Sint Eustatius


For a brief historical outline of the Netherlands Antilles click here.


A brief history of Sint Eustatius.

The island was seen by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and claimed by an astonishing welter of nations over the next 150 years. In 1636 it was colonized by the chamber of Zeeland of the Dutch West India Company. As of 1678 the islands Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten and Saba fell under direct command of Dutch West India Company. At Sint Eustatius a commander was stationed, who also governed over the islands Sint Maarten and Saba. At the time, the island was of some importance for sugar cultivation. The island was also home to one of the first Jewish settlements in the New World, dating back at least to the early 18th century. The Honen Dalim Synagogue, built in 1739, now stands in ruins.

In the eighteenth century the island became known as the Golden Rock, since the island's economy flourished by ignoring the trade embargoes between the great powers.

Since the island sold arms and ammunition to everyone who wanted to pay for it, the island was one of the few ways for the rebellious Thirteen colonies to obtain weaponry. This good relationship between Sint Eustatius and the United States resulted in the famous flag incident, when Commander Johannes de Graaff of Sint Eustatius decided to answer the salute fire of the Andrew Doria that visited the island on 16 November 1776. The United States gave the answering salute great publicity since the island de facto recognized the independence of the United States.

The British did not take the incident too seriously, although they protested against the continuous trade between the United States and Sint Eustatius. In 1778 Lord Stormont claimed in Parliament that 'if Sint Eustatius had sunk into the sea three years before, the United Kingdom would already have dealt with George Washington'. The trade of Sint Eustatius with the United States was the main reason for the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War, which was disastrous for Dutch trading.

As a result of the war, Sint Eustatius was taken by the British on 3 February 1781. Commander de Graaff, who at the moment was not informed about the declaration of war but seeing that he was facing superior forces, surrendered the island to the British Admiral Rodney. Ten months later the island was conquered by the French, allies of the Dutch in this war. The Dutch regained command over the island in 1784.

On 8 April 2005 the population of Sint Eustatius (2.498) voted for the status of a Special Municipality of the Netherlands; also Saba (1.424) on 1 October 2004, and on 10 September 2004 the population of the island Bonaire (10.185).Sint Eustatius, as well as Bonaire and Saba are new Special Municipalities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It shall be realized on 15 December 2008.


               The Dutch Dominicans and Dominican Sisters on Sint Eustatius

By the Treaty of Westphalia (Münster, 1648) the Netherlands were proclaimed the owner and made it in 1675 a free port with the name 'Gouden Rots' (Gold Rocky). After the arrival of the Dutch Dominicans the Vicariate built a new brick church in 1910, dedicated to Sint Eustatius. Johannes J.L. Weenink (10.12.1908-23.04.1993) was one of the Dominican priests on St. Eustatius. He is commemorated on the stamp honoured the 12,5th  year anniversary of Queen Beatrix's accession to the throne, and her visit to the Antilles.  




Stamp honoured Queen Beatrix's accession to the throne 12,5th  year anniversary, with among others the Dominican Johannes Weenink (1908-1993.

Netherlands Antilles 1992, Mi 764, Sc 683.


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