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Saint Eustatius

Saint Eustatius sānt yo͞ostā´shəs [key], island (1989 pop. 1,861), 8 sq mi (20.7 sq km), a special municipality of the Netherlands, one of the Leeward Islands, West Indies. Called Statia by its inhabitants, it was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles . The mountainous island is not very prosperous, although there is a developing tourist industry; it also possesses facilities for petroleum transshipment. Oranjestad is the capital and chief port.

Settled by the Dutch in 1632, the island changed hands frequently. During the 18th cent. pirates and smugglers made Oranjestad one of the leading trade centers of the West Indies, and it became a center of contraband trade with the American colonies before and during the American Revolution. According to tradition, Oranjestad was the first foreign port to salute (1776) the American flag.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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