Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles)



Indians
It happens to be very difficult to say anything concrete about the daily life of the first habitants of the islands, the Indians. The Indians did not leave any sculptures, drawing, or any kind of information behind. Most information has been collected from Archeologist, and ethological comparison of cultural behavior of similar tribes.

Long before Colombus discovered America, there were people already living on the Caribbean islands. There are theories that states that Arowake Indians migrated to Curaçao from South America and later on by the Karibe Indians.

On the left you can see the different locations where the different indians originaly migrated from. Taken from "E Indjan I E Katibu, Historia Di Korsou 3"

According to theories, the route the tribes took coming from the jungles where though Trinidad and Granada.

These indians used the islands as stepping stones until they got all the way to Cuba and some to Florida, while others took a North-West directions where they migrated to Venezuela, Colombia, and other islands on the coast of Venezuela. The Arowakes and the Karibe learned to live with eachother and overtime established a very peaceful style of living. They have mixed with eachother and formed a nice community until the spanish arrived.

In 1499, Alonso de Ojeda discovered Curaçao while exploring the coast of Venezuela. The island became more popular because of Amerigo Vespucci. He called the island "Isla De Los Gigantes" (Island of the Giants). Vespucci was Ojeda travel partner during this discovery. According to theories the habitants of the islands where big in side. It is estimated that the population was between 500 and 2000 habitant.

One of the first thing that the spanish did to the indians was turning them into slaves and sending them out to work in gold mines outside the islands. After this, the indians became slaves that has been sold and bought be the Spanish and Europeans over the years.

Slaves
During the 17 and 18 th century Amsterdam became very wealthy and important with the slaves business. In Curacao, the masters were buying "Handicap" slaves sinces they were cheaper. A slave can be considered "Handicap even if they had a broken or missing teeth. The prices of an adult slave varies a lot.

When the slaves arrived in Curaçao, they were admitted into two camps, the biggest one "Zuurzak" and the spare one at Groot St. Joris. Here the slaves had to gain their strength back after their long trip from Africa. The transportation of the slaves was something very terrible. A lot of slaves comitted suicide during the trip ora did not eat. They were all packed into a small location and has to lay next to eachother in a very small space during the whole trip. During the trip, a lot of slaves died of other diseases that they caught during the trip.

Between 1660 and 1713, there was a lot of slaves business in Curacao. Agents were buying between 1000 and 1500 slaves at the time and also products imported to Curacao from the Netherlands. Now and then, their were between 2000 and 4000 slaves in Curacao temporary to be shipped to other neighbor islands. After 1730, the slaves business took a big downfall. One of the main reason for this was that in 1713, England got monopoly from the king of Spain to sell slaves to the Spanish colonies. It was not until 1863, that the slaves got their freedom in Curacao. The slaves did not receive their freedom because of their human rights, but because of the way the economy was going. A free slaves was cheaper , and because of the economy, the masters ended up giving all the slaves their freedom.


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