Curacao (official spelling: Curaçao) is an island about 60 miles off the coast of Venezuela. It is part of the Netherlands Antilles which is part of the Dutch Kingdom. Curacao is surrounded by its sibling islands Aruba and Bonaire, both part of the Dutch Kingdom.
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The capital of Curacao is Willemstad. (Established 1634)
Willemstad has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
+12deg 9' 9.07", -68deg 55' 47.37" Located in the Caribbean/South America
Length and Width
About 61km (38 miles) long and 14km (9 miles) wide.
444 square kilometer (171 square miles)
Around 50 nationalities live in Curacao. The biggest ethnic group is Afro-Caribbean. Curacao is well known for being a melting pot of nationalities.
The island was discovered in 1499 by Alonso de Ojeda of Spain.
Because of the big diversity of national populations young kids will often speak 4 languages. (Papiamentu, Dutch, English and Spanish) The national language is Dutch, but Papiamentu
Mostly (85% Roman Catholics) Throughout history, as part of the Dutch Kingdom, it has always been very tolerant towards other religions. The oldest Jewish temple of the Western Hemisphere (Mikve Israel) is located in the center of Willemstad.
Before the discovery by Spain the island was inhabited by Arawak Indians of the Caiquetios tribe.
The island has been ruled by
- Great Britain
- The Netherlands
Curacao is a democracy. The island itself is governed by the island council which is directly chosen by the island elections which are held every four year. Elections are free, secret and based on the right to vote for all citizens above the eligible age.
The Netherlands Antilles are governed by the Senate in which all the islands are represented.
There are 22 seats which have been divided as follows: Curacao 14, St Maarten 3, Bonaire 3, Stacia 1 and Saba 1. National elections held every four years in which candidates for the seats are directly chosen.