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Netherlands Antillies Forum
 CaribbeanChoice : General Discussion : Country-Specific Forums : Netherlands Antillies Forum
Message Icon Topic: Welcome to Statia (St. Eustatius) Post Reply Post New Topic
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Shucander
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Topic: Welcome to Statia (St. Eustatius)
    Posted: 20 Apr 2008 at 11:49pm

History of Statia (St. Eustatius)

 
Statia was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus. Throughout a swaggering colonial era that followed, the island had changed hands at least 22 times.

In 1636, near the close of the 80 year war between Holland and Spain, the Dutch took possession. During the 17th and 18th century, Statia was a major trading center with some 20,000 inhabitants and thousands of ships calling at her shores.

CannonIt is hard for present day visitors to imagine that this tiny island once had one of the busiest ports in the region.

During the latter part of the 18th century, St. Eustatius was the major supplier of arms and ammunition to the rebellious British Colonies in North America and the subject of conflict among the most powerful seafaring nations of the time.

For a while, Statia was the only link between Europe and fledgling American colonies. Even Benjamin Franklin had his mail routed through Statia to ensure its safe arrival. Statia remembered as the emporium of the Caribbean, was nicknamed "The Golden Rock", reflecting its former prosperous trading days and wealthy residents.

On November 16, 1776 the American Brig-of-War, the "Andrew Doria", sailed into the harbor of Statia firing its 13-gun salute indicating America's long sought independence. The 11-gun salute reply, roaring from the canons at Fort Oranje under the command of Governor Johannes de Graaff, established Statia as the first foreign nation to officially recognize the newly formed United States of America.

Lower%20Town%20RuinsEach year, thousands of ships anchored on the roadstead of Oranjestad and the shore of the Bay was lined with hundreds of warehouses packed with goods. More trade (both legal and illegal) transpired here after the end of the American Revolution than on any other Caribbean island until Statia reached its economic peak around 1795.

As the eighteenth century drew to a close St. Eustatius gradually lost its importance as a trading center and most merchants and planters left the Island, leaving their homes and warehouses. Through the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries Statia became and remained a quiet island waiting to be discovered by history minded visitors.

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Shucander
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Posted: 20 Apr 2008 at 11:52pm

Statia (St. Eustatius)

Fortunately, in the 1960's and 70's, the people of Statia became increasingly aware of the cultural value of their unique heritage and initiatives were taken to preserve and maintain it.

MuseumTo promote the exploration and dissemination of the unique history and culture of this special island, the
St. Eustatius Historical Foundation was founded. The founding members of the Historical Foundation and its subsequent boards have provided a vision that includes the creation of a world class Museum, the impetus for the Historic Core Renovation project and the establishment of the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (SECAR). New museums are also being planned.

Plans are also underway for a preservation of the exterior structure of
Honem Dalim, St. Eustatius's Jewish Synagogue through the Historic Core Renovation project. Additional funds are being sought from private sources for a complete restoration that would return the Synagogue to its former glory and allow a place for future worship and as a museum to the History of the Jews in St. Eustatius.

Click here for more of Statia's fascinating history.
 
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Quote Shucander Replybullet Posted: 20 Apr 2008 at 11:55pm

Fort Oranje

Do not miss the fully restored Fort Oranje. Built by the French in 1629, enlarged and named by the Zeelanders in 1636.

In the Fort Courtyard there a number of fascinating memorials:

 Michiel Adriaanz de Ruyter - Dutch
 Admiral on Statia May 11 - 17 1665, erected in 1907.
 Copper plaque commemorating the salute to the American Man of War, "Andrew Doria" November 16, 1776. Presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 12, 1939.
 World War II Memorial erected on May 4, 1957
 Bicentennial plaque donated by the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Government's Guesthouse

The 18th Century Government's Guesthouse was restored in 1992, and the building officially opened with the unveiling of the plaque by Queen Beatrix on November 16, 1992.

Fort de Windt

Sources do not show when Fort de Windt was built, though it was presumably constructed during the command of Jan de Windt between September 1753 and January 1775.

Dutch Reformed Church Visti the Ruinsof Dutch Reform Church (consecrated November 2, 1755). In 1981, the ruins were preserved to prevent further deterioration and the tower fully restored. In 2000 minr repairs were done on the tower, walls, windows, doors and balcony.

Lower Town

The are a number of ruins at the Lower Town. Building around the bay began about the middle of the 18th century. The ruins date back mostly to the early to mid-seventeen hundreds. Drive along the bay road and try to imagine the scene in the 18th century.

Fort Amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam, more correctly called Concordia, at the North-East of the island. Fort Amsterdam is located on the Atlantic Ocean side of St. Eustatius, near a cliff overlooking Bargine Bay and Great Bay. The earliest historical map of Statia to locate Battery Concordia is a French map which presumably dates to late November or December of 1781, after the recapture of the island from the English by the French. A much later 1874 map made Grevelink is another source locating Concordia Battery but idetifies it as well as all batteries as "vervallen battrey" (in ruins).

Lynch Plantation Museum

Lynch Plantation Museum is the only domestic museum in the Dutch Caribbean displaying a remarkable collection of household artifacts and antiques. Located on the North-eastern side of the island.

http://www.statiatourism.com/history.html

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