Named for Saint Eustace, St Eustatius is an island located within the Netherlands Antilles in the northern West Indies. The surrounding islands include Saint Kitts, Saint Nevis, the Virgin Islands, and Saba. The islandís capital is Oranjestad, which translated into English means Orange City. A fertile plain called De Cultuurvlakte, ideal for agricultural production, is located on St Eustatius.
St Eustatius is a former Dutch colony, and Dutch influence on the island is apparent to this day. However, during a period existing between the mid 1600ís to the early 1800ís, more than 20 colonial powers gained control of the island. At one time, the island was the center of commerce and the slave trade in the Caribbean Sea.
Saint Eustatius was greatly changed by the American Revolutionary War. After the British Empire took steps to prevent imports from entering the colonies and exports from leaving them, European nations began trading with colonies in the Caribbean. As a result, Dutch immigrants flocked to the island to profit from this boom in trade. After the war ended, St. Eustatius recognized America as an independent country before most nations did.
The island is fairly small, with a land mass of about 8 square miles. Saint Eustatius has recently become a tourist attraction.
Its unpopularity as a tourist destination in the past can be attributed to unsafe water conditions for swimming and the lack of night clubs on the island. However, there are some quality beaches on the Atlantic portion of the island.
For nature lovers, there is plenty to do on St. Eustatius. The island is well situated for hiking. In fact, tourists can hike around the inactive volcano located on the island. There are also trails leading through a rainforest full of tropical plants and animals.
Great spots for scuba diving exist on St Eustatius since the island is surrounded by coral reefs with large quantities of Caribbean Sea life. One location in particular known as the Grand Canyon is loaded with exotic fish, including small sharks.