Saint Eustatius is a Dutch territory located in the West Indies near the Virgin Islands and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Sint Eustatius covers a total area of just over eight square miles, and includes a population of roughly two thousand, five hundred residents. Sint Eustatius, a part of the Leeward Islands, is accessible primarily by boat and through Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport. Although Sint Eustatius was first discovered by Christopher Columbus, it did not acquire a permanent European population until the Dutch West India Company established an outpost in the seventeenth century. For several decades, Sint Eustatius was one of the most important Dutch ports in the Caribbean, as a result of its important geographic location. Its considerable wealth in the eighteenth century gave it the nickname of the “Golden Rock,” although it was eventually supplanted by other trading communities. Sint Eustatius was tangentially involved in the American Revolution, as it was the first port to return the cannon salute of a United States vessel, thereby acknowledging the sovereignty of the new nation.
Although Sint Eustatius is sparsely populated, most of its population is concentrated in the territorial capital, Oranjestad. Sint Eustatius is a volcanic island, meaning that it is slightly more mountainous than nearby Caribbean Islands which are coral atolls. The highest point of Sint Eustatius, Quill, is a dormant volcano measuring nearly two thousand feet tall. Sint Eustatius’ biodiversity and scenic beauty are on display at the island’s three national parks, Quill-Boven Park, the Marine Park, and the Botanical Garden. In addition to a tourist industry, Sint Eustatius hosts the University Of Sint Eustatius School Of Medicine, which is a critical component of the island’s economy.