any other island, Curaçao has it's own history. Curaçao
was originally populated by Indians. This tribe was called
the Arowak Indians. These Indians lived very peaceful on this
island and they were originally from Venezuela. The Arowak
Indians were a branch of the Caiquetos called Curaçaos
and it is from them that Curaçao takes its name.The
Caiquetos are a group of Indians that came from a more blood
thirsty tribe called, the Caribs. In 1499, this big ship arrived
at the coast of Curaçao with lieutenant Alonso de Ojeda
and Amerigo Vespucci in charge. Alonso de Ojeda was lieutenant
of Columbus at this time. He discovered also 2 more islands
this same year. These islands are Aruba and Bonaire. When
Alonso discovered these islands, he claimed the islands for
the Spanish, but because there was no gold there they were
declared "useless islands." After Ojeda marked his
claim, a Spanish settlement followed in 1527.The Aworak community
on was largely transported to work on Hispaniola, and nowadays
no full blooded Indians are found on Curaçao.
Legend has it that Amerigo Vespucci -- from whom we get the
word 'America' -- dropped off some sailors afflicted with
scurvy on his way to South America. Expecting them to die
in the arid climate, he was surprised when he returned less
than a year later to find them alive and fully recovered.
Hence, he called the island "Curaçao " after
what is supposed to be the Portuguese word for "cure."
But the story, while interesting, seems to be purely apocryphal.
1633, the Spanish quietly left the island and leaving it in
the hands of Holland, which claimed it as a possession of
the Dutch West Indies Company. Curaçao is centrally
located and it's natural harbors made it a perfect place for
business. These 2 pictures shows the natural harbor of Curaçao.
Curaçao had a strategic location in the Caribbean inspired
predatory interest among the French and British, who continually
tried to send the Dutch packing, with little success. In 1642
a young Dutchman named Peter Stuyvesant became governor of
the island, a mere three years before he took over governorship
of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, today known as New York.
During Dutch rule, the island was divided into plantations.
Not all were devoted to agriculture; some of the estates were
utilized for salt mining.