Discovered by Columbus in 1493, this island was actually claimed by the English in 1625 but with only a half hearted attempt at settlement. The Dutch were more serious about colonisation from 1636 onwards.
The fate of this Caribbean island was tied very much to the competition between Holland and Britain from the seventeenth century onwards. The English first took control from the Dutch during the Anglo-Dutch war from 1665 to 1668. Another Anglo Dutch war lead to another occupation by the English from 1672 to 1680. And yet another war meant yet another occupation from 1690 to 1696. It should be said that it wasn't just the English who were interested in this island, the French also took control on a number of occasions.
It would be another century before another set of wars lead to another series of occupations. During the latter part of the 18th century, St. Eustatius was the major supplier of arms and ammunition to the rebellious British Colonies in North America and the subject of conflict among the most powerful seafaring nations of the time. As a result, it was occupied in 1781 although it would be the French who would dislodge the British. The French Revolutionary Wars lead to the British taking it from the French from 1801 to 1802. A truce back in Europe saw Britain hand it back to the Dutch. However eight years later the French would invade Holland and claim all Dutch possessions. This lead the Royal Navy to once more occupy the island and keep it until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.