Curacao’s culture and history
Part of the ABC islands, Curacao is, in fact the biggest one of the group, measuring 10 miles at its widest point (16 km) and 40 miles (64 km) in its longest.
The island of Curacao was first discovered by Europeans in 1499. The person who discovered it was Alonso de Ojmeda, one of Columbus’ lieutenants. The Spanish have settled on the island and stood there until 1634, when the Dutch East India Company seized the island. In order to assure the labor for the island’ s agriculture, thousands of slaves were imported.
Things went well until 1863 when the abolition of slavery imposed a long period of economic decline that was overcome 53 years later, in 1916 when an oil refinery was opened.
Since then, Curacao began to prosper and succeeded in being the most prosperous island of the Netherlands Antilles.
On 10 October 2010 the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and Curacao became a constituent state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The island’s official language is Dutch, but Papiamentu is the language known as the lingua franca. You will find here 50 different nationalities, the majority of it being Roman Catholic. You will also find some protestant minorities. Curacao also has a synagogue and a Baha’i temple.