Saint Eustatius (sānt yōstāˈshəs) [key], island (1989 pop. 1,861), 8 sq mi (20.7 sq km), a special municipality of the Netherlands, one of the Leeward Islands, West Indies. It was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles. The mountainous island is not very prosperous, although there is a developing tourist industry; it also possesses facilities for petroleum transshipment. Oranjestad, the chief port, has a colorful history. Settled by the Dutch in 1632, it became a center of contraband trade with the American colonies before and during the American Revolution. According to tradition, it was the first foreign port to salute (1776) the American flag. The island has changed hands frequently. During the 18th cent. pirates and smugglers made it one of the leading trade centers of the West Indies. The island is called Statia by its inhabitants.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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