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Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The Caribbean Island of Sint Eustatius is called Statia of Statius by people who live there.

As I prayed for information about Statia the name of Saint Eustace came up. As near as I can tell the Roman Catholic Church not only no longer considers him a saint, but does not even consider him to be a holy martyr. He was known by several other names including Saint Eustatia. He was once venerated for helping hunters, firemen, and persons with family problems. One story went that, before his conversion to Christianity, he was a Roman general in the service of the emperor Trajan and that he knew Hadrian. Generals know about arms arms and ammunition and, as you will see, that fits nicely into this post.

It seems Eustatius, conversion came while he had a bead on a stag at which time he saw a vision of Christ between the sets of antlers. Who would maker up a story like that? You may have seen his stag and cross on a stained glass window, on a fireman's badge, or on a bottle of brew.

Before I get too far into this 'saint' thing I'll repeat that I found that Statia is the 'nickname for Sint Eustatius, a Dutch island in the Caribbean. It's in the northern Leeward Island portion of the West Indies. It lies kind of between the Leeward and Windward W.I. Yachtsmen know it as a good anchorage. I guess that it is close to St Martin.

Statia has been a free-port, a place of transshipment, and and active smuggling center. It has live on its neutrality. It has been called the Golden Rock. Its capital is Oranjestad. I think that probably less than 3000 people live on the island now. Dutch is the principle language; English is spoken as is creole English. It has extensive harbourage.

For such a small island, Statia has a pretty big history. Christopher Columbus was there in 1493. I 1678 the Dutch East India Company took it as a seat of government over Sint Maarten and Saba. Does Saba have its town in the caldera of a dormant volcanic mountain?

The people of Statia were the first to give international acknowledgement of the independence of the US! They did so by firing a salute to the US ship Andrew Doria. That salute led to the Fourth Anglo Dutch War and to raising hell with the economy of the Netherlands. The war led to to the Jews of the Hunen Dalim Synagogue being badly treated by the English. They were given 24 hours to get off the island.

A significant portion of the arms and ammunition purchased for use in the first Thirteen Colonies were brokered and transshipped through Statia. General George Washington was grateful for those arms and that ammunition. So now you know that the people of Statia and the Netherlands helped provide George Washington's troops for a  price. War costs the majority most. Arms were long the island's main stock in trade. When the Spirit of '76 was strong in the Us, the population of Statia may have been 10,000 persons including slaves. The hurricane of 1780 is said to have killed perhaps 4000 people.

I think that the Canadian and US med students studying at the Medical School on Statia can get flights from Sint Maarten. There is no airport on Statia. There must be one on St. Kitts.

Who will tell us more about the island?

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