The island Sint Eustatius is one of the three Dutch ‘BES-islands’ in the Caribbean. About 4000 people live there. The island’s status is that of a ‘special municipality’ of The Netherlands.
After a referendum in 2010 the Dutch Antilles were discontinued. The islands Sint Maarten and Curaçao are independent countries within the Dutch kingdom since that time.
The three islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba choose to keep closer ties with Holland. They became special municipalities of Holland under the umbrella of the ‘BES-islands’. This means that jurisdiction, healthcare and education are being adjusted gradually to Dutch standards.
South-east of Sint Eustatius one finds the island Saint Kitts, in the north this is Saint-Barthélemy and in the north-east we see Saba.
Statia, Saba and Sint Maarten are part of the Leeward Islands, but the local people call them Windward Islands.
Statia’s surface area measures 21 km² (7x3 km) and is the second smallest island –Saba is the smallest- of the former Dutch Antilles. The capital city is Oranjestad, named after the Dutch royal family.
The dormant volcano ‘The Quill’ in the south-east of Sint Eustatius is worth the mild climb. Its highest point peaks at about 600 m and at 270 m above sea level is the bottom of the crater.
The lower hills around mount Boven are situated in the north-east of Statia.
The majority of the population resides in the valley in between the two mountainous areas.
At the moment Statia is best reached by airplane from Sint Maarten. The flight takes about 20 minutes.
Sint Maarten’s ‘Juliana International Airport’ provides direct connections with many main US cities, Canada, Amsterdam, Paris, Curaçao and Brazil.
The climate is moderate tropical. A continuous wind from the Atlantic side of the island tempers the humidity and makes one feel comfortable. January is the coolest month with average day temperatures of 28 °C and 21,5 °C at night. September is the warmest month with 30 °C during the day and 26 °C in the nights.
Short and heavy rain showers give an annual average of 1080 mm of rainfall.
The island is situated in the hurricane belt.
Between July and November is the hurricane season.
The island Sint Eustatius is named after a catholic saint. The islanders have nick-named it ‘Statia’.
When Christopher Columbus discovered Statia in 1493, the island was already deserted by the original population of Statia, the Caribs. The Dutch established the first settlement in 1636. The next centuries the island changed flags 22 times including the British, French and Dutch.
During most of the late 18th century the island was the most important connection between Europe and the Atlantic region. The British and the French levied a tax on goods and services on their islands. The Dutch created a tax-free environment so thousands of ships decided to use Oranjestad as their main stop between Europe and the colonies in America, where they offered weapons and gunpowder to rebellious colonists.
In these glory days Statia was home base to not less than 10,000 settled inhabitants, both European colonists and African slaves. Sometimes there were 25,000 people on the island, including all seamen.
Statia’s nickname the ‘Golden Rock’ stems from these prosperous days.
One of the most notorious events on Statia happened November 16, 1776. A ship of the rebellious colonies, the Andrea Doria, entered the harbor, carrying their own independent American flag and saluted with thirteen canon shots. Statia responded with eleven shots and thus was the first nation to acknowledge the new United States of America. This resulted into the war against England; they did not appreciate Statia’s action. France, as a Dutch ally, conquered the island later on. At the end of the war, in 1784, Statia became a Dutch territory up to today.
In 1954 Sint Eustatius became part of the new formed autonomous state the “Dutch Antilles” and since ’10-10-2010’ the island is one of the BES-islands as a ‘special Dutch municipality’.
Statia, special island
Statia is not a typical Caribbean island which is one of her charming sides. Contrarily to most neighboring countries Statia does not have long white beaches. The volcanic origin of the island colored the sand dark grey. Also the island is not discovered by mass-tourism yet and has a tranquil, almost sleepy, nature. A feature that also characterizes the volcano, since there were no eruptions after the establishment of the first Dutch settlement in 1636.
The islands main charm is the omnipresent peace and serenity. Here you find the Caribbean originality with its tranquility and friendly people, who greet and welcome everyone. Furthermore Statia reveals many attractive historical sights and fascinating flora and fauna. The aquatic world is unique.
Statia is found in the top 10 of most attractive places to reside in the world!