You may never have heard of St.Eustatius, or Statia, both names interchangeably used, unless and until you are a diver or very good at world history. Till 1776, there used to be a time when St. Eustatius’s harbour would be swarmed with so many ships that people used to call it the “Emporium of the Western World. Later, Great Britain called off all its economic ties with Statia as Statia was the first country to recognize the U.S. as an independent state through an 11 gun salute to Andrew Doria of America. The economy of the Island was hence totally destroyed.
The most favourite part of St. Eustatius for any historian is the Fort Oranje, as this was the fort from where the gun shots were fired. Other than that, the fort helped protect the island as early a time as 1636 in Oranjestad. The famous Dutch Reformed Church is situated in the courtyard of Fort Oranje. One of the most ancient synagogues of the Caribbean, Honen Dalim, is also situated on Synagogue Path.
The heart of the island is of special interest, especially for hikers. The real challenge for them is the Quill. It includes a 1968 foot hike up to the top of the crater, and is extremely breathtaking with all the natural beauty of orchids, ferns, elephant ears and other beautiful flowers. Unlike other islands, beaches do not gain much of the tourist’s attraction here. This is because there is no either the beaches on the Atlantic shores are too dangerous to swim, or no real sandy beaches are found towards the Caribbean side.
While you are at Statia, you will never feel like a stranger as the local people are generally very friendly. Hence, it is a good change to relax away and enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of St. Maarten.
Concordia is the smallest island in the world that is shared by two countries, St. Martin and St. Maarten. It has remained as a shared island for as long as 360 years. In 1648, two resident settlements of the Dutch and French, along with their governments, signed the Treaty of Concordia. According to this treaty, Concordia was subdivided into two parts, each towards St. Maarten and St. Martin respectively. The real motive behind this treaty was to shoo away the Spanish, as they were a common enemy to both the countries. The French at that time were to be given the island side that faces Anguilla and the Dutch were to be given the southern side. But it was only in 1817 after several disputes that the boundaries were defined.
Tourists that visit the island cannot easily notice when they cross the boundary from the French to the Dutch side and likewise. It is only when one starts feeling the smoother roads on the French side that they realize the difference. The people of St. Martin (and St. Barthélemy), in 2003, voted in favour of separating from Guadeloupe which is the capital of French West Indies. It was officially separated in 2007 and now St. Martin’s name has officially changed to Collectivité de Saint-Martin.