrictions.

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