History of St. Eustatius

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History of St. Eustatius

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Fort Oranje (Photo by M. R. H. Calmeyer).


~ History

o St. Eustatius by Dr. J. HARTOG

* Published on the 200th Anniversary of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA




* - Published in cooperation with: Mazinga Giftshop N.V., St. Eustatius, N.A. Tel. 011-599-382245 Distributors DE WIT STORES N.V. - Aruba - Netherlands Antilles

”As a descendant of the Dutch settlers...” To become aware of one’s identity one has to have a profound knowledge of one’s own history. Everywhere around us, in our own Caribbean region, we see that nearly all islands, becoming States or Associated States within the British Commonwealth of Nations,

have their histories researched, written and published. We see the same in Africa where nation after nation eptaming. its independence turns to history.

It is therefore with gratitude that we preface the History of St. Eustatius, written by such an experienced historian as Dr. J. Hartog, the author who has contributed so much to the historical research of the Netherlands Antilles. St. Eustatius once upon a time was a forepost of the Republic of the United Provinces, the present day Kingdom of The Nether-



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lands, and in the 18th century one of the great world powers. For eight decades, eighty years, the United Provinces fought for their independence from Spain to become an independent nation. St. Eustatius, one of the commercial outposts the United Provinces

maintained throughout the world, had a population with feelings of pride and independence, descendants of the fighters for freedom in The Netherlands. In contrast with Curacao, for instance, the burghers of St. Eustatius had a vote in their Government and,

though in no way democratic in the modern sense of the word, the roots of the political and social life of the island community were the forerunners of democracy. : Moreover the Statia commerce throve because of the relations with the British colonies in the North. When therefore, in these

British colonies feelings originated which pointed the way to independent nationhood, the Statia merchants, tied up with the North by commerce, at once sided with the North also because of

the ideal of independence, so well known from the days, when their forefathers fought for this ideal against Spain. We are much indebted to the Bicentennial Committee of the Netherlands Antilles which decided to publish this History of St. Eustatius. This book illustrates clearly the climax of the relations between the United States of America and St. Eustatius by its

: :





detailed description of the first salute given by a foreign official to the United States flag flown by a naval vessel. It therefore has an

international significance. But this book serves a national purpose

at the same time, since it gives the history of, we may safely say,

one of the historically most important islands of our region, from centuries before it had been discovered by Europeans, up till our own days.


Already at an early date in Statia’s history, the Pandts settled in

the island. One of my forefathers, Hendrik Pandt, was deacon in the consistory of the Dutch Reformed Church whose ruins can be visited today. In April 1778, the burghers of St. Eustatius elected him member of the Island Council. As a @escendant of these Dutch settlers of St. Eustatius, I am privileged to present to you the History of St. Eustatius.

Th. M. PANDT, Lieutenant-Governor

of the Netherlands Antillean Windward Islands.

Necklace, full sized, of Statian blue beads (Photo Jaap Keijzer).

eT ee ee e as


Indians on the Cultivation Plain Archeological research was first done at St. Eustatius in the

on year 1923. This research showed that the Indians chiefly lived the flat part of the island known as the Cultivation Plain, in isoof

and north-east lated, small settlements on Pisga, to the north

. the plantation Golden Rock, at Schotsenhoek and at Concordia

Research at a later period showed that this occurred around the

year 300 A.D.

Professor Dr. J. P. B. de Josselin de Jong from The Netherlands,

who conducted the first research, found traces of objects made of earthenware, stone, coral, shell, even things made of pumice, of

-. fish-bone and of crabs’ claws. The excavations were made layer by

Whole artifacts of pottery have not been found and most shard material is insufficient for reconstruction. However, Professor De Josselin de Jong succeeded in re- constructing parts of these large dishes. The photographs on this and the following pages of Indian artifacts are reproduced with permission from Archeological Material from Saba and St. Eustatius, by Prof. Dr. J. P. B. de Josselin de Jong: Mededelingen van het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden, 1947. All objects are to be found in the Museum.

layer at the places indicated by hatched lines on the accompanying map. A small village must have been located at B - C, about halfway between the two coasts, on the Cultivation Plain, therefore

suitable for both agriculture and fishing. All this took place on a small scale, since due to the lack of natural springs, the Indians had to catch all the water they needed when it rained. At the excavations the top layer of soil, about ten inches deep, was of little importance, since it had been repeatedly worked over. But underneath this layer many different things appeared: household objects, ornaments and some unidentified items. Just like everywhere else in the Caribbean, much use was made of shells.

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De Josselin de Jong writes: "The first finds show that the skill in shell-technique was considerably greater than in stone-technique,

and, whereas various kinds of artifacts appear to have been made

of shell but not of stone, the reverse is true only of implements for

.” which shell cannot possibly be used Successive Populations

It is obvious that in the course of time the island was not always inhabited

by the




like elsewhere,


peoples must have established themselves on the island in succession. In 1923 Professor De Josselin de

Jong came to the conclusion

that the age of his finds could not be determined with certainty.

Everything was in pieces and from these fragments he could not deduce anything concerning the cultural level. In the sixties, when it. was possible to make C - 14 investiga-

tion, Professor Dr. J. M. Cruxent from Caracas, in making a com-

parison, found much similarity between the material found at St. Eustatius and artifacts discovered at Puerto Rico. From this he inferred that the artifacts found in 1923 date back to about 300 A.D.

Enlargement of the part of the Cultivation Plain, where

the archeological research in 1923 took place. Point B produced the richest finds.

As everywhere in the Caribbean area, shell has beena much used material in St. Eustatius, both for domestic utensils and for ornaments. No. 1 is clearly recognizable asa chisel or axe-blade, nos. 2 and 3 also remind us of chisels, but are probably something different. No. 2 could have served as a spoon, but might also be an ornament. Nos. 4 and 6, having artificial round openings, probably were pendants”.

In times long past, river Indians migrated from the valley of the Orinoco to the East coast of Venezuela, where they learned about navigation from the Indians of an older culture, who were

residing in that area. Afterwards they gradually peopled the islands lying to the North of Trinidad. One must realize that in the course of many, many centuries before the discovery of America,

tribal migrations have taken place of which we know little or nothing and therefore, as already stated, the same Indians did not always live at St. Eustatius. In the year 1509 when the Spaniards began to colonize Puerto Rico, a third of the Indians on that island moved to smaller islands

in the neighbourhood, and so it is not impossible that a group of these migrating Indians from Puerto Rico might also have settle at St. Eustatius. | |

Pin or bodkin, made of bone. Origin unknown.


Owing to the lack of natural resources,

the island was


very popular. In any case when the Netherlanders occupied the island in 1636, they found no inhabitants here. Pumice utilized

Professor Dr. De Josselin de Jong found very few objects made of stone or coral, but he did find an artifact made of pumice, which in his opinion, could have been a grindstone. Pumice is found on the island, so that probably this grindstone was made on the is-

land itself. The same may not be said of the other objects.

Type of painting found on Statian artifacts, usually graphical decoration. Sometimes the white and reddish brown fields are separated by lines scratched in.

There are characteristic differences between the objects of earthenware from Saba and St. Eustatius. At St. Eustatius, red was used to a greater extent, and the decorative design was more subtle

than at Saba.



strongly indicate


relationship between the Indian population of St. Eustatius with that of Saba and the Virgin Islands. 11


Coral objects; top right: found on the surface of Golden Rock Estate; the three artifacts marked with x are cutting or grinding implements.

Colour and Baking of Indian Earthenware

The colours, principally used at St. Eustatius, were

red and

white, but yellow and dark brown were also used. Nevertheless

everything is generally coarse and crude with hardly any finesse.

Domestic utensil made of bone.


Specimens of surface finishing.

The pottery was sometimes baked so badly that it remained drab and grey inside and consequently was very fragile. The objects

made from shell, on the other hand, are superior and finished off in detail.

Fine specimen of a mortar or grindstone. The under side is rough; upper side is smoothed by use.


the concave



Estasia becomes St. Eustatius In 1493, Christopher Columbus made his second voyage. He sailed by St. Kitts and passed St. Eustatius on Wednesday, November 13th. He did not land there but he did name it, since on the oldest chart of the Caribbean, the Mapa Mundi of 1500, there stands at

the place where St. Eustatius lies, the puzzling name of S. delanrebe.

In explaining this name several theories have been advanced. The chart is rather indistinct, has sustained much damage and the

Caribbean area is but a little part of it, the most likely is that what was actually intended was S. (Maria) de la nie be.

ANTILLES: Map showing the probable route of the second voyage of Columbus

in the An-

tilles, 1493. On November 13 of that year Columbus must have seen St. Eustatius

and Saba, but he did not go ashore.



What looks to be an



’r” is actually an i”, while the word Mary is ‘| 9

missing through lack of space, and ee in the fifteenth century every one knew what was meant by "Our Lady of the Snows” (the translation in English), namely: the basilica of Santa Maria Maggi-

ore at Rome, the church where the overhead ceiling is said to be inlaid with the gold that Columbus had brought home from his first voyage. During the period of discovery, when few had a map or

chart at hand, names often passed from one island on to another and S. de la niebe (nieve) became the name of the island of Nevis. Indian name

Later seafarers called the island by the name used by the Indians which they picked up while sailing around. Naturally they could only vaguely reproduce the sound of that name, and their in-

terpretation was put on the next chart. According to a vocabulary compiled by the French missionary, Father Raymond Breton in 1665, St. Eustatius was known by the Indians as Aloi (cashew island). We have however not come across this name elsewhere and it is evident that the word St. Eustatius ishot derived from it. In 1523 the island was called Estasia, and on a chart iin 1556 it stands as Estaxia.

Since the names of saints were popular with the Spaniards, they made St. Anastasia or St. Eustatius of it. In the end, the latter

_ name carried the day. In 1595 on the famous voyage of Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins the island was still called Estazia by Richard Hakluyt. In 1627 the British State Feces made use of the name


and a travelling adventurer, Ambrosius Richshoffer, writes Estatio in 1632. The Netherlands author Johannes de Laet alternately refers to Eustathio, sometimes with and sometimes without Saint, and S. Eustachio. The Legend of Saint Eustatius

The man called Eustatius who lived around the year 100 A.D. was a general in the army of emperor Trajan of Rome, and while hunting in the neighbourhood of Tivoli, he happened to see a deer with a cross between its antlers. On account of this event he is often confused with Saint Hubertus, who had a similar vision. Ac-

cording to the legend, Eustatius, his wife Theopista and their two sons became Christians after this vision took place. About 130 A.D. the whole family was put to death by emperor account of their faith.

Hadrian on


Golden Rock mill. (S.).



. a ‘ fa Ni

el ee

The story of Saint Eustatius, which by the way is not historically documented, had become popular in the Middle Ages. Eustatius became one of the Fourteen so-called Helpers in need, a devotion

which was highly propagated in the fourteenth and fifteenth cen-

turies when epidemics of the plague ravaged

Central Europe.

us. Historically the island has nothing to do with Saint Eustati

Neither did a serious devotion ever develop here to him, even though Saint Eustatius was proclaimed patron saint of the island

in the nineteenth century. His feast day is on September 20th, but

us. it is hardly observed even in the parish of St. Eustati

To the left: Rear-admiral Wilem Crul’s tomb in the churchyard of the Reformed Church. Nearly two centuries the grave remained unmarked. In 1976 the Dutch general Mr. M. R. H. Calmeyer, after having visited the island several times, took the initiative to place a memorial plaque on the rear-admiral’s tomb. This was made possible by the Bureau of Navy History of the Dutch Navy.


(Photo Siegfried Lampe).




A Netherlands Colony Half-way between their twocoloniesin the New World, New Holland in Brazil and New Netherland in North America, the Netherlanders needed a supply station. For this purpose they occupied St. Maarten in 1631, where they hoped, at the same time, to be able to fight the Spaniards with whom they were at war. The Spaniards foresaw this and chased the Netherlanders from the island of St. Maarten as early as 1633. Thereupon the Netherlanders settled in the year 1634 on Curagao, situated in the South of the

Caribbean Sea.

A water-colour of John Stuart Heyliger, 1832, of the house Welgelegen (Well-situated), of which the ruin is presently designated as The Mansion. When the watercolour was made the house was inhabited by Johannes de Veer, who was Lieutenant-Governor from 1837 to 1854. One can see De Veer on horseback in front of his

house (to the left behind the hedge). The house burned down in 1893 in conse-

quence of carelessness with glowing charcoal. It was then inhabited by the couple

Every|De Veer (Catherina de Veer, Johannes’ granddaughter). The water-colour is in possession of General M. R. H. Calmeyer, The Hague, a descendant of the De Veers.


There was, however, a group interested in opening a trading station in the North of the Caribbean Sea similar to one in the South already established on the island of Tobago. This group consisted of merchants from Zeeland, which acquired from the Netherlands West India Company a patent to establish a so-called

patron or grantee-concession in the North of the Caribbean Sea. The Netherlands West India Company

could charge one of its

own sub-sections or Chambers or even an interested group, termed a patron or grantee, with the government of a colony. In the latter case, the participants or grantees had to finance the colony, but did not have to go there themselves. They engaged colonists instead. The grantees had the right to appoint a commander. Such colonists were therefore Europeans, who at first planted tobacco, cotton and sugar-cane themselves on rather small plots held in feud. Later on when agriculture expanded, they worked with the

help of Indian slaves and afterwards with black slaves. They worked under contract with the grantees in Europe who bought their products, which was certainly a well-considered re gulation. el de ai 5


MP Nea Ba

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The nationality. of the colonists was not’a.matter of concern and this is why we find people of all nationalities on the islands that

were settled in this way. Especially when the Company started to sell pieces of land in the eighteenth century and the possessors actually became owners, there came into being a powerful group of planters. This planto-

cracy, which had on each island a distinction of its own, but which as a source of power was very influential, was second only to the


Commander or Vice-Commander who was treated as if he were a



A great difference with the colonies directly governed in the name of the Company was the fact that in such a grantee-concession, the colonists and:also foreigners who had civil rights, had the

privilege of electing the members of the Council. ‘St. Croix or St. Eustatius

The Zeelanders had a colony on Tobago since 1628. Peter van

Corselles, the man who had been in control of it, was now charged to look for an island, lying more to the North of the Caribbean Sea. He was a man of practical experience in such matters. They had St. Creix.in mind where the Zeelanders had had a settlement since 1625 (where Christiansted now lies) together with the English (at present-day Frederiksted). The Dutch and the English, however, did not. get on well together; moreover, when St. Croix did not




come up to expectations regarding fertility and anchorages,


decided to go to St. Eustatius. This island was uninhabited so that

one would have no trouble from other colonizers, the roadstead was favourably situated with regard to the wind, 'the anchorag e was good and the island was suitable for trade with St. Kitts and Antigua. St. Eustatius became a grantee-concession under Jan Snouck, Abraham van Pere, Peter van Rhee and some other notable persons from Flushing, in the province of Zeeland, The Netherlands.

Fort Oranje in the eighteenth century: A: the commandant’s house (here Abraham

Ravené lived, the man who saluted the Great Union Flag); B: the Town Hall: C:

the Gate (over the gate one had the provost marshal’s quarters and on either side prison cells); D: the Barracks; E: the cistern; F: the powder magazine; G: the flag (here the flag was dipped in salute to the Andrew Doria in 1776 before the gun salute was given); H: the quay.


Fort Oranje in 1636 The colonization of St. Eustatius was consequently: an siusiirice

from Zeeland. On April 25th, 1636, parties from Zeeland took possession of the island. They were not the first Europeans, for the -_French had occupied St. Eustatius for some, time in 1629 and: had

built a little fort there. The group’ from Zeeland found the remnants of this fort, rebuilt it, mounted sixteen cannon and called it Fort Oranje. It is the present. fort, even though it has certainly

undergone changes in the course of time. Between 1636 and 1639 about 60 colonists settled on the island.

Tobacco from Statia in 11658x In the grantee concessions the colonization always prospered faster than in the colonies ruled by the Company. That is self-evident, as merchants tend to be better at minimizing costs and max-jmizing profits. They started the cultivation of tobacco at Statia right away and as early as July 1638, the first Statia tobacco was brought to market at Flushing. The cultivation soon made great strides and the first slaves who were Indians were imported, principally from Dominica. St. Eustatius colonizes Saba

Before long the inhabitants of St. Eustatius explored the sur-

roundings in search of fresh fish. Gradually they founded sub-col-

onies on Tortola (formerly Thertolen, which could be a Dutch surname), on Jost van Dyke, also a Dutch name and presumably named after one of the settlers from Zeeland, on Saba and on a few

other islands. Only the colony of Saba, founded about 1640, remained a Netherlands possession. As this island was colonized by St. Eustatius, it has always been administered by St. Eustatius as

a dependency during the whole colonial period with the exception

of a few years.!)

After the Dutch had been driven out of St. Maarten by the Spaniards in 1633, the island was retaken by Statians in 1648 for The Netherlands. Consequently also St. Maarten was administered by St. Eustatius during the colonial period.

1) SeeJ. Hartog, History of Saba, published by Van Guilder N.V., Saba, in 1975.


Entrance to Fort Oranje, of which the oldest parts date back to 1636. Inside the Fort we find the government buildings. In the rooms over the entrance is the Telephone Exchange. (Photo by Helen Marcus, New York).


From 1636 - 1816, peace was disturbed 22 times For about a century and a half, from 1636-1816, the history of St. Eustatius alternated between prosperity and depression. During this period the island changed hands no less than twenty-two times. The periods in which the Netherlands flag flew at Fort Oranje were by far the longest, but one can understand that life under a foreign flag, especially the British, left its imprint. All these changes in nationality were accompanied by destruction and plunder with consequent emigration and return of inhabitants, so that steady progress was out of the question. Such a possession was a nuisance to businessmen and after the grantees of St. Maarten had passed over their colony in 1672 to the Netherlands West India Company, Van Pere and his associates did the same with St. Eustatius and Saba in 1682/83. The island flourished somewhat as a direct possession of the Company, but soon managerial and technical complications set in to worsen the situation. The com-

-manders governed as if they were potentates. The system of emoluments promoted corruption and the means for the maintenance of authority were lacking. St. Eustatius never did enjoy true pros-

perity until 1760 when external circumstances resulted in such an extravagant prosperity that the enemy put an end to it as soon as

he could do so.

Fort Oranje, the central fort

Though Fort Oranje was quite properly fortified and armed, it proved to be insufficient for the defence, for all along the coast were bays and bights in which the enemy could land. Before the island was oecupied for 30-years by the Netherlanders, the British captured it. When alarm threatened, entrenchments were thrown up at the LATR TORN RSIS OMT TH WT TITS

most vulnerable spots and gradually simple forts developed in this way. Most of them were open on the side facing inland. Fort Oranje was completely walled in and always remained the

central fort and the seat of government. It was undoubtedly unusual in the relationship of church and state that, according to a

clause in 1700 the fort flag was hoisted as a sign that the Lord’s Supper was going to be celebrated. Stranger still is it that the soldiers had to vacate the church at certain times, for through lack of a barracks the garrison was quartered in the church.


Monument to the Dutch Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. The date on the obelisk (11-17 May 1665)is wrong and should be 14-17 May 1665. In the background the Netherlands, the Antillean and the Bicentennial flags flying. (Photo Jan H. Smid). |

Lieutenant-Admiral De Ruyter In the history of The Netherlands, lieutenant-admiral Michiel de

Ruyter is an important figure because he established The Netherlands as a maritime power. De Ruyter visited Statia on two occasions. The first time was in 1647 when he was in the service of the Lampsins Bros, merchants at Flushing, who maintained a cargo service with Brazil. De Ruyter was sailing as captain of the Sala-

mander, a ship of four hundred tons, with a crew of forty or fifty

men. How long he stayed on the island is not known. De Ruyter himself wrote that he left on August 7th and arrived at Flushing on September 17th, after a smooth crossing.


The second visit took place in 1665. De Ruyter was then in the service of the Admiralty of Amsterdam and was instructed to leave for the Caribbean in connection with the war with England.

In April 1665 an attempt to capture Barbados failed, but he succeeded in seizing fourteen English ships off Nevis and Montserrat. After that De Ruyter sailed for St. Eustatius, where the inhabitants were terrified to death, for they thought that an English

squadron had appeared on the horizon. On May 14th, De Ruyter arrived with his own twelve ships and

Michiel A. de Ruyter (1606-1676) is one of The Netherlands greatest naval heroes.

He visited St. Eustatius on two occasions, once as captain in the service of merchants from Flushing and again in 1665 as Lieutenant-Admiral. In 1676 De Ruyter was killed in action against the French near Stromboli, an island not far from Sicily. Three centuries later this event was commemorated during a ceremony in Fort Oranje on April 28, 1976. (S.).


the fourteen captured ones. It must have been a magnificent spectacle to view 26 ships with their handsome, lofty stern castles. On May 17th, a hurricane broke loose with much

thunder and

rain and that very evening De Ruyter departed with his fleet for the Bermuda Islands. In the year 1933, a De Ruyter monument was erected in Fort Oranje in memory of this visit (on which the date May 11th is erroneously inscribed). Construction offorts por, The commanders Johannes Heyliger (1743-1752) and Jan de Windt (1753-1775) have surrounded the whole island with a ring of forts and entrenchments.

After Fort Oranje, which always remained the chief, Fort Am-

sterdam - also called Waterfort - was the oldest. Very soon after it was built (the year is not known) it was put to use as a depot for

slaves. The

slaves imported from overseas




temporarily. In 1724 a slave house was built in the Waterfort for that purpose (page 50). In 1740, a guard-house, consisting of three rooms, was built at Tumble Down Dick Bay because often slaves and goods were clan-

destinely landed here.

In 1746, trade became of more importance. Several merchants began to build warehouses below on the Bay near The West India Company’s weighing house. Consequently Fort Hollandia was built

in 1748 on the Bay. At White Hook, the place where the enemy usually passed, was erected the Fort Dollijn (a corruption, we suppose, to be of

"D’Olinda”, the Netherlands colony in Brazil,-with which Statia

had contact).




At the southern point of the island there was the entrenchment

known as Back-Off (an anglicization of ’Bek-af”, which means “dog-

tired”, a good expression to describe how one would feel after the long walk from town to this location).

On the southern point of the Horse-shoe Mountain, Fort Nassau

was built, which was intended to command the town. It soon dete- |

riorated, but was reconstructed by the English, who named it Fort Royal.


Batteries on the North coast

Commander De Windt had the entrenchment known as Back-Off





Y iets BRS s PEs Ooh




he FH %



eo Ua

Restored Fort de Windt, built in 1753 by Jan de Windt, commander 1775. In the background St. Kitts can be seen. (S.).


oN Ae @

from 1753-

enlarged and named it after himself Fort De Windt. Ruins of this

fort can be seen today. He also had Fort Tietschy constructed. Both forts were open at the back. Along the Northern coast he erected the batteries known as Correcorrie, Lucie, Turtle Bay and Concordia.

There have also been little forts on Signal Hill and on the Cul-deSac Hill, but their origin is not known.

The forts were not systematically planned and were built without any engineering aid from the Netherlands West India Company. It was simply money thrown away. Not a single fort or entrenchment has been of great service. St. Eustatius surrendered

twenty-two times without striking a blow because the island was considered untenable. The Netherlands have never done very much to maintain neu-

trality on the vulnerable Caribbean islands or to secure the inhabitants from hardship. All entrenchments and forts around 1780 were in ruins so that Rodney had it very easy in 1781. It would, however, be incorrect to reproach the Netherlands West India Company specially with this neglect. The French is-

27 OS

lands and especially the British islands fared no better. On those

islands too fortifications would only be repaired somewhat in case of need. As soon as the danger passed, everything would be

neglected again.

Vagrants as soldiers

All these entrenchments and forts on Statia, big and small, were

obviously not used simultaneously. The garrison numbered at the most fifty-odd men of a low standard. At St. Eustatius the soldiers

were vagrants, gathered from different countries, again, as was

also the case in the French and English islands. These vagrants

had a liking for adventure; the force included boys 17 years old, as

well as old men 67 years of age. In addition to the garrison, there was the mounted and the unmounted civil guard. All men from 16 to 60 years of age, with the exception of Jews and those in specific. functions, were liable to military service.

Monument with plaque presented by the US Virgin Islands on July 4,-1976, in commemoration of the nine gun salute ordered by Governor Johannes de Graaff” in November 16, 1776 (S.).



The English Language replaces Dutch The Netherlanders who colonized St. Eustatius hailed from Zeeland, a southern province of The Netherlands, as we observed. They spoke the dialect of Zeeland, which in the seventeenth cen-

tury differed more from the official Netherlands language than it does today. Because many non-Netherlanders settled on the island in the early years of colonization and because St. Eustatius was in the midst of islands colonized by England, English soon became the common language of trade. Moreover, as the value of slaves was relatively stable, it often became customary to use slaves as

legal tender. In this way the number of English-speaking slaves increased at St. Eustatius. In contrast with the English, the French and the Spaniards, who imposed their language on the people they colonized, the Dutch customarily adopted the language of the colPT OPH, REN TENE ES RE ee Te SE

onized people, whereby Dutch remained as a sort of ruling language for the upper-ten. So the settlers on Curacao began to speak

Papiamento and those on St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Maarten spoke English. As Dutch was required for government papers and for the books of the Dutch Reformed Church the Netherlands language survived in Statia longer than in Saba. But already in the beginning of the eighteenth century, the man keeping the registers of births in Dutch used godfather instead of the Dutch equivalent peter, apparently without being aware of this error. Other documents also bristle with English words and sentences. In 1816 there was, with the exception of the few European Netherlanders, no one on St.

Eustatius who could express himself properly in Dutch. When Bishop Niewindt visited the island in 1836, he had little contact with

the Lieutenant Governor, as the latter could scarcely express himself in Dutch and the bishop did not know English. Indeed, the ever increasing contact with the surrounding islands and the United States of America has resulted in the wide-spread use of

English. |


having as its head a man sleeping under a canoe. The place where he landed is popularly called Jenkins’ Bay.


Education in English since 1976

In olden times instruction in schools was given in the English language. In 1933 it was decided to make a change and promote the Netherlands language because a career in the government and in many industries required a knowledge of Dutch. After the second world war, efforts began being made to switch teaching over to English. In the end, this trend became stronger

and stronger, and on April 22, 1976, the Executive Council, in an historical meeting in The Windmill restaurant, St. Maarten, with the heads of schools of the three Windward islands, decided that

from henceforth teaching would be given in English as this is now

most needed in practice. A course in the Netherlands language is then given also.

Visitors to St. Eustatius will find that the vernacular language of St. Eustatius is English and that the people look upon English as their mother tongue.

Oranjestad 25 years ago. Rudolph Timber behind the Guesthouse.







E FF ff


; ee


p =



Important trading-post The cultivation of tobacco with which the Netherlanders imme. diately began in 1636 (page 21) was so successful that by 1650,

tobacco plantations were even to be found on the slopes of the hills. Next to it came the planting of cotton which was also successful for in the year 1665 the pirate Morgan plundered 50.000 lbs of cot-

ton, giving us some idea of the extent of this culture. - The third ranking agricultural product was coffee. The people

worked diligently and the result was a growing prosperity. The French, who invaded the island in 1689, hauled away a booty of

13/4 million dollars, which was no small sum.







Buildings in Fort Oranje according to a photograph from 1924.

This prosperity was, however, of short duration. In 1709 French

filibusters landed at Tumble Down Dick Bay, hacked their way to the top and occupied Fort Oranje, where they came upon the Commander while he was tranquilly smoking his pipe. Out of joy at their easy conquest, the French wanted to fire off a cannon, but

not a single cannon was fit for use. Such was the state of affairs. Prosperity had come to an end.


Even the white colonists were so needy that they sometimes had no money to purchase shoes. The price of land was so low that

people even moved from Anguilla to Statia, because land was simply dirt-cheap. In 1705, before the French invasion, there were but 606 persons residing on the island, of which half were slaves. In 1715, however, the inhabitants numbered 1274 of which 750 were | slaves. | At St. Eustatius, this was thought to be the maximum number of people that could be settled there. For this reason and on ac-

count of the prevailing poverty, in 1717 the Statians turned to the

caa sap SAR ec eae ER nwi N

eae teSet

States General of The Netherlands with the request to be allowed

to colonize St. Croix again. In 1625 that island had been occupied

for a short time by Netherlanders, and as we have seen in chapter

E ae SNe



Panorama of Fort Oranje. The road below leads from the Lower Town


to the Up-

per Town. In the Golden Era there were hundreds of houses here, of which the remains can be seen here and there.


3 in 1636 when the Netherlanders were on their way to St. Eustatius, they had originally also thought of occupying St. Croix.

Indeed, St. Croix was in Dutch hands from 1643-1646, then it had become English, French and Spanish, but from 1695 it had been abandoned. In their petition the Statians stated that St. Eustatius was not able to support the growing population, whereas the colonization of St. Croix, according to them, would produce a favourable development of commerce. An answer to the request was ’ never received; in 1733 St. Croix became Danish and the economic situation of St. Eustatius changed for the better after the year 1730.

The sugar-trade When the cultivation of sugar-cane on the neighbouring islands was definitely on the rise, a start was soon made to cultivate this commodity at St. Eustatius also. And because this culture seemed

more profitable than any other, the plantations growing tobacco, cotton and coffee were converted to sugag-cane. Around 1740 tobacco, cotton and coffee vanished from the island. The cultivation of sugar-cane, however, requires much larger areas than are available at St. Eustatius, so that the high expectations for this crop were never realized. Nevertheless, commerce in sugar did become of great consequence. Many factors promoted the position of St. Eustatius as a trading station. The island lay on a busy shipping route which was favourable at a time when shipping was dominated by currents and winds. As it was situated on the edge of the Caribbean Sea, it was

a supply station for ships having crossed the Atlantic Ocean or after the long trip from the Eastern coast of North America as well

as for ships coming from Brazil. Even though there were no running streams, the people saw to it that sufficient rain-water was

saved. Provisions were imported and kept in stock. The island was situated in the midst of English, French and Spanish colonies where trade was restrained by monopolistic ties or where, as was the case in the Spanish colonies, the supply from the mother country was insufficient. All these West Indian colonies were in need of foodstuffs, wood and other products supplied from Europe, either by their mother-country, or, clandestinely by ships of other nationalities.

Around 1730 it was realized that many goods which used to be ~ imported from Europe could be obtained just as well and some-


Dutch merchantmen on the way from St. Eustatius to Martinique under convoy by three French men of war, were attack ed on November 3rd, 1758, by the British warship Buckingham, carrying 66 cannon and manned by 472 men. Louis XV had decreed free trade with the French island s and in the Seven Years’ war (started in 1756) the French islands were dependent on supplies from St. Eustatius. As insuf-

ficient Dutch warships were availa ble, the French provided protection selves. The abovementioned battle was won by the English.


times easier from North America. But in both instances Statia would serve as a port for trans-shipment and a food depot. Trade at St. Eustatius When





ad: i 1.=


to order


tuffs and timber from North America, some trading in tropical produce also developed with that country. But with the exception of rum, the export of tropical products to Europe has always been greater than to North America.

Nevertheless, the export of sugar to North America reached sizable proportions. Trade with these Engli sh colonies was prohibited to non-British ships, so that the sugar -cane planters on the French and Spanish islands proceeded to trans port their sugar to St. Eustatius, from where it was shipped to North America as if coming from the English islands. This smuggling took on enormous



proportions. Around

1770 Statia produced


600,000 lbs of

sugar annually, but it exported 20 million pounds. The ships that came to fetch the sugar from St. Eustatius transported all sorts of things: salted or dried meat or fish from North America, Canada and Newfoundland; maize and rice from Venezuela; beans, flour and hard tack from Scandinavia, Ireland and England; soft goods from The Netherlands; arms, powder and guns from France and Belgium, but often shipped via The Netherlands. Not to be omitted

the hundreds of slaves, destined to serve on the island itself as well

as for resale to the surrounding islands standing in need of work-

St. Eustatius is about 51|9 miles (9 km.) long and 21| 9 miles (41| 4 km.) broad. The island consists of two volcanoes which came into existence about 21,000 years ago and which have been dormant for the last 5,000 years. In the south in front in the photo stands the Quill, the highest top of which is over 1900 feet (600 metres) high and is called ”*Mazinga” (after which a well known shop in Oranjestad and a bungalow of the Golden Rock Resort

Hotel is named).

Visitors can


into the

crater; here the ground is overgrown witha lush and beautiful tropical rain forest. In the middle of the island we find a plain, called the Cultivation Plain, because the principal plantations were situated here in former times. Here also were found remnants of Indian inhabitation. In the northern part, called Little Mountain, where one can only go on foot, there is also a volcano, even though the western half of it disappeared into the sea. This volcano must also have been over 1900 ft. (600 metres) high. The mountain top "Het Bergje” (744 ft. — 227 metres) is the lava-filled crater of this volcano. The eruptions, more than 5,000 years ago, must have been terrific, because the lava burst forth out of the volcano under enormous pressure. (Photo by Norman Wightman).


ers for the sugar-cane plantations. The number of slaves involved — in the resale trade was naturally much larger than the number of Slaves remaining on the island. In the following chapter we shall] discuss these figures further.

Statian ship-owners with "Turkish passports”

Thus ships of all nationalities supplied the goods, but from the archives it is clear that even Statians themselves acted as shipowners, equipping ships and even fleet s of ships which sailed the seas as far as the Mediterranean. This happens to have been the case espec

ially with the Heyligers. Such Statia people even had at their disposal the so-called Turkish passports, which were document s issued by the government of the Republic of The Netherlands, whereby the ship, the crew, the passengers and the cargo were recommended to what was then known to be the Barbary State s, namely: Morocco, Algeria,

Tunisia and Tripolitania. These were

the coastal states

of the Mediterranean Sea, from where pirat es hunted people and cargoes and with whom the Dutch authoritie s maintained good relations for the sake of the fleet of merchant men sailing under the Dutch flag. These Turkish passports existed up to 1869. The Golden Rock War in Europe meant trade in the Cari bbean area. In the eight-

eenth century, a war

was going on practically all the

time in Europe. When England and Spain were at war, the Caribbean trade flourished for the N etherlanders, the French and the English colonists residing in what is now the United States. France herself was sometimes mixed up in a war, but that brought about no

change in Caribbean trading.



Under the monopolistic system then in force the peopleof one land were not allowed to trade with those of another, but St. Eustatius served as a clearing-house: everyone brought his goods ‘to our island and here they went from hand to hand. As aresult St. Eustatius was always well supplied after 1750. The only rival in the vicinity was St. Thomas (located close to Puerto Rico and supplied directly from Europe), that had become Danish in 1733. In view of its competitiv e position, import duties were abolished at St. Eustatius in 1756 and it became a free port.

St. Eustatius acquired the sobriquet of Diam ond Rock or Golden Rock to seafarers.


Export figures in 1779 During the flourishing period after 1760, the warehouses were crammed with goods. Through lack of storage, ships were in such demand that better prices could be obtained by selling the goods

along with the ship.

In olden times the citizens were obliged to have civil guard service. Photo of the _Statia militia around 1890. But few can still be recognized. On the balcony, fifth from the left: Marsy Hill; eighth: Mr. Martins; In the first row in front, standing,

the first man David Campbell Hill; the third: Engle Heyliger Pandt; the eleventh: Jacob Simon Dorner van Putten; the last man is J. H. J. Hamelberg, from 18861894 head of the school at St. Eustatius and at the same time Commander of the militia. Mr. Hamelberg later became the best known historian of the Netherlands Antilles.

Some idea of the extent of commerce during the Golden Era may be acquired by the rounded off figures of the export in 1779, to wit:

Sugar Coffee Tobacco Cocoa — Cotton Indigo -

24 million pounds 9 million pounds 13 million pounds

; : :

457,000 pounds 187,000 pounds 416,000 pounds


756,000 pounds

Rum Syrup

622,000 gallons 14,500 gallons

Together representing an amount of $ 3,700,000. Such was the












gunpowder, guns and the like. Long before the American War of Independence broke out, trade in munitions was enormous, because conflicts were always fought out among one another in the

Caribbean and piracy reigned supreme. Even at that time the pioneers of the British North American colonies needed to have © guns. For obvious reasons one does not find arms and other items that may be identified as such on the bills of lading. The whole

trade in arms was clandestine. The entire turnover is estimated to

be on a level with the common trade.


After 1760, the number of ships admitted yearly to Statia num-

bered between 1800 and 2700, reaching a maximum in the year 1779 of 3551 ships. These ships came from every conceivable seaport in Europe, Africa and North America. Strikingly few ships came

straight from The Netherlands;

in 1779, for instance,


number of those ships did not exceed 78. Population In the course of the eighteenth century, merchants of all nationalities established themselves on the island: Netherlanders, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Englishmen, Jews, but also Turks, Greeks

and Levantines, producing quite a motley picture, for from accounts of voyages of that period we gather that everyone dressed

in national garb. In general, all these people lived in harmony together. There was enough work to do and one could earn a lot. There was no

ground for conflicts, although since the society was so small in extent, quarrels among neighbours occurred daily. As early as the turn of the 18th century we find the first Jew settling on the island. The numbers of Jews increased steadily so that in 1781 there were

101 adult male Jews, which gives some

idea of the size of this group. The

Jewish community was able to

construct a magnificent synagogue (page 58).1) Besides Sephardic Jews there were also Ashkenazim on St. Eustatius, in contrast with Curagao, for instarice, where there were but few Ashkenazim. Between both Jewish groups on St. Eustatius there would sometimes arise differences of opinion about matters relative to the management of the synagogue, at which times the parnasim or wardens would invoke the aid of the government. In 1760 Com1) See J. Hartog, The Jews and St. Eustatius, the eighteenth century Jewish congregation Honen Dalim, 1976.


Crystal goblet from the Golden Era. One plainly sees the Orange Bay and the buildings in Lower Town and Upper Town with the flag in Fort Oranje. The goblet is to be seen in the Museum at Stellenbosch in the Republic of South Africa.


Watercolour in the possession of Mr. Dykers G. Hiil, Littlehampton, Sussex, England. Mr. Dykers is a descendant of Michael Dykers and a second cousin of Sieg Lampe. The surname has become first name. The watercolour dates from the second halfof the 18th century and is executed on cardboard. First a silhouette of the island was superimposed, taking in such feature s as the Quill, houses and so

forth. These, and the ships in the foreground, have been painted in by hand in watercolours. Naturally, one does not see this on a printed and reduced reproduction, but the watercolour is extremely accurate

and one can easily recognise

all houses. This watercolour is a copy of the sepia drawin g on page 92, or vice versa. There are some slight differences and the flags are flying into the opposite direction.

mander De Windt appointed a committee out of both groups of Jews in order to draft by-laws, so-called ascamo th. Society on St. Eustatius was therefore very cosmopolitan ; antisemitism did not exist, and the Jews could ordinarily participate in the municipal elections. On the other hand, they were not permitted to join the Civil Guard, a regulation prompted by practical motives, as on Saturdays they could not join the colours for religious reasons.

A real ’supermarket” The whole town of Oranjestad was one market and the most diverse wares, especially all sorts of soft goods lay expose d for sale in the shops and warehouses, which opened at the front. Next to rich drapery, sailor pants and shoes would be hangin g. Then one could see silverware, iron pots and shovels or French gloves, English yarn and French wines.


The Lower Town extended along the small coastal strip of land during the golden era. Here

and there fragments

of buildings can still be seen mountain side. (S.).

in the crumbling

The Lower Town comes into existence around 1760

We have seen that as early as 1746 several merchants


building warehouses at the Orange Bay. For their protection in 1748 Fort Hollandia was built (page 26). In 1750 St. Eustatius numbered 2315 inhabitants of which 1513 were slaves. More than a hundred trading-firms were established in that year. Often they worked just like in modern times with European workers sent out to the colonies. And so it happened that there was a lack of housing space in town. After 1760 several merchants started to build dwelling-houses on the bay also. It is true that it was much warmer here than in the Upper Town, and besides one ran the risk of being troubled by rough seas, but residing in the Lower Town offered the advantage of being right on

the spot when merchantmen arrived. Soon there was a double row of dwelling-houses and warehouses along the beach below the fort, extending for a mile and a half (2 kilometers). Some merchant houses on the bay were of palatial dimensions.


The Lower Town around 1935, when the road along the Bay was not yet concreted and many houses still had roofs. One also sees ruins of houses in the sea close to the coast. The ruin between the Gin House (to the right with a roof) and the sea is

the place on which the Old Gin House Hotel stands.

The house of a certain Vaucrusson toppe d them all. The rooms were richly upholstered and from the upper gallery a bridge spanned

the street to a garden laid out on the roof of a warehouse.

In Fort Oranje there were rooms for non-c ommissioned officers and gunners, a kitchen, a room for the valet of the commander, gun-rooms, a penal and civil jail. The town hall was also situated

inside the fort.

After the year 1750 there were, besides Fort Oranje, only

the following forts in use: Nassau, De Windt , Amsterdam (also called Waterfort) and Tietschy. The first two were practically destroyed by the hurricane in 1772. Both were rebui lt and enlarged. And so

Nassau got three extra rooms, which were used as the military


Number of inhabitants in the Golden Era It is obvious that with the prosperous expansion the number of inhabitant

s also steadily increased. In 1779, two years before

Rodney’s raid, the number of inhabitants exceeded 3000 — the exact


ee ne ES ee Seren en Re at ea Wer gb aa BT ANN Sih Ra i pee 5.31 sbe en ne ee ee


number being 3056 of whom

1563 or slightly more

than half the

total were slaves. The figures sometimes mentioned from twenty to thirty thousand find no support in the documents that have been










around this time and who wrote a book about St. Eustatius says

that, while taking a ride, he got the impression of a quiet land, something simply inconceivable in a small island like St. Eustatius if 20,000 people had been living there. The population figures that

Two St. Eustatius coins from 1771, going by the name of tokens, value respectively 1 and | 9 bit or real. From its original value of four dollar cents the bit sank to a value of 1|5 dollar cents. Effigy: a young goose feeding, symbol of the merchant who issued the coin and whose name was "Herman Gossling (= gosling or little goose). Legend: God bless St. Eustatius and Guyn (= governor).

have been preserved show that the number of inhabitants reached

the highest point after the island had recovered from the havoc sustained under Rodney. In 1790, St. Eustatius had 8124 inhabitants, of which 2341 were white, 643 freed men of colour and 5140 slaves. Shipbuilding yard at Gallows’ Bay

With a bustle of ships as described above, there naturally must have been also an opportunity for making ship repairs. That this took place with certainty we know from a British note to the States General in The Hague about the question of the salute to the American flag in 1776, whereby one of the reproaches men-

tioned concerned the repairs done to pirates’ ships at St. Eusta-


Probably ship’s repairs were done at Gallows’ Bay where there was a sloping beach in former times, so that ships could be hauled

up on it. The road from the Lower Town along the shore came to an end here, leaving a suitable place for a ship-yard and for ship-

chandlers, who could furnish everything a ship needed, including

cannon. The hurricanof e 1780 destroyeda great part of the Lower

Town, flooding it, so that the ship-chandlers’ business suffered. A

few months later, Rodney’s officers took away what they required.


Water-colour in the possession of GeneralM. R. H. Calmeyer, The Hague, without date or signature. Reproduction after an original painted by Samuel Fahlberg, made in 1829, "sitting ina boat two cables (= about 500 me tres or yards) from the shore”, as he wrote himself. Fahlberg was engaged with the construc tion of the first pier in 1828 and in 1829 he became a member of the then existing City Council. There are many reproductions of Fahlberg’s painting, all slightly different. The original is owned by Mrs. Morris Hill Merrit, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a far relative of the Statian Richardsons. The large building to the left at the top was the residence of Commander Jan de Windt (+1775); in the beginning of this century Theodore Godet Heyliger (fF 1935) lived here. Now it is a ruin, just beyond the infant-sc hool.

The rest was left alone and because a great part of the beach was washed away in the course of time, one can still see several cannon lying at the bottom of the sea.


Decline in agriculture and stock-breeding

We have already mentioned that the oldest crops disappeared around 1740. The growing of sugar-cane that took their place never became of much consequence. Just as agriculture and stock_ breeding were neglected at Aruba and Curacao in the twentie th century when everyone could earn much money at the oil refin-

aS Ga Pir NE NA SAME eis HEV at AN ELRh Soa IRE NEES aN ae ee


ils pi MAN i mit ch ai ls | Bi

eries by comparatively easy work, so formerly existing agricul-

tural and stock-breeding activities at St. Eustatius fell into decay.

Whoever had money became a merchant and who had none could

always earn the necessaries of life much better with less physical

exertion by entering the barter trade.

Arms and gunpowder It is self-evident that arms ‘and gunpowder have always been articles of commerce. On an island in a sea full of pirates and privateers a gun was an article in demand. When the American colonies began to resist England, the merchants saw to it that their stock of

guns, gunpowder and ammunition was maintained. As previously stated, figures about this commerce do not exist because although munitions of war were brought in and sold in great quantities, for understandable reasons they were not put on the bills of lading.

Much French and Belgian material was clandestinely shipped via Ostend and Amsterdam and sold along with the ship in the roadstead of St. Eustatius. Sometimes the cargo was not even landed.

Cherry Tree Guesthouse, on estate Cherry Tree, was built in 1970 by the owner of Canword’s Guesthouse in Oranjestad, when he leased his hotel in town to some Americans. (S.).


The commerce at St. Eustatius created such an excellent transatlantic connection that the correspondence of Benjamin Franklin with the secret American ambassador at The Hague was carried on via St. Eustatius in 1775. Also, agents for the Continental Congress of the North Americans

working in Europe

used to send

their mail via St. Eustatius for safety’s sake. Sometimes they travelled that route themselves.

Canword’s Guesthouse, dating from 1967, is one of the finest small hotels in town at St. Eustatius. In the country, Mr. Vaughan Griffith Canword owns another small hotel: Cherry Tree Guesthouse. (S.).



The Slave-trade When the cultivation of sugar-cane on the neighbouring islands increased, the demand for slave labourers likewise increased. It is

obvious that trade expanded to meet this demand. In the competitive struggle with the English slave-traders, the Netherlands West India Company itself began to supply and sell slaves. Already in 1675 St. Eustatius provided the French, Spanish and English islands with slaves. The ship-masters who brought products from these islands to St. Eustatius — sugar, as we saw, to

be shipped to North America as if coming from an English island — took back slaves. At the same time such ship-masters bought goods, especially foodstuffs supplied by American ships, hidden in the water casks to elude the payment of duties. The captains would make the Customs officers believe that drinking water for

the slaves was in the casks. The crew and the slaves drank a bit less on the voyage... The slave-trade was always coupled with the goods-trade which in this case was the sugar trade. For instance, the sugar supplied by French ships was even paid for in slaves. The slave-trade in St. Eustatius had an illegal character and was not based on an ”asiento” or contract; on the contrary, incidentally St. Eustatius was used to palm off on the French and English islands the inferior slaves, which were not good enough for official transactions via Curagao. St. Eustatius naturally also had an importation of its own straight from Africa. In 1730 trade on the African coast was declared free, so that the

already mentioned participation in the trade by the Company was doomed. The Company could not compete with private trade. Very soon from two to three thousand slaves were supplied annually, almost all in transit evidently. Sometimes the slaves did not even - come ashore but were transferred from one ship to another. The Dutch slave-trade worked so efficiently that one could buy a slave at St. Eustatius for the sum of $150 to $200, which was 20% cheaper than at Jamaica. Possibly efficiency was attained because the slave-trade was carried on on a small scale by the Dutch. Of the total number of


slaves that was brought over from Africa to the Western hemis- |

phere no more than 5% was conveyed by Dutch ships. The English 7] slave-trade was by far the largest. 7 Slave house in the Waterfort

Slaves that went ashore from aboard had to be examined. If they _

were ill, they were

taken to a sick-bay, since a sick slave is not

marketable. The healthy ones were allowed to stretch their legs on land, but slept aboard through lack of accommodation ashore. In 1726 a slave house was


built in the Waterfort with a 4

capacity for 450 persons. The slave-trade did not flourish long. After 1730 it suddenly rose but it declined as early as 1740. After a short revival during the American War of Independence, the free trade in slaves was forbidden at St. Eustatius in the year 1784. Nevertheless the last slaver called at St. Eustatius in 1793.

a — © _ —

Economic importance

The slave-trade was naturally of great importance economically — because food and clothing had to be supplied for the great numbers |

Slave-house of 1724. Capacity 450 slaves; the men’s quarters were upstairs; the women’s quarters downstairs. The building measured 54 by 21 feet (16.40 by 6.40 metres).


Sldée-traders in the roadstead of St..Eustatius, according to a water-colour by J. Veuijster. The original is to be found in the collection Atlas van Stolk Foundation,

Rotterdam. Size: 121) by 19 inches (31 by 50 cm.).

of slaves passing


By contract,




dressed, and an underfed slave did not bring in much money. Escape to Puerto Rico

The urge for freedom is inborn, and it often happened that slaves tried to escape and even succeeded. Sometimes slaves fled to Puerto Rico. This island was Spanish, and Spain would not return escaped slaves if they said that they came to be baptized. In spite of protests to the Spanish ambassador in The Hague, Spain held the point of view that brothers in the faith should not be sent to heretical lands. Naturally, this was a hypocritical answer, for the Spaniards were especially pleased with this increase of cheap workers. Today the reports of these escapades are somewhat comical. In 1750 a ship named the Young Elias lay in the roadstead. When no others were aboard, the four slaves remaining aboard, hoisted sail

and made for Puerto Rico to be baptized. ”And four of my best slaves to boot,” lamented Commander Johannes Heyliger.


To St. Kitts

Especially after 1834 when slavery was abolished in the Englis h colonies slaves tried:to escape to St. Kitts, by raft or little boat,

where they would be free, because there was no slaver y anymore. Negro-path

The name Negro-Path on the island reminds us of one of the

former escape routes of slaves. Figures

After 1700 the number of slaves was always greater than that of the whites and the freedmen of colour combined. On Curacao and Bonaire the number of slaves was from one third to one quarter of the population; on Aruba one-fifth, on St. Maarten and Saba about © half of the population. This proportion increased to four-fifths in St. Maarten during the Golden Era. On the other hand, the propor-

tion was quite different on the real sugar islands. On Antigua and © Tobago there were 5 times more slaves than whites and freedmen:; on Jamaica even 81/9 times as many. Here are some absolute fig© ures for purposes of comparison: in 1715 St. Eustatius numbered ~ 524 whites and freedmen against 750 slaves: in St. Maarten 361 whites and freedmen against 244 slaves; in Saba 336 whites and

freedmen against 176 slaves. In 1790, the greatest number of” slaves on St. Eustatius was reached, namely: 5140 against 2984

whites and freedmen. In St. Maarten there were at that time 4230 ©

slaves against 1290 whites and freedmen.

Abolition in 1863

In 1808, Great Britain and the United States forbade traffic in —

slaves and as soon as The Netherlands were again free in 1814 af- |

ter the Napoleonic wars, it joined them in this respect. Never-

theless, numbers of slaves were still sold after that date.

After 1816, the regulations for the treatment of slaves became

— ;

more and more humane.

When France abolished slavery in 1848, difficulties appeared at — St. Maarten, whereby the Dutch slaves simply had to run down ~

the mountain path to Marigot in order to be free. This had a back-

lash in St. Eustatius where a revolt broke out which had to be suppressed by the use of arms. Some lost their lives on this




In 1863, slavery was also abolished by The Netherlands and 1138 slaves acquired their freedom at St. Eustatius. Their owners were

indemnified with f. 200 per slave. Blue beads

Although the slave-trade has been a matter of the past for almost two centuries, blue beads, which are also called slave beads, are still being found on the beach of St. Eustatius. Practically without exception these beads are shaped like a five-sided prism. Once in a while an oval shaped one is found. They are made of glass, the colours being deep green, blue and opaline. They are

found in various sizes from 1/g inch to an inch. Similar beads, sometimes six-sided, existed in prehistoric times,

in antiquity, in Asia and in Oceania. nothing in particular.

By themselves

they are

An examination of some beads found in St. Eustatius, which was

done at our request in the radiation laboratory of the University of California where they specialize in glassbeads, showed that the beads were made in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Undoubtedly, it is curious that many of the Statia beads show similar-

ity with beads found in the Indian archeological sites in the United States.


Fort Oranje Street, to the left the Gertrude Judson Library; to the right the wall

of the Guesthouse; in the background the grassy plain in front of Fort Oranje.


The beads with irregular facets generally date back to the eighteenth century; in the nineteenth century, mechanization came into being and the facets became more regular. Beads appear to be quite typical of the colonial era, during which time trade beads were extensively used in Europe for export to the so-called "savages”.

But few complicated pieces of equipment were required for their

manufacture. Wherever there were glass factories, bead factories

could also be found. Semi-finished products and even residue were used as raw materials and even ground bottles were used. Beads

made in the nineteenth century are, as already stated, much more

regularly shaped because they simply were made of long five or six-sided glass tubes. In Amsterdam, Middelburg and in the Rhineland there were bead factories in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In Ghana, in the vicinity of Accra, glass beads are still being made according to the traditional method. , There is no certainty as to the origins of the beads found at St. Eustatius. The opinions published in this respect are nothing but suppositions. Huge quantities of glass beads were imported into Africa during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the bead trade is usually considered in close connection with the slave-trade, which explains the term "slave beads”. How the beads have come to be found in St. Eustatius is not yet known. Whether they were sold directly on the island or were brought over from Africa by the slaves, is not known. Though there were large slave exchanges in the Caribbean area during the seventeenth and part of the eighteenth centuries in Curagao, Jamaica and St. Eustatius, beads have only been found in the latter island.




Imposing ruins Two imposing ruins remind us today of the Golden Era: the synagogue Honen Dalim and the Dutch Reformed Church. The Synagogue

Visitors to St. Eustatius today do not find a Jewish community. When Dutch Brazil was conquered by the Portuguese in 1654, the Jews were driven out from there. A good many of them went to Amsterdam, but many longing again for the tropical climate, migrated from there to the Caribbean, where some of them settled

in Curacao. From here some went to visit or stay in St. Eustatius. As early as 1660, a certain Abraham Israel Henriquez, from Livorno in Italy, met a fellow Jew named David Seraiva, supercargo of a vessel, on which he transported horses from Curacao to St. Eustatius.

Ruins of the house at English Quarter, formerly called Ruimzicht (Broad view) or Willemstad.


40 FEET (12,75 m)

socseccoosaeonsenasseesesss:: eocone



Path Synagogue


Ground-plan of the synagogue Honen Dalim.

Among the migrating merchants there were several Jews. Among the victims of the predatory expedition by French filibusters in 1709 there were also Jewish merchants. After Cassard’s demand for tribute in 1713, trade decreased so

much that some Jewish merchants left the island and went to Curagao where it soon proved that St. Eustatius was richer in opportunities and many Jews returned again. Among a total of 520 whites in 1722 there were 6 adult male Jews on the island, with

their wives and children making 21 persons together. This number increased steadily: in 1781 there were

101 Jewish men,

so that

there were about 350 Jews in all. In any case, the number of Jews at St. Eustatius had become so large in 1730 that the Jewish community in Amsterdam presented a petition to the States General in The Netherlands asking that Jewish immigrants at St. Eustatius should be permitted the same liberties as the Christians. This was granted, and the Jews were even exempted from service in the Civil Guard on Saturdays. The Statian Jews also had the right to vote in the election for the mem-

bers of the Council, a privilege the Jews on Curagao did not enjoy. After 1730, Jews continued to settle at St. Eustatius. Most of them


eee SO On a

Ruin of the synagogue Honen Dalim, built shortly after 1738 and renovated after 1773. The Jews gradually left the island after 1795. (Photo by Jan H. Smid).


came from Amsterdam. One finds distinguished names among them. In 1737 permission was asked of the authorities in The Nether. lands to buil

d a synagogue.

1737 is

also presumably the year the Jewish cong regation was founded. It was given the name of Honen Dalim, which means "who shows mercy to the poor”,

In 1739 permission was granted to build a Synagogue on condition

that it be put in such a place that the Jewi sh religious services should not hinder those of the Christians . The synagogue was built where the visitor finds the ruins today. It was a building measuring 42 by 28 feet (12.75 by 8.50 m.), constructed from yellow bricks, which had been brought from The Netherlands as ship’s ballast. The build ing was situated on the Synagogue Path, a name used even today for the path leading to the synagogue. The walls are about 23 inches (60 cm) thick and about 23 feet (7 m.) high. The floor and the roof have

disappeared, but a staircase against one of the walls leads us to conclude that there was a gallery for the ladies. i

Most of the Jews at St. Eustatius were Sepha rdic Jews whose forefathers hailed from Spain and Portugal. Nevertheless there was also quite a lot of Ashkenazic Jews from Central and East Europe. Although there were more Sepha rdic than Ashkenazic Jews on St. Eustatius, the latter stil] formed a rather large group — proportionately, the group of Ashkenazic Jews on St. Eustatius, compared to the Sephardic Jews, was larger. than at Curacao — so that conflicts between the two groups cropp ed up at times. Sometimes such a eonflict became so intense that the secular authorities had to step in (see page 40). | 3 Honen Dalim kept up close contacts with the Jewish congregation at Curacao, Mikvé Israel. Since the

Jewish community

on St. Eustatius was not particularly large, it probably did not have the means to build the synagogue. Consequently they asked for help of


Israel, where

at the time a collection was

building of the synagogue at St. Eustatius.


for the

Even after the building of the synagogue the Jews at St. Eusta-

tius continued to receive financial help from Curag ao. Honen


also maintained



the congregati

on Shearith Israel in New York. In August 1772 a hurricane caused so much damage to the Synagogue and houses of Jews, that the mem-


Jewish bers of the governing board of Honen Dalim appealed to

communities of Amsterdam, Curagao and New York. Shearith Is. rael contributed 38.10.6 pounds sterling While the rebuilding was going on, services were

held in the

‘house of one of the members. In November 1772 the present syna-

gogue was ready and Honen Dalim engaged Ribbi Ezekiel as haz-

zan or cantor; the New York congregation had recommended this Ezekiel, who is the oldest known hazzan at St. Eustatius.

Although Admiral Rodney treated the Jews very poorly in 1781,

_ the congregation survived this trial (see page 92). In 1790 157 Jews

were living on the island. Hazzan was Jacob Robles, who died in 1792, and although the congregation at Curagao had been solicited

to co-operate in looking for a successor, it seems that Robles had no successor. For reasons that we shall explain later on, the island headed for a period of economic decline in the year 1795. During the following years, the greater part of the merchapts left the island, among whom there were also Jews. Many established themselves at St.

Thomas and the beautiful synagogue fell into decay. From the preserved population returns, it appears that there were but five Jews on the island in 1818. The last of these, a cer-

tain Mrs. Anna Vieira de Molina, a widow from Surinam, died in 1846. With this the

Jewish history at St. Eustatius came to a close.

In 1973, less than 200 years after the death of the last cantor, a group of volunteers from the Caribbean Mitsvah Corps cleaned the ruins of the synagogue. This group was under the guidance of rabbi Leo Abrami from Berkeley, California, who had worked from 1967 to 1970 on Curacao and had visited St. Eustatius during that period.


The Jewish cemetery is to be found at the periphery of Oranjestad. Here among the gravestones there are some that are richly embellished, although even they are slightly damaged. The oldest is dated 1742, the latest 1843. The Caribbean Mitsvah Corps which cleaned the synagogue, also cleaned the Jewish cemetery and wired it in. Through these activities a mikvah or ceremonial bath was discovered on estate Princess, not far from the cemetery. Such mikvahs were used by Jewish women as part of a prenuptial ritual.


In the Jewish cemetery a number of tombstones are preserved, of which some are in good condition. This fine stone covers the grave of Rachel Pereira, who died in 1787 at the age of three. Her father was the Treasurer of the Jewish congregation. (S.).

One of the graves in the Jewish cemetery belongs to Samuel

Hoheb, one of the two signers of the protest by the Statian Jews that was sent to the Parliament in Londen after Rodney’s action.

Church of 1774 Since 1636 there have been several churches at St. Eustatius,

but one after the other they were destroyed by hurricanes. After


a a# 8 & : ;

The mikvah or Jewish ceremonial bath found again in 1973. In the eighteenth century the mikvah served as a prenuptial purification bath by the Jews. (Photo by Jan H. Smid).


250 feet (76 m)


Direction Fort Oranje



Main entrance

m) (27 feet 89 ——————_—_—_» 30 feet (9 m)*” Cemetery

€ 33 feet (10 m)>

Direction Whitewall es

Ground-plan of the Reformed Church.

the church, which was built in 1755 had fallen victim to the same hurricane in 1772 that we said had severely damaged the synagogue, the congregation of the Reformed Church decided on a representative building that would defy the centuries. The citizens, who had become rich in the meantime, did not want to be second to the Jewish community. From the preserved documents we know that this was the principal reason why they proceeded to build such a large building. The church was begun in 1774, and in 1775 or in the beginning of 1776 it was completed. Its ruins can be visited today. The building is 89 feet (27 m.) long and 33 feet (10 m.) wide.

The tower was formerly higher than the one that stands there now, because capping the stone tower was a high eight-sided


wooden roof. Consequently the tower reached a height of 63. feet (21 m.). It contained a clock that had a face on all four sides. The

church building and the tower were plastered white, but the wooden roof of the tower was blue. The tower could be seen with the naked eye from Saba. Inside the church was quite sober. There was no decoration and not even an organ. The fixed benches were high and painted dark. The walls were faced with wood and were also dark in colour. Someone who had visited the church wrote that the interior presented a sombre aspect just as was customary everywhere


Dutch Protestantism in the 18 th century. Around the building we find the churchyard with 72 monumental graves, which generally are costly executed.

Elsewhere on the island one still can see two old cemeteries where prominent Statia families are buried, the Old Church Cemetery and the English Church Cemetery. .


SL as

The Protestant merchants left the island also, and when in 1792

the minister departed, a new one was not appointed. Calvinistic - Protestantism disappeared completely from St. Eustatius and was succeeded by Methodism.

R e

Communionsilver from the former Anglican Church, presently in the Royal Tropical Institute at Amsterdam. All the vessels are inscribed with: The English Church of St. Eustatius, 1771.


In 1856 an attempt was made to revive the old Reformed Church . by appointing a minister with government help. This attempt was not successful and in 1860 the minister who had been sent out to the colonies departed. The church has not been in use since then, The congregation, whose members would have kept the building in repair, did not exist any longer. The church got more and more dilapidated. Indeed, the tower was considered so weak in 1844 that the heavy bell was removed for safety’s sake. In 1895 this was given to the Methodists in whose church it still hangs.

Ruins of the Dutch Reformed Church of 1774| 75 with churchyard. The large tomb in the foreground is of Joseph Blake, an Irishman, who died in 1776.



Salute to the Great Union Flag Prosperity around the close of the eighteenth century (chapter 5), aroused envy among the rival English. When, in addition to

this, it became apparent that St. Eustatius was rendering assist‘ance to rebelling colonists, England proceeded to make reprisals. A few times Dutch ships were captured inside the territorial waters of St. Eustatius by the English. Nothing was actually done

against this. In 1750 Statia suffered the loss of half a million dollars inthis manner. That one could put up with such a loss proves how eat the profits were. In 1738 the island lost to British Admiral John Moore

no less

than 43 barks, 15 schooners, one large two-masted ship and three

other boats with their cargoes, estimated together at 441,491 dol-

lars. In 1759 the English took some ships again under the coast of

Tile panel representing the Salute to the Great Union Flag by J. L. D. Vogelsang at the New York World’s Fair 1939, executed by Heystee’s Tile Industry Inc. Amsterdam. After the termination of the World’s Fair the tile panel was placed in the Antillean section of the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam.


and 3 St. Eustatius; these ships were manned by freed menof colour mulattoes from Curagao. The unfortunates were taken to St. Kitts, where they were publicly sold on auction and consequently became slaves.

American War of Independence

When the American War of Independence broke out in 1775, St.

Eustatius was provided with all that the Americans needed. The English campaign against St. Eustatius became sharper and

/ “ss >». Sharper and took on the nature of a blockade. Even so, trade went



Eo _o ORFANG profits increased. The margin of profit on gunpowder was

to the tune of 120% in 1776. The numbe ing-at:S Eustatius steadily increased; in 1768~ ared Sometimes there were 200 ships together in the roadstead.B

after the outbreak of the war with the North American colonists,

the British blockade of our island became so sharp that the number of ships dropped to a mere 743 in 1775. Weapons and gunpowder, manufactured in Sweden, in the Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium), and in West Fries-

land and Zeeland

(The Netherlands),


shipped via Ostend

(Belgium) and Amsterdam to St. Eustatius. As early as October

Ist, 1774, the British ambassador in The Hague, Sir Joseph Yorke,

requested the States General to forbid the exportation of war materials. In 1775 such a prohibition really came into force, but no effective measures were taken for the observance of the prohibition. Commander Johannes de Graaff

During Commander Jan de Windt’s long administration, this clandestine trade in arms originated and flourished. He died in

1775 and in April 1776 Johannes de Graaff — born in 1729 of

wealthy parents at St. Eustatius — was appointed as his successor. _ De Graaff had been educated in The Netherlands and had returned

~ to the isla of his nd birth and was married there to the daughter of the vice-commander of St. Maarten, Abraham Heyliger. As commander of St. Eustatius De Graaff became his father-in-law’s



The commander was addressed as governor, so that we find De

Graaff designated as governor also.

Commander De Graaff was very rich and was both a merchant

and a planter. A quarter of all privately owned land at St. Eusta-


| | |

Sarasa aac atet


This plaque, presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was unveiled on December 12th, 1939, at Fort Oranje. (S.).

tius belonged to him. He possessed 300 slaves. From his business house he earned 30,000 dollars a year, an enormous amount in those days. The function of commander, which did not bring him in more than 500 dollars a year, he therefore did not need. But the rich farmers on the island formed an oligarchy. One of them, in this case the richest one, was also the commander. Moreover they extended protection to one another; for example: together with De Graaff they formed the Council; together they also formed the Church consistory. Both the government and the administration of justice were in their hands, and as members of the Church con-

sistory they were charged with the supervision of the daily life of the rest of the population.


Portrait of Johannes de Graaff, 1729-1813, commander of the island from 17761781, froma

painting in the State House at Concord, New Hampshire. On June 9th,

1837, Governor Isaac Hill sent the following message to the House of Kepresentatives: From Mr. F. W. Cragin, a native of this State, and a resident of Surinam, I have received a portrait of John de Graaff Esq., formerly governor of the Dutch West Indies Island called St. Eustatius, intended as a present to our State. On June 13 this message was referred to a joint House-Senate Committee. On July 4th, the House voted to accept the portrait and place it in a conspicuous place in the Senate Chamber in the State House. At the moment the painting is on the ground floor of the State House, around a corner, and is not identified in any manner.



and testimonies





which have been preserved, portray him as a tyrant. Once when

the butcher refused to furnish meat at the price determined by De Graaff, he was fined. In the eighteenth century, the rack was of

course still an admissible instrument at trials, but in 1777 De Graaff allowed a youthful cabin-boy — aceused by a captain, note well, for something he had said in a bar — to be hoisted up by tackle with his hands tied behind his back and a heavy shot around his neck, in order to extract a confession. The man telling us this says in addition, that the tackle was fastened in the wall, so that the case of the cabin-boy was surely not unique. De Graaff was more of an opinionated despot than a capable governor. Those who dared to contradict him could reckon on confinement in prison. This happened to Dirk Groeneveld who had contra-

dicted the President Commander during a meeting of the Council of which he was a member.

Gunpowder shipped as boxes of tea


During De Graaff’s administration the salute to the Great Union Flag of the new United States of America took place on November | 16th, 1776. received strict Graaff De commander, as appointment Onhis orders from The Hague to see to it that the prohibition of weapons and gunpowder be observed. But nothing happened, for the trade with Amsterdam amounted to millions in smuggling and the West India Company directors in Amsterdam were as supreme as the planter-merchants of St. Eustatius. De Graaff himself was a merchant and hisincome as commander was negligible, as we have ‘seen. For that matter, little or nothing could be controlled, for the island did not have at its disposal sufficient custom-house officers to really inspect everything that was imported. Gunpowder was shipped in boxes labeled as tea or as bales of rice. The Salute

So matters stood seven months after De Graaff assumed his duties as governor, when on November

16th, 1776, an armed brig-

of-war Andrew Doria appeared in the roadstead. Naturally the Congress at Philadelphia did not have vessels built as warships at its disposal. The main point was that the com-

manders were in possession of valid commissions. On October

10th, 1776, the Congress instituted the rank of Captain of the



Navy. As such were appointed John Paul Jones and Isaiah Robinson, the latter for the Andrew Doria, a brigantine that did not look like a warship by outward appearances, but did rank as one. The commandant in charge of the duties as sentry in the fort, Abraham Ravené, and commander De Graaff therefore did not know and

Print of St. Eustatius, shortly before 1772. The artist, Niccolo Mitraini, from Pisa,

did not personally know the island and therefore it was drawn from another picture. The engraver, Giovanni Ottaviani, hails from Rome, but worked especially in Venice; he died in 1808. Explanation: 1 — Fort Oranje (on the right half, pay attention to the flag). 2 — Spaccatura con un lago d’acqua, which means, chasm with puddle, the figure stands by the Quill; Mitraini who did not visit the island himself, judged it to be alittle lake on his model; 3 — the Lower Town; 4 — (far right) the custom-house; 5 — the Roman Catholic Church;

“private” is written by it; in the

second half of the eighteenth century there was indeed a R.C. Church for foreigners; 6 — (about the middle) residence of the governor; 7 — (to the right, just under the top of the Quill) the Reformed Church. As this church has no tower, it must be the church from 1755, which was destroyed by a hurricane in 1772, so that the print must have been made between 1760 (the founding of the Lower Town) and 1772; 8 — (tip-top, to the right of the governor’s residence) the English Church, therefore the one of the Anglican community, established in 1752; 9 — the roadstead; 10 — (to the right) the slipway for unloading ships, as can be observed without pier or quay at about the same place where the new pier has been built in 1975| 76.



*tt 4s 3

also could not know of the status of the arriving ship or of her commander until the latter came ashore to show his credentials. The Andrew Doria carried the Great Union Flag, the flag of the rebels, who had just proclaimed the new republic, and dipped same as a sign of greeting. This Great Union Flag was accepted at Somerville, Massachusetts, and instituted in honour of the army of

the new republic. The present flag, the Stars and Stripes, did not exist yet, as the same was only instituted on June 14th, 1777, more than half.a year after the salute at St. Eustatius.

The facts When the Andrew Doria dipped her flag as a sign of greeting, Ravené answered the greeting by dipping the Dutch colours. This counter salute the Andrew Doria followed up with a gun salute. Ravené, who did not know very well what to do because a ship

with this flag had never before appeared in the roadstead, went to De Graaff for orders. The commander allowed a counter salute to be given, consisting of two guns less thafi:the Andrew Doria had

fired. There is uncertainty about the number of shots in the salute.

Ravené himself declared that he fired nine shots in conformity with the instruction. According to others, the Andrew Doria had fired thirteen shots, and Ravené thus eleven.

This is what happened.


De Graaff consequently gave instructions for a counter salute in

the form of a courtesy towards any strange ship which, as it presented itself in the roadstead, did not noticeably have the status of a warship of an independent power, for then the salute would have to be answered by the same number of shots as the gun-salute of the ship. There were no instructions whether to greet or not, let alone

acknowledging the flag of the rebels. What happened on November 16th, 1776 at St. Eustatius did not deviate from the general custom. Shortly before, on October 25th, a North American schooner carrying the Great Union Flag was likewise greeted by the rival Danish island of St. Croix. The ship came to buy gunpowder and, as is the way towards good customers, some courtesy had to be shown. The greeting at St. Croix to a merchantman took place about three weeks before that at St. Eustatius and is, as far as is known, the first time the Great Union


Flag was greeted abroad.!) At. St. Eustatius however, the Great Union Flag was flown by a commissioned American naval vessel. De Graaff, who had surely been informed about what his competitors had done, gave orders for a greeting of welcome, for such ships like the Andrew Doria always came to buy arms and ammunition. Whether De Graaff knew that shortly before the American colonies had proclaimed their independence is not known, but in a busy seaport like Statia, he must have heard something. At St. Eustatius lived several agents in contact with the insurgent colonies and political supporters abroad, so that it was almost certain that people on the island were well informed. But officially De Graaff knew nothing. According to some writers, Robinson had brought a copy of the Declaration of Independence for De Graaff. If this is the case, no document proving this has ever been found. Besides the delivery would have taken place after Robinson had come ashore, thus after the greeting. No recognition

Of course a recognition of the United States as a sovereign state is out of the question. The counter salute was insufficient for this and not in accordance with protocol. Moreover De Graaff, as local administrator of a colony, had not the slightest competency to recognize the sovereignty of foreign states. This was the exclusive competency of the States General of The Netherlands. From the American agent of St. Eustatius, Abraham van Bibber, we know that Robinson was received by the commander


1) In her book "What so proudly we hail”, 1975, page 7, Mrs. Florence Lewisohn even lists three first” salutes. Before the salute to the flag flown by a schooner by St. Croix by the Danes, she found a salute to the flag, flown by the US brig Nancy, anchored in the harbour at St. Thomas: the Nancy, flying British colours, was almost ready for departure, loaded with gunpowder and arms, when another ship, also flying the British colours sailed in with the news of the imminent independence and a description of the new flag being used by Washington. The Nancy’s captain Hugh Montgomery was so elated that he had a flag made as soon as he could. Later that day upon the arrival of the. Danish governor and other people, Montgomery hauled down the British flag, hoisted the Great Union Flag and directed a salute of 13 guns by his own cannon. No exact date is known, but according to Florence Lewisohn the event took place mid-1776. It is clear that this was not a salute given by foreign officials.


Signature of Commander Johannes de Graaff.

the people with due courtesy. The merchants considered it an honour to be introduced to Robinson for he was the representative of a market of much promise. Of course the English were apprised of these events. Sailor Trotman runs away ©


Aboard the Andrew Doria there was a seventeen year old sailor, a certain John Trotman, a young man from Barbados who was studying at Princeton College in Philadelphia, and who had been pressed, while wandering with a friend down to the river front, for

service on the Andrew Doria. Together with two other Englishmen and a Frenchman, he ran away in the roadstead of St. Eusta-

tius and escaped to St. Kitts. Here they told Craister Greathead, president of the Council at St. Kitts, what had happened. Some English captains, who were in the neighbourhood when the Andrew Doria arrived in the roadstead of St. Eustatius, confirmed


story. At first Greathead did nothing.

The Baltimore Hero in action This attitude changed a short while later, when a second American ship, the Baltimore Hero, also flying the Great Union Flag from the masthead, captured an English merchantman on December 1st, 1776, when she left the roadstead of St. Kitts and - was sailing about three miles off the coast of St. Eustatius. The American ship put their own crew on her, despatched the ship toa North American seaport and the Baltimore Hero returned to the Orange Bay, without the authorities of St. Eustatius doing anything about it.


Three accusations

A full two weeks later, Greathead made his complaint to De Graaff. 1. about the deliveries to the Americans and helping them with ship’s repairs; 2. about allowing the Baltimore Hero to capture an English ship under the coast of St. Eustatius; and 3. the question about the salute on November 16th, 1776. However

serious Greathead

held the last complaint to be, he

made no secret that his complaint principally concerned the first two points. De Graaff answered Greathead sharply, saying that Their High Mightinesses, the States General of The Netherlands,



only masters to whom he was responsible for his actions. Hereupon Greathead informed the governor-general of the British West Indian Possessions, Lord George Germain, of the things

mentioned. This resulted in a note sent in by Yorke, the British ambassador at The Hague to the States General in February 1777, containing

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Fanciful engraving of the raid in 1781, made in Augsburg, Germany. Fort Oranje lies on an island off the coast.


—the three complaints. The King of England demanded that greetings to the flag of the rebels be discontinued, and that De Graaff be

called to account for the delivery of war materials to the rebels and for the action of the Baltimore Hero. No recognition intended

The States General were incensed at the tone of the British misgive, but responded that De Graaff would be called to account. However, they replied, there was no question of recognition of the independence of the United States by the salute to the flag on the : apart of De Graaff. eee

On April 11th, TT, the British Government replied that they

oe were satisfied and: regarded

the incident as closed.

At St. Eustatius, De Graaff acted somewhat

stricter and the

ship-masters had to observe the instructions and stipulations, but greeting the Great Union Flag, which was weekly seen in the roadstead, continued as if nothing had happened. >.

De Graaff refutes the three complaints

In the spring of 1778 — so not with the utmost speed — De Graaff departed for The Netherlands, where he had to account to the board of the Netherlands West India Company for the three complaints laid to his charge by the English. He answered the charges as follows: 1. Regarding the deliveries, he alleged that he did not know that the supply of ammunition shipped was destined for the rebels; 2. against the Baltimore Hero he could do nothing, because the ship had not operated within range of the batteries of Statia as had been advanced but nearly within range; in other words,


just beyond range, in support of which, he could present a declaration by the captain of the English ship; finally he stated that the Andrew Doria was indeed the first ship flying the Great Union Flag at her masthead that entered the roadstead, and that he, by responding with two shots less,

had plainly given to understand not to have saluted the flag but the ship, like any of the other merchantmen that called by the hundreds each year. Concerning the first point De Graaff was of course wrong. St. Eustatius did almost nothing else but deliver ammunition to the rebels. The exact spot where the Baltimore Hero captured the


English ship could naturally no longer be verified. Regarding the salute to the flag, De Graaff surely acted as he thought most appropriate under the existing circumstances. It turned out in his favour that by greeting or answering same, he did not deviate from the practice followed at that time. The States General were satisfied with De Graaff’s defence, and he was retained as commander. Portrait at Concord, N.H.

The people in the English colonies attached great importance to the salute of the flag and De Graaff — who when compared with his predecessor as commander of St. Eustatius was an insignificant figure — has become a veritable hero in American history. | In 1780 a ship was called after him, the Governor De Graaff. In 1837 an American, F.. W. Cragin from Concord, N.H., who was

staying in Surinam, found a painted portrait of De Graaff there and bought it. After 1828 Statia belonged to the administrative territory of Surinam and the painting, probably painted from life by an unknown master, must have found its way there, via family or friends. Cragin presented the painting to the State House at Concord where it is to be seen to this day.

Picnic at Godett’s, April 1st, 1929. In the back row from right to left: J. H. J. Hill; unknown person; F. S. Lampe; Ada Southern; P. J. M. Pandt; Lillian Johnson; Rev. Cyril Clark; Th. G. Heyliger. Middle row: Lena Brouwer; Marie Hill; Mrs.



W. F. M. Lampe. Front row: Maude Pandt; Vera Lampe; Mrs. Chateau; Jolanda Lampe; Hugo Kruythoff.


St. Croix and St. Eustatius

We have seen that three weeks before De Graaff gave the salute, the Danes at St. Croix had already given such a salute. Not the first salute by St. Croix but the second one by St. Eustatius has become of historical importance. Although it concerned the same flag, the Danes saluted the flag flown by a merchantman, an unidentified schooner at that, whereas at St. Eustatius the flag was

flown by a ship with the status of a warship, and whose captain was a Captain of the Navy. It made a great difference also that De Graaff was at the time an official of one of the mightiest powers in the world. Importance of St. Eustatius to the United States

The importance of St. Eustatius in the American War of Independence must not be underrated. A good part of the weapons, ammunition and ordinary supplies needed by the Americans was imported via St. Eustatius. But through its location and brisk ship-

ping, St. Eustatius often offered also the fastest and safest con-

nection between the Congress and their political supporters in foreign lands. Benjamin Franklin sent his mail for Europe via St. Eustatius. Commercially the island became of great importance to the United States and for this reason John Adams advocated that the United States should enter into diplomatic relations with The oe Netherlands. Where are the old cannon?

The old cannon that we find in Fort Oranje are no longer the guns which fired the salute in 1776. What became of the old cannon that fired the salute, is shrouded in uncertainty, though there are various suppositions, that in themselves are very interesting. Around the end of the 18th century there were as we have seen many forts and entrenchments on the island. Cannon that had become antiquated or worn out would be scrapped. Not only at St. Eustatius but almost in all the islands of the Caribbean Sea cannon are scattered far and wide. In the last century collectors travelled through these islands searching for cannon because of their worth as scrapiron as well as for equipping forts or placing them in museums, with which they were busy at that time in the United States. 1. From an inventory of Commandant Ravené, it appears that the old cannon made of cast-iron, were condemned and substituted by bronze ones in 1778. The French who occupied St. Eustatius in 1795 carried away old cannon on their


departure in 1801:.cannon were of worth as scrap-iron. It is therefore possible that . the cannon from the saluting battery were among them. 2. Buyers of scrap-iron have also visited St. Eustatius in the last century. The possibility exists that by chance they took away cannon from the saluting battery, for cannon did not differ in outer appearances, and in those years the cannon that fired the salute would not be kept apart from others. In case they were not worked up as scrap-iron, the possibility exists that the cannon that fired the salute might be somewhere in a renovated fort or in a museum.

3. Frederick A. Fenger, an American shipwright, made a Caribbean cruise in 1911 touching St. Eustatius. In his book describing the voyage, Alone in the Caribbean” (1917, reprinted in 1958), he mentions that Dr. J. Morgan Griffith who worked at that time at St. Eustatius, learned from oral local tradition, that shortly after

the salute, the cannon had been declared antiquated and were lying heaped together somewhere in the fort. There they remained until around 1870, when the harbour-master De Geneste sold them to a purchaser of scrap-iron. "The trunnions were knocked off so that they would roll easier and they were thrown over the edge of the cliff,” Fenger writes. The purchaser could not take away more than four and he has never returned to fetch the rest. According to Fenger who recorded this tale from around 1870 in the year 1911, the cannon of 1776 were lying at Gallows’ Bay, where he claims to have seen them. In 1961, a lawyer from Memphis, Tennessee, named Lucius E. Burch Jr. along with the businessman E. Thayne Muller and Congress-man George Grider, raised three of the cannon that were left behind, took them away and donated them to institutions in the United States: one is to be found in the town hall of Memphis, one in the Smithsonian Institute at Washington and one in the Naval Institute, also at Washington. 4. The retired Colonel Phillips Melville - the painter of the cover of this book who occupied himself with the history of the salute and published same, is of opinion that the cannon raised by Burch and friends are not those of the saluting battery, for according to the tale by doctor Griffith, the cannon "were thrown over the edge of the cliff,” and he cannot accept that all the eleven of them would be found again on a beach about 1600 feet (500 metres) further on. It is a fact that never within living memory were other cannon known to be between the old pier and Gallows’ Bay. Colonel Melville supposes therefore that the cannon that were thrown over the cliffs,” must lie buried in the sand if they were not carried away during the century which passed since 1870. Actually, we also know of people in Curagao who claim to have a gun from the saluting battery in their possession! From a writing by lawyer Burch it appears that he could not see the cannon every time he visited Gallows’ Bay, but that he believes that they must lie somewhere there buried in the sand. To bear out his theory that the cannon that were left behind, are lying in the sea at the foot of Fort Oranje, Colonel Melville made investigations in 1961 using a metal detector. This proved unsuccessful on account of the dense shrubbery on the spot, the high temperature and because the sand was so ferruginous that the detector could not function properly. Conclusion: Burch found cannon at Gallows’ Bay but they were at 1600 feet (about 500 metres) distance from the foot of Fort Oranje and he could not account for their presence there, and Melville could not bear out his theory about the cannon that disappeared in the sand because his metal detector did not function.


Roosevelt and Kennedy

On February 25th, 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

yisited the roadstead of St. Eustatius aboard the warship Houston.

Since the President suffered from polio, he could not come ashore

himself. Later in the year, President Roosevelt sent the warship Wyoming with a commission to present in his name a small plaque on December 12th. It can presently be seen in the pedestal of the flagstaff. As we have seen, the salute does not imply, as is stated

on the small plaque, a formal recognition of sovereignty. What

The Andrew Doria and the H.M.S. Racehorse

- 1777.

Perhaps our readers will be interested to know what became of the Andrew Doria. Not before the spring of 1777, when her holds were well filled, did the An-

drew Doria leave St. Eustatius for the Delaware. The English had been on the look-out for all these months outside the territorial waters of Statia. As soon as the Andrew Doria had left a sloop-of-war, called the Racehorse, with 12 guns, was sent in pursuit. Near Puerto Rico it came to a fight. After two hours the Racehorse had to strike her colours. Both the prize and the captor reached the Delaware, where the Andrew Doria was destroyed to prevent her being captured by the British.

Above: watercolour in the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia, executed by an unknown artist in England in the early 20th century, The Stars and Stripes on the Andrew Doria’s masts, is, of course, an error, but the watercolour gives a

vivid picture of the sea-battle. There is no contemporary picture of the Andrew Doria. (Photograph Navy Centre and Mariners Museum).


happened was correctly stated by President John F. Kennedy in a ; telegram to Queen Juliana of The Netherlands, namely: the St : Eustatius salute was the first salute by a foreign government (that _

of St. Eustatius) to the American flag flying on a United States z naval vessel. 185 years On Thursday, November 16th, 1961, the salute was reenacted. On the part of — the Dutch, the warship Van Amstel under the command

of Lieutenant Commap.

der T. Vlothuizen lay in the roadstead; this ship also supplied the armed forces for _ the ceremony. The American destroyer Richard E. Kraus, commanded by Donald B. Carpenter, entered the Orange Bay, hoisted the Dutch flag and gave asalute of thirteen guns. While the Great Union Flag was flying, Fort Oranje answered the SHES RUSS TRRH A INAS ARN, eae ih TU salute with eleven guns. Dr. Isaac C. Debrot, the Antillean minister of Culture and Public Health at the time, was the official representative of the Antillean Government, and the United States Consul General Mervyn V. Pallister, whose residence was in Curagao, re- _ presented the United States Government. Lieutenant-Governor Jan Jacob Beaujon of the Windward Islands, the originator of the reenactment, was also present, President John F. Kennedy had sent a message to Queen Juliana, which was read

by Commander Carpenter: *Your Majesty: The ceremonies to be held in St. Eustatius on November 16, 1961, will commemorate the 185th anniversary of the first salute by a foreign government to the American flag flying on a United States naval vessel. On that day, so many years ago, Governor Johannes de Graaff ordered Fort Oranje to exchange salutes with the U.S. brig of war Andrew Doria, commanded by Captain Isaiah Robinson. Tribute was paid to this memorable occasion on December 12, 1989, when a plaque was presented to the Fort on behalf of President Franklin D, Roosevelt. The American people cherish the close ties and understanding which link the U.S.A. and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The ceremony commemorating the exchange of salute on November 16, 1776, is a fitting symbolic illustration of the long friendship of our two nations. (signed) John F. Kennedy”. To which the Queen replied: "The President of the United States of America, Washington D.C. — I thank you cordially for your message to commemorate the fact that today 185 years ago the Netherlands governor at St. Eustatius gave the order for the first salute to the American flag. Our relations which go back to that moment and of which we now celebrate its commemoration, are always characterized from both sides by deeds of true friendship. May the future testify of the continuation of our mutual understanding. (signed) Juliana R.” During the ceremonies in Fort Oranje gifts and mementos were exchanged. Minister Debrot presented the US Consul General Mr. Pallister with photocopies of documents relating to the salute. These documents were deposited in the Library of Congress. The Great Union Flag, used during the ceremonies, was privately presented to Mr. Pallister by Statian Councilman V. A. Lopes. Copies of the Declaration of Independence were distributed to the island’s school-children.




On November 16, 1961, 185 years since the first salute to the Great Union Flag flying on a US naval vessel was fired, the ceremony was reenacted. Above: Guard of Honour comprised of the Netherlands Navy, men from Her Majesty’s Van Amstel, at the celebrations of the reenactment of the 1776 salute in 1961. Foreground to the right: Lieutenant-Governor Jan J. Beaujon aug photographs), behind him in mufti, the Administrator Drs. Michael J. Boekhoudt. To the right one sees the

old cannon, however not those of 1776; protruding from their muzzles one sees the blank cartridges which were fired as salute; one did not take the risk to fire old

cannon balls for fear that the old cannon would be blown up. Down: the US Guard of Honour comprised of men of the US destroyer Richard E. Kraus. To the left Mr. Jan Jacob Beaujon, then lieutenant-governor of the Windward Islands, during his address. To the right, sitting Deputy Vincent A. Lopes. The bald figure above the third person from left is the Late Theodore A. M. Pandt, father of the present lieutenant-governor.

Captain Carpenter presented coats of arms of his ship to Lieutenant-Governor J. J. Beaujon. On behalf of the Statia Committee Miss L. van Putten gave pictures of Fort Oranje to Commander Carpenter and Lt. Commander Vlothuizen of the Dutch warship Van Amstel, whose men had revitalized the historical salute. The Antillean Government acknowledged the occasion by a special issue Postage

stamp (see page 110).

199 years

On November 16th, 1975, in preparation for the forthcoming 200th anniversary of the First Salute to the American Flag, flown by a naval vessel, by Fort Oranje back in 1776, another reenactment of said First Salute was held by the St. Eustatius Bicentennial Commission. | Many distinguished visitors came to St. Eustatius to witness this event, among others: the Lieutenant-Governor Theodore M. Pandt, the U.S. Consul General Mr. Charles M. Hanson Jr., the Chairman of the Netherlands Antilles Bicentennial Committee

Jan J. Beaujon,

a U.S. naval officer, two American



many Government officials from the various islands of the Netherlands Antilles.

On the occasion of the Bicentennial celebration in commemoration of the salute to the Great Union Flag, the Government of the Netherlands Antilles put two coins into circulation during 1976. Above we find the gold coin, the nominal worth being NAf. 200, — and below we see the silver coin of NAf, 25,— nominal worth, both being true to size. The coins were struck by the Franklin Mint at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Both are legal tender, but disappeared forthwith after issue in the coffers of collectors. The commercial value is considerably higher than the nominal

value. The gold coin (above) is the first gold coin bearing the head of Queen | Juliana.


At the impressive ceremony held in Fort Oranje a salute with the Flags of The Netherlands, the United States of America, the Netherlands Antilles and the Great Union Flag was given to the Lieutenant-Governor and the American Consul made, the national anthems

General, after which speeches were

and American

gongs sung. The U.S. Consul General presented Lieutenant-Governor Pandt with the Bicentennial Flag and the accompanying Certificate whereby St. Eustatius has

peen privileged to become a part of the American Revolution Bicentennial 1776-

1976. ir. Lieutenant-Governor thereupon thanked the Consul General and declared

the Bicenthat the St. Eustatius Year had begun and that throughout its duration

tennial Flag would daily be flown along with our national flags from the ramparts

of Fort Oranje.

Upon this the Bicentennial Flag was straightway hoisted. The chairman of the Netherlands Antilles Bicentennial Committee

Mr. J. J.

Beaujon disclosed that the Netherlands Antilles Government would sponsor the

publication of the present ’History of St. Eustatius’, and would mint a gold coin which would have on its obverse a design portraying the first Salute to the Great Union Flag by Fort Oranje and be of NAf. 200 valuation, and that another coin in silver with a similar design would be minted of f. 25 valuation. After the usual pageant in connection with the First Salute took place, the Bicentennial Library was officially opened in a Government building on Prinsesweg. i.

Re ad ;

4 * 2 2

Before the invention of photography hand painted miniatures were the portraits of the family. Many precious miniatures have been preserved. This is Michael Dijkers, 1770-1848. In the 17th cen-

tury the Dijkers were a well known family on St. Eustatius, originating from Borne, Twente, The Netherlands. They were roman catholics and Jan Dijkers

was the owner of the "private chapel” mentioned page 116. His brother Michael, above, joined the Reformed church before his marriage.



Rodney plunders the island Because

De Graaff was retained, the British-Netherlands


flict continued to exist. When in December 17 80 the Fourth Anglo. Dutch war broke out, Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney, who was making for Barbados with a squadron at that moment, got orders to occupy St. Eustatius without delay. The American War of Independence entailed that the English blockaded the coast of North America and that consequently trade from Europe meant for North American ports was divert ed to the West Indies. Naturally there were several islands here, but none offered the facilities of St. Eustatius: location, anchorage and being a free port, which meant that merchants of any nation ality were welcome. Foreign cargoes were stored and traded in our island under protection of Dutch neutrality. After France joined the War, both French and English islands were liable to attack and both French and English merchants therefore settled in St. Eustatius. Even Kittitians had rented warehouses in Oranjestad, where they traded with the enemy of Great Britain. On St. Eustatius merchants could freely deal with the North Americans who had several agents stationed on the island. We have mentioned alread y the double row of dwelling and trading houses in Lower Town. Officially The Netherlands were neutral and the Statian authorities had instructions to observe neutrality, but a feature of Dutch character is to side with any oppressed party, in this case the Americans, and a second feature is to side with the party which offers most rewards, in this case the flourishing trade. It became self-evident that this situation could no longer be tolerated by Great Britain, at war with North America. They had to destroy the supply-base of the ’rebels.” The first occupation of St. Eustatius in 1781 In the early morning of Saturday, February’ 3rd, 1781, there first appeared on the horizon seven ships of the line under Sir Samuel Hood, shortly followed by Rodney’s fleet consisting of fif-

teen or sixteen ships of the line, five frigates and a number of smal-

ler ships with three regiments of troops under Major General John Vaughan.



Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney (By courtesy of the Institute

of Jamaica).

Major General

John Vaughan (By courtesy of the-Institute of Jamaica).

Rear Admiral Sir Samuel Hood.


St. Eustatius had a garrison of but sixty men and in the bay was but one Dutch warship, the Mars, a frigate carrying 36 guns and 230 men, commanded by the Count Van Bylandt. The English took up their position in a line from Gallows’ Bay, south of the Orange Bay, to the Diamond Rock on the north side of this bay. Thus they commanded the principal town. A bearer of a flag of truce, Lieutenant-colonel

James Cockburn, accompanied by


another officer, came ashore and demanded the surrender. Everyone realized that resistance would be insane and the island surrendered without more ado, however, not before the com-

mander of the Mars had negotiated for the right to fire a broadside as he did not want to surrender with loaded cannon. Once ashore, Rodney learned that a convoy of twenty-four ships under escort of a warship, also named Mars by coincidence, had departed for The Netherlands 24 hours earlier. This second Mars was a much larger warship, a ship of the line with 64 cannon and

418 men, under command of Rear-Admiral Willem Crul. |

Rodney gave orders to two ships of the line and a frigate to pur-

sue the convoy. This squadron soon overtook the slow merchantmen. After a valiant defence, during which Rear-admiral Crul and several officers and men were killed, the Mars had to surrender.

The convoy was thus captured. Later on, Crul was laid to rest with military honours in the Reformed Church cemetery at St. Eustatius. : All the ships lying in the Orange Bay fell into the hands of Rodney and Vaughan. These two had previously made an arrangement about the division of the booty and of the treatment of the inhabi-


Translation of the caption:


of the brave


of the man-of-war


against three English warships by Rear Admiral Willem C. Crul on February 4, 1781. Anonymous etching; the original in the collection of the Atlas van Stolk Foundation, Rotterdam. Dimensions: 7 by 11 inches (18.7 by 28.2 cm.).


tants. They allowed the Dutch flag to be flown for more

than a

month from the forts so that about 150 ships, being unaware of the occupation by the English, cast anchor in the Orange Bay and fell

mennn EWE PeTOS T

into Rodney’s hands.

De Graaff exit In process of time, De

aiasi eap Sfa AT AT nd

Graaff, the attorney

general and the

officers and men of the two warships and of the merchantmen of the convoy, after being robbed of money and even their nautical instruments, were transported to England, where they arrived on June 25th at Northampton. According to a letter from De Graaff,

which has been preserved, the prisoners of war were well treated in England. After a few weeks, De Graaff could go on to The Netherlands where he gave an account of what happened to Statia on August


Town-house of Simon Zimonsz Doncker (1714-1796), merchant and planter. Mr. Doncker was owner of the plantation Doncker’s Old Temple (see the Map of 1742, no. 60, page 162), not far from Oranjestad. During his stay on the island, Febr. 3 _ - May 4, 1781, admiral Rodney took up his residence in this house. — Erroneously this house has formerly been called De Graaff’s house; Commander de Graaff, however,

lived in a house next to this one, in a house on the grounds still called

*"Madam’s” after his widow, who survived him by many years. — Photo taken around 1900; in front of the house stands Theophilus G. Groebe, Officer of Justice, who died in 1919.


24th during a meeting of the Amsterdam Chamber of the Netherlands West India Company. Late in 1782 De Graaff returned to St. Eustatius, occupied by the French at that time. Nobody paid any attention to the former governor, who — De Graaff always remained the same personality — raised protests against this attitude. He stayed on the island,

but did not play any role; he died in 1813 and even his tomb is unknown.

St. Maarten and Saba also conquered After taking St. Eustatius, Rodney despatched four ships to occupy St. Maarten and Saba. The Council at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, surrendered after half an hour’s deliberation and on Saba,

where there was no garrison, the English simply went ashore. After the conquest of the three Dutch Windward Islands, Rodney had cherished the plan to send his second in command to Cura¢ao. On the advice of Vaughan, who thought that the forces of occupation at St. Eustatius would then become too small in view of an anticipated attack by the French, Rodney relinquished this venture.

Reign of terror Rodney set up a strict administration, a reign of terror we may safely say, by which the Jews in particular suffered very badly. Rodney himself stated that this rigour was necessary to check his own men from plundering, a strange argument, since subjected parties should not be molested on that account. Public auction

Most of the merchandise and ships were put up for public auction. A safeconduct was given to anyone who wanted to visit St. Eustatius and make purchases. Letters of the day describe the auction as "the greatest which was ever held in the universe.” People of all nationalities, real or fictitious, came to the island. Much was sold far under the real value. There is no certainty about the exact amount collected in this way, since every document gives

another figure. A good guess is that Rodney made 8 to 4 million pounds sterling. The English on the nearby St. Kitts were naturally on the side of the colonists in America for they too earned money in dealing with


English caricature on the loss of St. Eustatius, published in April 1781 by W. Humphrey in London, presently in the collection of the Atlas van Stolk Foundation, Rotterdam.

them. Dozens of Kittitians had rented warehouses on St. Eustatius, full of goods with which they also traded. It is obvious that this was a thorn in Rodney’s eye and he confiscated everything. But now the merchants of St. Kitts:made use of the fact that they were

Englishmen and began a protest action against Rodney in England, which reached to the very Parliament. Here especially Edmund Burke criticized the fact that Rodney’s public auction enabled England’s enemies to secure valuable mer-






Netherlands print, showing the plundering by the English, which appeared in 1782 by Hendrik Gartman at Amsterdam. Prese ntly in the collection of the Atlas van Stolk Foundation, Rotterdam.

the real situation on St. Eustatius. They drew as if the happenings took place in Europe. Their object was more to show the frightfulness of the event than to reproduce the reality.

chandise and even ships at half

the price. Whoever bought them, they would help the North Amer ican rebels,” the French or the Spanish, he said.

The agents of the rebel English colonies found at St. Eustatius nd all who had relations with the Congress of Philadelphia were

sent to England as prisoners of war. Several known perso

ns were among them such as: Samuel Curson, agent of the United States


Stillanother caricature of the happenings in 1781. To the left (2) a leopard (= England) and to the right the Netherlands Lion (3), that rears up furiously but from which the trident is taken away by an Englishman (4), who is busy shackling the Lion with the same chain with which it shackled Portugal. Behind this held together as it were by a band, the Queen of Russia (6) with the Queen of Sweden, Denmark, Prussia and the Netherlands Virgin (with a bundle of seven arrows, no. 10) the alliance, which the English Ambassador (no. 11), with knife in hand is busy

trying to cut. On top all the places it concerns can be seen, among others: St. Eustatius and Curagao. Original in the collection of the Atlas van Stolk Foundation, Rotterdam.

Congress at St. Eustatius, also a son of minister John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and others. English, American and Dutch merchants were expelled, but were allowed to take along their household goods. Towards the French they were less callous, possibly out of respect for the ‘French fleet in the vicinity. On March 24th the French from St. Eustatius were transported ‘to Martinique and Guadeloupe. The Americans left a little later, for Rodney held them for some time,

so that they should not give warning in America, a matter which as we know had taken place long ago. Only the planters were treated properly.


In the Dutch Almanac of 1788, this anonymous etching appeared which portrays the stripping of the island by Rodney. Foundation Atlas van Stolk,


The fate of the Jews

The Jews had to endure great hardships. On February 13th, all Jewish men, without the members of their family and without any money, had to appear at the weighing-house to be deported. In answer to their inquiry regarding their destination they were told that they would find out eventually. On the appointed day, 101 adult male Jews reported themselves. In the weighing-house they were searched for money which was done in such a wild manner, that the English simply tore the lining

from their clothes. In this way the English got 8000 pounds more. Some Jews were maltreated while being searched. Finally thirty men were chosen to be deported right away. Even without getting the opportunity to take leave of their families, these people were transported to St. Kitts where the English felt so sorry for their lot that the Jews from Statia received help from Rodney’s and Vaughan’s countrymen in St. Kitts. The other 71


Jews were kept shut up in the weighing-house for three days and

were then sent home where they had to witness the sale of their confiscated possessions. Lower Town not destroyed Rodney and Vaughan intended to destroy the whole of Lower Town. They dared not do so, however, on their own authority and asked for permission from London. This permission was never

given. A French map, drawn after they occupied the island in November 1781, clearly shows Lower Town unimpaired (see map on page 166). The ruins which we presently see in the Lower Town date from after 1830 when the Lower Town became more and more dilapidated (page 64). The English are bereft of the loot De Graaff naturally had to give over the colonial chest (about $47,000)

and afterwards

his private fortune, naturally to the ex-

tent he had in cash at home ($55,000). In those days it was custom-

i i

Sepia drawing of St. Eustatius in the Library of Congress, Washington. The drawing bears no signature. It is undated, but may be placed around 1790. On the Pilot Hill one sees a fort (that was built by the French in 1781, but the island is in Dutch hands as the Dutch flag flies in the fort). In the roadstead there are ships of all nationalities, among them there are two French ones flying the tricolour, which was introduced in 1789. Further there are to be seen: the Dutch flag, the American (Stars and Stripes), Danish flags and an English ship flying the St. George’s cross, aredcross ona white field, the flag used by British warships, therefore the flag used on Nelson’s ships. (This ship must have been an English warship). The two-storeyed building (right) probably is the Lutheran church. Downstairs church, upstairs parsonage. There survives a letter from the Lutherans, of May 9, 1780, to the Chamber Amsterdam of the W.I.C., saying that they do not have a churchbuilding but hired a big house. Size: 14 by 7 inches (36 by 18 cm.).


ary to keep ready money at home. De Graaff counted everything in

gold and silver coins, loaded his whole possession on a cart and go it was taken through Oranjestad to Rodney’s headquarters.

A rough estimate of the English booty amounted to three or four million pounds sterling. Rodney sent this with a squadron to Eng. land, where it was intended to be used to pay the troops . However, the money did not reach England, for the ships carryi ng the loot were captured off Brest by the French and the Dutch. A plundering of the town did not take place. On the contrar y, Rodney prohibited it, because he hoped to profit from the continuance of the prosperity. The shops had to be kept shut and under guard. A military man was posted in the capital at every fifteen paces. A curfew was instituted and people found on the street were searched. A great part of the old archives of the island had been lost already by the hurricane of 1772. But as the English soldier s used

the record office at the secretariat as a toilet, many of the remain-





The North coast of St. Eustatius by Zeelandia. At the back, St. Kitts can just be

seen. Along this coast one finds the ruins of three small forts, from the hotel first Sandy Bay, then Concordia and at the foot of the mountain St. Louis.


ing records were besmeared with excrement. So the greater part

of the archives was lost already in 1772 and what remained of them was destroyed in 1781. Rodney's dawdling helped the Americans Prior to his attack on St. Eustatius, Rodney had not succeeded

in intercepting a French fleet under Count de Grasse, and because he remained from February to May 4th at St. Eustatius, eagerly collecting wealth, De Grasse consequently got the chance to sail to the coast of Virginia, support the Americans under Washington, and compel the English to capitulate, which ended the American

War of Independence.

The second occupation of St. Eustatius in 1781

A part of the French fleet under the Marquis de Bouillé occupied St. Eustatius in November 1781. This happened in a positively comical manner. The French landed in Jenkins’ Bay under cover of

night. The English noticed nothing of it. The French encamped quietly by Fort Oranje where the sentinel was probably sleeping or not at his post. At 6 o'clock the fort gate

opened and the English under command of Governor Cockburn marched out, preferring to hold drilling exercises outside. The French dispersed the unsuspecting English, took Cockburn prisoner and rushed into the fort before the bridge could be drawn up and the gate closed. © The English were allowed to retreat freely, but had to leave their money and (stolen) goods behind. In this way Rodney’s conquest came toanend. ~° No turning-point

- The English action against St. Eustatius was not especially prompted by what the island had delivered to the American colonies. This was but the motive. The cause was the long cherished and steadily growing envy of the English to the prosperity of St. Eustatius, whereby England felt herself wronged. The action was made possible because the administration of the Netherlands West India Company had done nothing for the defence of the island, and the government of The

Netherlands had let things take their course. The year 1781 did not become a crisis in Statia’s history. Rodney’s raid brought about _ greater damage to the economy and drove more people from the


island than was the case in former

attacks. But we shall see that

the economy as well as the population practically recovered immediately. So 1781 did not become a turning-point. Rodney’s raid was of much less importance than "being taken under their wing” by the French later on in 1795 for purposes of ’protection.” A ring of forts The French who, as we stated, established themselves

in No-

vember 1781 on the island under the Marquis de Bouillé, worked

Site plan of the forts and fieldworks, made by William Faden, November 10, 1796, *tor Monsieur le Marquis de Bouillé”: 1 Concordia; 2 St. Louis; 3 Correcorre; 4 Lisburn’s Battery; 5 Frederick’s Battery; 6 Nassau; 7 La Haye’s Battery, 8 Fort Bouillé; 9 Fort Oranje; 10 Bourbon Battery, also called The Four Gun Battery; 11 Fort Royal (formerly Fort Nassau, not to be mistaken for no. 6); 12 Panga or Old Battery; 13 Jussac’s Battery or Pilot’s Hill Battery; 14 Tumble Down Dick Battery; 15 Sandy Bay Battery; 16 Coculus Battery; 17 Waterfort or Fort Amsterdam. In the Dutch period no. 6 was called Fort de Windt. Three forts or batteries were located on the so-called Horseshoe (11, 12 and 13), but not in use at the same

time. From this map one may also see that in built up.


1795 Lower


was closely



f, bsSh,| Ge


ee ee ls oF

tees ed Nae



cae :

Be me




ee: \







a Ges



In 1781 the French built a fort on the top of Powder Hill, 768 feet (234 m.) above sea level. At that time, this mountain top bore the name of Panga, and so the fort was called Fort Panga. It was specially important as a look-out post; its fighting power was minimal. The importance of Fort Panga, however, was so great, that the English and the Dutch maintained its garrison after the departure of the French up to 1819, when Fort Panga was destroyed by a hurricane. Above we see what still remains of it. (S.).

together with the commander and councillors of St. Eustatius as one man towards the restoration of forts and field-works. When De Graaff returned around the end of 1782 he mentioned among other things, in writing the Board of the Netherlands West India Com


pany a few weeks later, that the island had been brought "in a formidable state of defence.” On the still threatened South coast, the French had even built a

new fort which was named Fort Bouillé after their commander. The owners of lands where fortifications lay had to construct roads over their grounds by which these forts could be reached, at their own expense. Likewise, on the top of Panga (presently Pilot Hill) a new fort was constructed from where one could reconnoitre the sea. This fort got a permanent garrison to that end and was also maintained after the departure of the French up to 1819 when the fort was destroyed through a hurricane. Soon a ring of forts and fortifications surrounded the whole island, connected with one another by reasonably good roads (French map of 1781 on page 166).


Flourishing after 1784

The French left in 1784 and St. Eustatius became Netherlands again. The allegation often heard that Rodney put an end to the prosperity of St. Eustatius for good is erroneous. We have already seen that Rodney did not destroy the dwelling-houses and warehouses in the Lower Town. The damage which they had received by actions of war was soon repaired. In a short time St. Eustatius recovered because: 1.

the Netherlands West India Company threw open the commerce to all friendly nations; 2. the Company introduced the levying of adaptive customs, and 3. the Company granted certain privileges to foreign merchants that established themselves again on the island. Many merchants who had emigrated to St. Thomas after 1781, returned after 1784. Soon there were 280 dwelling-houses and warehouses in the Lower Town again, nearly as many as there were in the Upper Town, where they numbered 300. ow

The Bay-Path forms the shortest connection between Upper and Lower Town, but it is too steep for ordinary traffic. In 1787 it was paved for the first time. In the background, the buildings at the entrance to Fort Oranje are visible. Claes’ Ghaut yawns between the Bay-Path and the Fort. (S.).


Front page of a newspaper appearing in 1792.


steep road,

the so-called

Bay-Path, between

the Upper

Town and the Lower Town was paved in 1787. The population reached .its highest point in 1790, when there were 8124 people, residing on the island: 2341 whites, 643 freedmen of colour and 5140 slaves. Newspaper

In the year 1789, someone who had a printery at St. Kitts established a printery also at St. Eustatius. Shortly thereafter he began a weekly, The St. Eustatius Gazette, the first newspaper of the Netherlands Antilles.

Situation in 1792 It is true that the prosperity after 1784 did not have the extravagant character that it had prior to 1781, but it is a fact that there

was prosperity. From a businessman’s letter we find that in 1792 there were 600 houses in the Lower Town. If this figure is correct,


many must have been constructed since 1784. The letter-writer calls the Lower Town Little Amsterdam.” He gives a description of daily life. Most people got up early.

Many took a ride on horseback to a plantation, where they remain. ed for breakfast. As a rule such people returned to town around seven oclock. At eight o’clock business and office life began which was especially busy on the Bay. At one o'clock in the afternoon businesses closed and as a rule the shops did not open again. In the afternoon people rested and later in the day one went out visiting. Between nine and ten o’clock in the evening one retired and thereafter the whole of Statia was

in repose.

Most houses were of wood but there were also houses built of stone. Our businessman writes that they were laid out in a higgledy-piggledy fashion, without much system, all covered with shingles and all painted white. Of the two-storeyed houses, the

downstairs was built of bricks. In the houses of the well-to-do, the

walls were papered. All the furniture was of mahogany. There was

no glass in the windows. The whites slept in hammocks,

and the

slaves slept on the ground. Hygiene left much to be desired. There was a lot of vermin. : Society showed the unconstrained character that is typical of the tropics in general. People dropped in by one another and simply remained to eat without being invited. The best French wines were in stock and Madeira was drunk here like water.” Balls were given at which the ladies dressed elegantly. Apart from that the ladies never walked, but if they went out they were carried in a sedan chair by slaves or they went riding, for everyone on the island could ride on horseback very well. Society was not only unconstrained, it was also dissolute. Many Europeans kept a mulatto mistress. Thus, in brief, was the letter of the businessman of 1792. Bankruptcy of the Netherlands West India Company

However, the profits of the commerce did not flow into the coffers of the Netherlands West India Company, but into those of the merchants of Amsterdam. Although there was much money in

circulation, Governor Peter A. Godin of St. Eustatius wrote a let-

ter in 1790 from which we glean that the Company had to pay in addition f. 5,000 each year for the administration of St. Eustatius,

in contrast with St. Maarten where there was a small credit bal-


— ‘:

Two drawings by A. Nelson in 1774. Top: as.seen from the South-East. On the tower can be seen the high, wooden roof. A little to the left of it the Governor’s house with the flag. Between this house and the tower we find Fort Oranje. Bottom: as seen from the opposite side. The large building is the residence of Jan de Windt ({ 1775). To the left of the tower is the towrthall. The first house in front at Lower Town is the Weighing-house. Originals to be found in the Historical Museum of Shipping at Amsterdam. Of these drawings there are water-colours made by a certain Emants.

ance and with Saba which was self--supporting. On account of insolvency, in 1791 the Netherlands West India Company had to transfer its estate to the State. Economic decline after 1795

The bankruptcy of the Netherlands West India Company did not have any influence on the prosperity of St. Eustatius.





eR pie 80 worn,

But four years later, around 1795 the people started to feel that the United States had become independent and did not need a port

of transit any more. The transit trade with the neighbouring is-

lands began to dwindle also, and one could foresee the end of the slave-trade. In 1795 The Netherlands became a satellite state of France and consequently the French sent administrative commissaries and

troops from Guadeloupe ”to take us under their wing” as it was

then termed and still is. Moreover, the inhabitants had to pay all

sorts of taxes. From 1795 to 1801, St. Eustatius and Saba paid up

f. 440,000. Prosperity had come to an end. After two interim administrations (1801-1802 and 1810-1816) by the English, St. Eustatius in 1818 numbered but 2668 inhabitants, only 501 whites, 302 freedmen of colour and 1865 slaves. Economically the island was ruined and it has never recovered.

Seventh-Day-Adventists’ Church built in 1961. (S.).



St. Eustatius in dates 1493 1629 16386

On November 13th Columbus passes the island. The French briefly establish a settlement on the island. The French flag flies from the little fort. The Dutch from Zeeland colonize St. Eustatius. Construction of Fort Oranje; the island becomes

a Dutch

grantee concession of financiers from Flushing, which lasted till 1683. First change of flag. 1636-1665 The island is Dutch. 1665-1666 Second change of flag; the island is English. 1666-1667 Third change of flag; the island is French. 1667-1672 Fourth change of flag; the island is Dutch again. 1672-1673 Fifth change of flag; the island ts English. 8-18 June 1673 Sixth change of flag; the Dutch are in charge of the island.

From left to right: Engle Heyliger Pandt ({'1923), Theophilus G. Groebe (f 1919), Madam van Grol with daughter and foster-son; the fourth rider is unknown; standing in white J. G. C. Every, owner of Schotsenhoek.


18 June 1673-1679 Seventh change of flag; the island is garrisoned by the English. | : 1679-1689 Eighth change of flag; the island becomes Dutch. 1683 The financiers from Flushing transfer their interests to the Netherlands West India Company, whereby St. Eustatius becomes a Company colony governed by the Zeeland Chamber. 1689-1690 Ninth change of flag; the French on St. Eustatius. 1690-1696 Tenth change of flag; the English on the island. 1696-25 November 1709 Eleventh change of flag; the island is Dutch again. 25 November-1 December 1709 Twelfth change of flag; the island in French hands. 1 December 1709-24 January 1713 Thirteenth change of flag. Statia in Dutch hands. | 24-27 January 1713 Fourteenth change of flag. The French hold the island for three days. 27 January 1713-3 February 1781 Fifteenth change of flag; in Dutch hands for 68 years. 1730-1740 Height of the slave-trade. +1730 Commerce starts with the English colonies in North America (the present United States of America). 1738/39 Construction of the synagogue Honen Dalim.


Construction of the first warehouses on the Bay.

Construction of forts and field-works at many points along the coast. +1760 Lower Town comes into existence. 1775 Construction of the Reformed Church. 1776 On November 16th a salute is fired from Fort Oranje to the Great Union Flag flown by a U.S. naval vessel for the first time.

3 February-25 November 1781 Rodney occupies the island. Sixteenth change of flag. 25 November 1781-7 February 1784 Seventeenth change of flag; the island is governed by the French. 7 February 1784-1795 Eighteenth change of flag; the island is Dutch; second great period of prosperity. 1786 Methodism comes to Statia. 1787 The so-called Bay-Path from Upper to Lower Town is paved. 1789 Publication started of the St. Eustatius Gazette, first newspaper of the Netherlands Antilles.




Around 1950 the Statia Singers were very wellknown. From left to right: William Granger (f{), Elisabeth Williams (f), Peter John Lijfrock; Sophie Brown (Tf) and Elisabeth Wyatt (T).

The highest number of inhabitants is reached: 8124. Upper Town and Lower Town have each about 300 houses. 1), 1795-1801 Nineteenth change of flag. The French govern the island. Start of the economic decline caused by collapse of transit business and the impending end of the slave-trade. 1801-1802 Twentieth change of flag; first British interim admin1790


1802-1810 Twenty-first change of flag; the island comes under Dutch rule again. 1810-1816 Twenty-second change of flag; second British interim administration. 1816-today Last change of flag, Statia becomes Dutch for good. 1825 First Methodist Church built (destroyed in 1843).

1) According to a letter from 1792 Lower Town had no less than 600 houses in that year (see our remarks on page 99).




Photo from 1910. From 1906 to 1913 there was a landing-stage 148 feet (45 metres)

long, in use. The pier was built in connection with the cultivation of sea island cotton. The end of this pier was always in the breakers so that ships could not make use of it, and the building of a longer wharf was technically not possible at that period. One can see that around 1910 the houses in Lower Town were still in fair condition.



Orange Bay is declared a free port. Construction of a dam in the sea, the first attempt to make a landing-stage for ships (this first dam has never been completed and was swept away by ground-swells as early as 1829. Prince Hendrik is the first member of the House of Orange

to visit St. Eustatius, Saturday July 18 till Monday July 20. Fort Oranje gave a Royal Salute. The Prince slept at Government House. (Prince Hendrik, 15 years old, second son

of the later King Willem II, was on board the man-of-war 1841

Maas as head of the naval cadets). Establishment of the R.C. Church; it was started in a rented house that was bought in 1843 and rebuilt as a church, de-

dicated to Saint Eustatius (see 1910). 1843 1860 1863 1899 1903


Construction of the present Methodist church (see 1825).

Establishment of the public school. Abolition of slavery. Dominican Sisters start Roman Catholic instruction. Beginning of cotton-growing.



Beginning of sisal-growing.

Second attempt to build a landing-stage in connection with the raising of cotton and sisal.

1910 1915

Construction of the present R.C. church of Saint Eustatius. Importation of the first motor vehicle on March 12th. (a tractor for the crops).

Publication of the first topographical map, prepared by J. V. D. Werbata and W. A. Jonckheer (see 1963).


The opening of the Gertrude Judson Library.



Archeological findings throw some light on the first inhabitants of the island. Lay-out of the Wilhelmina Park. Establishment of the Government Guest-house or Pasang-


grahan. Opening of radio telegraphic connection with St. Maarten (12 November; see also 1945).


Third attempt to build a landing-stage (in connection with the expected exploitation of volcanic ash, which een was never realized).

_ 1934 1935 1938 1939


In the same year a fourth attempt was made to build a landing-stage, now for the export of trass, which also failed. Fifth attempt to build a landing-stage. This time for the export of pumice. Establishment of the island telephone service with ten connections. Founding of the Girls’ and Boys’ Brigade (in May). President F. D. Roosevelt visits Orange Bay in February and later sends a deputation to arrange for a plaque for Fort Orange (December 12th).


Attempt to decentralize the population by founding small dwelling areas at Concordia with the intention of stimulating agriculture and stock-breeding. Radiotelephonic connection with St. Maarten put tat use


Opening of the Golden Rock Airport. The first plane lands

(December 11th; see also 1931). on October 5th; in 1964 the Statian airport was


Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport by decree of the Island Council, section St. Eustatius, in order to honour the Ameri-

can president who, paying an official visit to the roadstead of the island in 1939, was the first official to emphasize the part St. Eustatius played in the American War of Independence. See also 1971.



| |


Some Dutch farmers immigrate and start agricultural and

stock-raising concerns. Governor De Graaff School opens on October 23rd. Opening of the Ideal theatre, the first cinema on the island. Founding of the Garfield Pathfinders Club (September 28th). ® Prince Bernhard is the second member of the Royal Family

1948 1949 1950

to visit St. Eustatius (January 27th; see 1835).


of the Welfare



(October 18th).

Beginning of the congregation of Seventh-Day Adventists (See 1961).


Carl G. Buncamper organizes the first steel band.


Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard visit the island (October 24th).

Ft ee







Street in Oranjestad. At right the Gertrude Judson Library, at left the wall surrounding the Guesthouse.


Place d’armes of Fort Oranje, from where the salute to the Great Union Flag was fired in 1776. The cannon are from a later period. ee


Sixth attempt to build a landing pier (in connection with the planned exploitation of pumice). Visit of Princess Beatrix (February 14th).

1959 1960 1961

The Princess Beatrix Hospital put into use. The first gasoline station opened: Esso. Opening of the Caribbean Hotel, the first private hotel on the island. It was closed in 1964. | Seventh attempt to construct a landing-stage (again for pumice).


Construction of the Seventh Day Adventists’ Church (opened on May 28th, see 1950).

1962 1963

Princesses Irene and Margriet on the island (June 20th). Commencement of the Jeems Village. Publication of the second topographical map by the Land Registry Office.


Second visit of Princess Beatrix (Saturday, February 27th). Second visit of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard (Uctober 5th).

Prince Bernhard inaugurates electric light for the evening hours (October 5th).


Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus arrive by plane (July 26th). Founding of the Antillean Girls’ Guild (October 5th).


Postage stamps with views from St. Eustatius


1958 and 1973 S¥ EUSTATIUS 9 @)€

Manaiey phar it eeshe



Jacob Ernst Marcus 1774-1826

In 1774 on St. Eustatius was born Jacob Ernst Marcus, the natural child of Dr. Joan Steba Marcus and Catharina Elisabeth Rungé, daughter of a well known Statian family of that time. Dr. Marcus was a lawyer in the Court of Holland and allured by Statia’s prosperity he crossed the_ocean to try his luck. He went into business and owned a warehouse in the Lower Town; he also

bought a plantation. After the plundering by Rodney, in 1783, Dr. Marcus went back to Amsterdam, taking with him his son Jacob Ernst and his daughter Johanna. Jacob Ernst Marcus in the course of years became an engraver of renown; in 1816 he joined the Royal Academy of Arts of Design and in 1820 .became its Director. Since Marcus left St. Eustatius at the age of 8, his engravings bear no traces of the island. In 1972 expositions of Marcus’ work have been held in Am-


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sterdam, Aruba, Curagao and St. Eusta-

tius. Some of Marcus’ engravings are ina private collection in Curagao.

1967 1969

Opening of Canword’s


the second private

hotel. Banco Popular Antiliano, with headquarters at Aruba is the first banking institution that opens an office on the island (September Ist). Founding of the St. Eustatius Community Development Foundation.(November 26th).


The St. Eustatius Gazette appears with its first issue on January 15th (see also 1789). The Emporium Review appears with its first issue on November 22nd. The Government Guesthouse or Pasanggrahan, dating back to 1924, becomes a private hotel (the third) under the name

of The Guesthouse. | Electric current day and night (December 24th). 1971

Hotel Antillean View, the fourth private hotel, to open its

doors (August 15th). The new (present-day) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport inaugurated (November 25; see also 1946).


The Stella Maris is the first large tourist ship to visit the is1972

land (December 18). Old Gin House starts business (February 2).

Golden Rock Foundation of Artisans founded on May 38ist. St. Eustatius Social and Welfare Work Organization founded on June 21st, which embraces

1973 1974

all the various cultural

groups and institutions on the island (which opened the Community Centre, see 1974). In July an Italian firm, Eneca, starts building a pier. This eighth attempt to build a landing-stage is stopped owing to bankruptcy of the firm Eneca (see 1975). St. Eustatius Historical Foundation founded on March 14th. The Golden Rock Beach Hotel opens on the North coast (March 13th); renamed Golden Rock Resort in 1976. The Community Centre opens on April 5th. The first Supermarket opens its doors (May 4). Opening of the Museum on November 16th by the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation. Saba and St. Eustatius Mutual Development Foundation founded, which plans to provide the community boat Monique J. Bredero, so called after the daugther of the Dutch representative for development funds to the Netherlands Antilles. The boat, 50 feet (15 m.) long, built in Curacao, has


cost NAf. 137.000, and started operation in 1976. Opening Cherry Tree Guesthouse. Ninth attempt to construct a landing-stage on September lst at Gallows’ Bay. Construction started for a 1099 foot long pier (335 metres). Inauguration of St. Eustatius Year in preparation of the 200th anniversary of the first salute.to the American flag, flown by a U.S. naval vessel, from Fort Oranje (November 16).


Work started on the Oil Terminal at Tumble Down Dick Bay on January 28rd. This project includes the construction of a pier, which will be the tenth since 1828. First call of the Monique J. Bredero on Easter Monday April 19 (see 1974).

July 4 about 300 Americans visit the island, 31 yachts lying in the Orange Bay, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the United States. A US Virgin Islands deputation offers a mo-

nument (see page 28).

July 29 Pier at Gallows’ Bay delivered up. Liz


Three Churches There are ruins of a church and of a synagogue on St. Eustatius, but the congregations which attended public worship in these buildings exist no longer. There are three denominations on the island and none of these is in any way connected with the ruins. As the Netherlanders in the seventeenth century were strict Calvinists (especially those hailing from Zeeland), the Netherlands West India Company compelled the grantees by contract to provide for the spiritual care of the colonists. Whoever did not turn out on Sundays at church, incurred a fine. Church and government were Closely bound together. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper was not only announced by the minister, but also by the commander, by his hoisting the fortress flag. Although with the disappearance of the Dutch language, the Netherlands Reformed Church lessened in importance, the congregation in 1775/76 — the rich period of St. Eustatius — could still put a majestic church in use. The ruins of the church are one of the sights worth seeing on the island today (page 64).

View of Upper Town in 1860, after a water-colour of the navy officer G. W. M. Voorduin. At the right hand side one sees that there are still quite a few houses in Lower Town. One can also see that in former days there was a road passing Jan de Windt’s house to Fort Oranje. Claes Ghaut was not as worn out as it is today. This can also be seen on Nelson’s drawing of 1774, page 101.



Methodist church, built in 1843. In 1895| 96 the tower was added. In the tower one

The shortest road between Lower and Upper Town is the Bay-Path, but only pedestrians and... donkeys can make it. The road is too steep for vehicles. (S.).


Many denominations During the eighteenth century, when merchants came to establish themselves on the island from all points of the compass, there

also existed Lutheran, English Presbyterian, Anglican and Jewish congregations on the island. The Catholics had a parish and church in the Lower Town. All these congregations disappeared when the people belonging to them departed from the island. \


None of the afore-mentioned churches was committed to working among the coloured population, the freedmen of colour and the slaves. 3 In the second half of the eigtheenth century, Methodism spread in the Caribbean area directing itself especially to those who were neglected by official protestantism. Catholicism did not neglect these people but only could work freely in the Spanish or French . speaking islands. A slave from St. Eustatius, who passed into history under the

name of Black Harry, became acquainted with Methodism at Antigua and carried it to Statia. Methodism is known for its emphasis in careful organisation. However humble and almost unwanted the advent of Methodism was in the beginning at St. Eustatius, Dr. Thomas Coke, Methodist bishop for the Caribbean area, visited the island already in 1787. It is obvious that the white slave-holders and planters did all they could do to check Methodism. The separation of caste between master and slave and coloured people in general was ever and everywhere easily bridged in bed, as the ever increasing number of coloured people bore witness to. Nevertheless Protestant whites and people of colour would never consider each other as brothers in the Lord. The members of the Reformed Church were also members of the Council, and as such set

severe punishment for attending Methodist meetings, namely 39


Not until 1811, when St. Eustatius was under British rule, was

permission granted for the founding of a Methodist congregation. In 1825 the Methodists built a wooden church, which was destroyed in 1843 by an earthquake, rare as this natural phenomenon at St. Eustatius might be. The present church of stone was then built. Ironically, the bell of the Reformed Church was presented in 1895 to the Methodists, who were busy adding a tower to their church.


that was completed in 1896, and in which tower the bell hangs to this day.

The fast spread of Methodism at St. Eustatius was promoted be-

cause there were no clergymen of other churches working on the

island till about the middle of the nineteenth century. Thus it happened that the whites also became Methodists. The R.C. Church

Among the merchants, of course, there were quite a few Dutch Roman Catholics, but the Catholics were mostly foreigners. On a map, drawn shortly before 1772 (see page 163) we see the church in Lower Town and indicated as "private”, probably because there was not a canonically established parish, but only a group of catholics cared for by a wandering priest who had settled on the island. Yet this catholic community numbered some 500 souls. But, like the congregations mentioned before, the catholic parish constituted as it were a foreign group and it disappeared, when towards the end of the century the merchants left the island. Nothing is left of the former church.