Caribbean Tourism

St Eustatias History

Sint Eustatius, or Statia, 56 km south of St Maarten and 27 km southeast of Saba, was originally settled by Caribs and evidence of their occupation dates back to AD 300. The island was sighted by Columbus on his second voyage but never settled by the Spanish. The Dutch first colonized it in 1636 and built Fort Oranje, but the island changed flag 22 times before finally remaining Dutch in 1816.


The island reached a peak of prosperity in the 18th century, when the development of commerce brought about 8,000 people to the tiny island, over half of whom were slaves, and the number of ships visiting the port was around 3,500 a year. Trading in sugar, tobacco and cotton proved more profitable than trying to grow them and the slave trade was particularly lucrative, gaining the island the nickname of ‘The Golden Rock’.

The island still celebrates 16 November 1776 when the cannons of Fort Oranje unknowingly fired the first official salute by a foreign nation to the American colours. At that time, Statia was a major trans-shipment point for arms and supplies to George Washington’s troops, which were stored in the yellow ballast brick warehouses built all along the Bay and then taken by blockade runners to Boston, New York and Charleston. However, the salute brought retaliatory action from the English and in 1781 the port was taken without a shot being fired by troops under Admiral George Brydges Rodney, who captured 150 merchant ships and £5mn of booty before being expelled by the French the following year.

With continuing transfers of power, the economy never recovered, many merchants were banished and the population began a steady decline. The emancipation of slaves in 1863 brought an end to any surviving plantation agriculture and the remaining inhabitants were reduced to subsistence farming and dependency upon remittances from relatives abroad. Prosperity has returned only recently with the advent of tourism and the island is still relatively underdeveloped.


More . . .

Sint Eustatius or Statia

Sint Eustatius or Statia Sint Eustatius or Statia, the name ‘Statia’ comes from St Anastasia, as it was named by Columbus, but the Dutch later changed it to Sint...

Before Travelling in St Eustatias

Climate Average temperature is around 27°C in the daytime and 23°C at night. Average rainfall is 45 inches a year. Average water...

Getting There

Air Winair has several daily 20-min flights from St Maarten (US$80 return) connecting with flights from the USA, Europe and other islands....

Getting Around

Land Car: There is no public transport on the island but cars and taxis can be hired. Driving is on the right, but some roads are so narrow...

St Eustatias Communication Service

Telephone Services Fax and cablegrams at Landsradio, Van Tonningenweg. Open Mon-Fri, 0730-1930, Sat, Sun 1200-1800, pay phone on the wall...

St Eustatias Tourist Information

Local Tourist Offices The St Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation, Fort Oranjestraat, Mon-Fri 0800-1700, T/F82433, www.statiatourism....

St Eustatias Accommodations

Expect a 7% government tax, 15% service charge on top of quoted rates & sometimes a 5% surcharge. The tourist office has a list of home...