Sint Eustatius History

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History[edit | edit source]

The Spanish took possession of the Leeward group, in 1527. In 1634 the three islands passed to the Netherlands with which they have remained except for two short periods during the Napoleonic Wars when the British ruled at Willemstad. Curaçao, the center of Caribbean slave trade during the colonial period, lost much of its economic importance after emancipation of the slaves in 1863. In 1986 Aruba was constitutionally separated from the Netherlands Antilles.

The Winward group, also considered a part of the Netherlands Antilles, changed hands often during the 17th and 18th centuries. All three have been under uninterrupted Dutch rule since the beginning of the 19th century. Formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, Sint Eustatius became a special municipality within the Netherlands on 10 October 2010.

The name of the island, Sint Eustatius, is the Dutch name for Saint Eustace, also spelled Eustachius or Eustathius, a legendary Christian martyr, known in Spanish as San Eustaquio and in Portuguese as Santo Eustáquio or Santo Eustácio.
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Timeline[edit | edit source]

1636 - The chamber of Zeeland of the Dutch West India Company took possession of the island that was then reported to be uninhabited
1678 - The Islands of St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten and Saba fell under direct command of the Dutch West India Company, with a commander stationed on St. Eustatius to govern all three
1795 - 1815 A series of disastrous French and British occupations of Sint Eustatius diverted trade to the occupiers' islands. St. Eustatius' economy collapsed and the Jews left along with the other merchants. St. Eustatius reverted permanently to Dutch control afterwards
1954 - Sint Eustatius became a member of the Netherlands Antilles when that grouping originated
2005 - Unlike the other member islands, the people of St Eustatius did not vote to leave and in a referendum, 77% of voters voted to remain within the Netherlands Antilles
2010 - Once the other islands decided to leave, meaning that the Netherlands Antilles would become defunct, the island council opted to become a special municipality of the Netherlands, like Saba and Bonaire

References[edit | edit source]