November 16 is Statia Day or Statia-America Day. In the course of the 18th century St. Eustatius (Statia) developed close historical ties with North America through trade. The island played a major role as a trading center before and during the American Revolution. The local wealth, as a result of the lucrative trade in slaves and war supplies sent to American colonies, turned Statia into the “Golden Rock of the Caribbean.” Ammunition was sent under disguise to the rebels in the colonies fighting for their independence from Britain. For a time St. Eustatius was the only link between Europe and the fledgling American colonies.
St. Eustatius as a Dutch Colony should have been neutral, and should have had nothing to do with the rebels fighting for independence, but despite a warning from Holland, Johannes de Graaff continued to send ammunitions during the American Revolution. Among some of the various goods shipped from St. Eustatius were armaments, ceramics, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, cloth, cotton, slaves, soap, beef in barrels, sugar, molasses, gin, rum, wines, hides, dye wood, shoes, and others.
November 16 is Statia-America Day, commemorating the year 1776, when Statia became the first foreign nation to recognize the Union Flag and the colonies’ independence. The island celebrates this event each year by having a national holiday. On November 16, 1776, the cannons at Fort Oranje fired the first official salute by a foreign nation to the American colors. St. Eustatius adopted its flag and coat of arms on the same date (Statia Day). Each year St. Eustatius comes alive with music, celebration activities, regattas, and cultural events to commemorate this historical link.
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