Welcome to Statia! We start off with our first „Take a Minute in Statia“ with the view of the dormant volcano Quill from Zeelandia Beach.
Where the hell is Statia?
Even when mentioning the full name of this Dutch Caribbean island „St. Eustatius“, most people stayed clueless. Our new series of 1-minute video clips will bring Statia to you. Let us introduce the island we call home (all on Statia).
St. Eustatius is 21 km² small and located roughly where the string of pearls of the Caribbean islands in the east slowly curves south to break up into many small to tiny islets. These are the Lesser Antilles as opposed to the Greater Antilles further west with the main islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Puerto Rico.
New series: Take a Minute in Statia
We start our new series „Take a Minute in Statia“ on the beach. This is Zeelandia on the Atlantic side of the island (east). You are looking at the iconic mountain of the island: The Quill, a volcano that you can hike around, up and even into the crater. Its name comes from the Dutch word „kuil“ for hole or pit. The stratovolcano (strato = layer) formed about 22,000-32,000 years ago. With 601 meters it is the second-highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Quill is a dormant volcano, which makes this jagged crest with the steep slopes falling evenly on all sides even more appealing. Perhaps the volcano is dreaming of its last major eruption, which radiocarbon dating indicates must have been between 245 and 365. The NGO STENAPA maintains various hiking trails and offers guided tours.
Enjoy Statia with this view of the Quill filmed from Zeelandia Beach
As early as 1996, a marine reserve was set up around Statia. In 1998 the two-part national park followed on land. The Quill in the south and Boven in the north of the island are considered the first national parks in the Netherlands Antilles.
Netherlands Antilles to Caribbean Netherlands
These Dutch overseas territories, the six Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius together form a country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1985, Aruba left the association and in a vote in 2010, Curaçao and Sint Maarten also chose extensive autonomy, while the other islands decided to become „special communities“ as part of the Netherlands. However, Dutch laws do not automatically apply here. In addition, it is not yet part of the EU or the Schengen area but is considered an overseas sovereign territory associated with the European Union, which is to be voted on again. Sometime. Maybe.
Meanwhile, the US dollar became the official currency and English is taught as the first language at school. So it is the Netherlands, but not really which is the reason why even Yoeri is comfortable living here, at least for a while. But where exactly is this place? The neighbouring islands are Saba about thirty kilometres to the northwest, St. Kitts about ten kilometres to the southeast, St. Bartolomé about fifty kilometres to the northeast and more or less directly to the north, sixty kilometres away sits Sint Maarten where most people pass through on the way to the Golden Rock how Statia is also called.
St. Eustatius: The Golden Rock
It is hard to believe nowadays, but in the 18th century, St. Eustatius was the most important trading centre in the world. As the sandy bay offered protection from the easterly winds and was deep enough for the large merchant ships to anchor, the Dutch declared the island a free port in 1756. Whereby the heydays of Statia began. Everything was traded, from legal goods and slaves to illegal goods like arms, ammunition and other contrabands to the so-called New World and back. For a time 9,000 people lived on the island. In addition to trading, the island‘s economy ran on sugar, tobacco and cotton. With traders, sailors and slaves, around 20,000 people must have brought quite some life to Statia back in the day.
But the wealth aroused covetousness and resentment, especially after the Dutch supplied the independence fighters around Georg Washington with weapons. In addition, on November 16, 1776, on the orders of Governor Johannes de Graff, Statia answered the cannon salute of the ship Andrew Doria, which was sailing under the then-unknown red and white striped flag of the thirteen breakaway colonies. Possibly Statia just signalled their interest in trading, however, the Americans felt recognized as a nation. This act is still celebrated today with Statia Day, although it ultimately was the starting point of the island’s economic and political decline. In 1781 the British crown took over the island in the fourth Anglo-Dutch naval war. Less than a year later, the French captured Statia. In total, St. Eustatius changed hands more than twenty times until the island belonged permanently to the Dutch crown from 1816 onwards.
Take more minutes
Take a Minute to Fly
As we just started „Take a Minute in Statia“ we connect you to our other 1-minute-long clips for more visual meditation. Watch the whole playlist on our YouTube channel or browse through the different clips on our designated page „Take a Minute to Fly“ on this website.
Take a Minute to Relax
For more visual meditation and marine information, watch the whole playlist on our YouTube channel or browse through the different clips on our designated page „Take a Minute“ on this website or in the blog.