St. Eustatius is the ‘historic gem’ of the Caribbean. After Christopher Columbus sited the island in 1493, the island changed hands at least 22 times among the British, French and Dutch.
In 1636, after the 80-year war between the Dutch and Spanish, the Dutch took possession and made St. Eustatius a duty free island in 1756. This free port status, its naturally deep harbour and the perfect geographic location between Europe and America, made St. Eustatius one of the busiest ports in the world. Over 3000 merchant ships visited St. Eustatius between 1775 and 1800. The tiny island supported over 20,000 people and earned its title, ‘The Golden Rock’.
When you walk around St. Eustatius, you find evidence of the rich past everywhere. The ruins of the oceanfront warehouses are all over Lower town, you find pieces of pottery and clay pipes on the beach and there are loads of historical places of interest to visit.
Things to do
• Stroll around the Upper Town and Lower Town and learn more about the history of St Eustatius on a 1½ hour guided walking tour.
• Located in town, the Historical Foundation Museum presents the history of the island and the Caribbean in general.