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CURAçAO (/ˈkʊrəsaʊ/ _KUR-ə-sow_ or /ˈkjʊərəsaʊ/ _KEWR-ə-sow_ ; Dutch : _Curaçao_, pronounced ; Papiamentu : _Kòrsou_) is a Lesser Antilles island country in the southern Caribbean
Caribbean
Sea and the Dutch Caribbean
Caribbean
region, approximately 65 kilometres (40 miles) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country (Dutch : _land_) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands .

It was formerly called Curaçao and Dependencies (1815–1954) and the COUNTRY OF CURAçAO (Dutch : _Land Curaçao_; Papiamento : _Pais Kòrsou_); it includes the main island of Curaçao
Curaçao
and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"). It has a population of over 160,000 in an area of 444 square kilometres (171 square miles ), and its capital is Willemstad .

Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
on 10 October 2010, Curaçao
Curaçao
was administered as the " Island
Island
Territory of Curaçao" (Dutch: _Eilandgebied Curaçao_, Papiamentu: _Teritorio Insular di Kòrsou_), one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 After September 2010 * 2.2 Forts

* 3 Geography

* 3.1 Flora * 3.2 Fauna * 3.3 Climate * 3.4 Geology

* 4 Government
Government

* 5 Military

* 5.1 Conscription

* 6 Economy

* 6.1 Tourism * 6.2 Labour

* 6.3 Financial services
Financial services

* 6.3.1 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

* 6.4 Trade * 6.5 Prostitution

* 7 Demographics

* 7.1 Languages * 7.2 Ethnicities * 7.3 Religion

* 8 Education

* 9 Culture

* 9.1 Literature * 9.2 Cuisine

* 10 Sports

* 11 Infrastructure

* 11.1 Airport * 11.2 Bridges * 11.3 Utilities

* 12 Notable residents

* 12.1 Arts and culture * 12.2 Politics and government * 12.3 Religion

* 12.4 Sports

* 12.4.1 Baseball

* 13 See also * 14 Notes * 15 References * 16 Further reading * 17 External links

ETYMOLOGY

Map from 1562 with Curaçao
Curaçao
indicated as Qúracao.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, sailors on long voyages would get scurvy from lack of vitamin C. According to some accounts, Portuguese sailors who were ill were left at the island now known as Curaçao. When their ship returned, they had recovered, likely cured from scurvy , probably after eating fruit with vitamin C. From then on the Portuguese referred to this as _Ilha da Curação_ ( Island
Island
of Healing). "Another explanation is that it is derived from the Portuguese word for heart (coração), referring to the island as a centre in trade." Unstressed o in Continental Portuguese are usually pronounced , so the Portuguese word for heart, coração, is actually pronounced . Spanish traders took the name over as Curaçao, which was followed by the Dutch.

Another explanation is that Curaçao
Curaçao
was the name by which the indigenous peoples of the island identified themselves, their autonym. (Joubert and Van Buurt, 1994). Early Spanish accounts support this theory, as they refer to the indigenous peoples as _Indios Curaçaos,_ or "healing Indians."

From 1525 the island was featured on Spanish maps as _Curaçote, Curasaote,_ and _Curasaore._ By the 17th century it appeared on most maps in Portuguese as _Curaçao_ or _Curazao._ On a map created by Hieronymus Cock in 1562 in Antwerp
Antwerp
, the island was referred to as _Qúracao._

HISTORY

Main article: History of Curaçao Map of Curaçao
Curaçao
in 1836

The original inhabitants of Curaçao
Curaçao
were Arawak peoples . Their ancestors had migrated to the island from the mainland of South America, likely hundreds of years before Europeans arrived. They were believed to have migrated from the Amazon Basin.

The first Europeans recorded as seeing the island were members of a Spanish expedition under the leadership of Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. The Spaniards enslaved most of the Arawak as their labour force. They sometimes forcibly relocated the survivors to other colonies where workers were needed. In 1634, after the Netherlands
Netherlands
achieved independence from Spain, Dutch colonists started to occupy the island. European powers were trying to establish bases in the Caribbean.

The Dutch West India Company founded the capital of Willemstad on the banks of an inlet called the 'Schottegat.' Curaçao
Curaçao
had been ignored by colonists, because it lacked gold deposits. The natural harbour of Willemstad proved to be an ideal spot for trade. Commerce and shipping—and piracy —became Curaçao's most important economic activities. In addition, in 1662 the Dutch West India Company made Curaçao
Curaçao
a centre for the Atlantic slave trade , often bringing slaves here for sale elsewhere in the Caribbean
Caribbean
and on the mainland of South America.

Sephardic Jews with ancestors from the Iberian Peninsula settled here with the Dutch and in then- Dutch Brazil ; they have had a significant influence on the culture and economy of the island. Some Jewish merchants were part of the Dutch colonial slave trade, as were a wide variety of people involved in trade and shipping.

In the Franco-Dutch War , Count Jean II d\'Estrées planned to attack Curaçao. His fleet — 12 men of war, three fireships, two transports, a hospital ship, and 12 privateers — met with disaster, losing seven men-of-war and two other ships when they struck reefs off the Las Aves archipelago . They had made a serious navigational error, hitting the reefs on 11 May 1678, a week after setting sail from Saint Kitts . Curaçao
Curaçao
marked the events by a day of thanksgiving, celebrated for decades into the 18th century, to commemorate the island's escape from being invaded by the French.

Although a few plantations were established on the island by the Dutch, the first profitable industry established on Curaçao
Curaçao
was salt mining . The mineral was a lucrative export at the time and was a major factor for the island being part of international commerce. Dutch architecture along Willemstad 's harbour

Many Dutch colonists grew affluent from the slave trade, and the city built impressive colonial buildings. Curaçao
Curaçao
architecture blends Dutch and Spanish colonial styles. The wide range of historic buildings in and around Willemstad has resulted in the capital being designated as a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
. Landhouses (former plantation estates) and West African style _kas di pal'i maishi_ (former slave dwellings) are scattered all over the island. Some have been restored and can be visited.

In 1795, a major slave revolt took place under the leaders Tula Rigaud , Louis Mercier, Bastian Karpata, and Pedro Wakao. Up to 4000 slaves on the northwest section of the island revolted. More than one thousand slaves took part in extended gunfights. After a month, the slave owners suppressed the revolt.

Curaçao's proximity to South America
South America
resulted in interaction with cultures of the coastal areas. For instance, architectural similarities can be seen between the 19th-century parts of Willemstad and the nearby Venezuelan city of Coro in Falcón State
Falcón State
. The latter has also been designated a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site. In the 19th century, Curaçaoans such as Manuel Piar and Luis Brión were prominently engaged in the wars of independence of Venezuela
Venezuela
and Colombia
Colombia
. Political refugees from the mainland (such as Simon Bolivar ) regrouped in Curaçao. Children from affluent Venezuelan families were educated on the island. Luis Brión , a Curaçao-born Venezuelan admiral

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the island changed hands among the British, the French, and the Dutch several times. In the early 19th century, Portuguese and Lebanese migrated to Curaçao, attracted by the business opportunities. Stable Dutch rule returned in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic wars
, when the island was incorporated into the colony of Curaçao and Dependencies .

The Dutch abolished slavery in 1863, bringing a change in the economy with the shift to wage labour. Some inhabitants of Curaçao
Curaçao
emigrated to other islands, such as Cuba
Cuba
, to work in sugar cane plantations . Other former slaves had nowhere to go and remained working for the plantation owner in the tenant farmer system. This was an instituted order in which the former slave leased land from his former master. In exchange the tenant promised to give up for rent most of his harvest to the former slave master. This system lasted until the beginning of the 20th century.

Historically, Dutch was not widely spoken on the island outside of colonial administration; its use increased in the late 19th and early 20th century. Students on Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire
Bonaire
were taught predominantly in Spanish until the late 19th century. There were also efforts to introduce bilingual popular education in Dutch and Papiamentu in the late 19th century (van Putte 1999).

When oil was discovered in the Maracaibo Basin town of Mene Grande in 1914, the fortunes of the island were dramatically altered. In the early years, both Shell and Exxon held drilling concessions in Venezuela, which ensured a constant supply of crude oil to the refineries in Aruba and Curaçao. Crude oil production in Venezuela was inexpensive. The integrated companies Shell and Exxon controlled the entire industry from pumping, transporting and refining to marketing the end product. The refineries on Aruba and Curaçao operated in global markets and were profitable partly because of the margin between the production costs of crude oil and the revenues realized on products. This provided a safety net for losses incurred through inefficiency or excessive operating costs at the refineries.

Curaçao
Curaçao
experienced an economic downturn in the early 1980s. Shell's refinery on Curaçao
Curaçao
operated with significant losses from 1975 to 1979, and again from 1982 to 1985. Persistent losses, global over-production, tougher competition, and low market expectations threatened the future of the Shell refinery in Curaçao. In 1985, after a presence of 70 years, Royal Dutch Shell decided to end its activities on Curaçao. Shell's announcement came at a crucial moment; the fragile economy of Curaçao
Curaçao
had been stagnating for some time. Several revenue-generating endeavours suffered even more during this period: tourism from Venezuela
Venezuela
collapsed after the devaluation of the bolivar, the transport industry deteriorated with deleterious effects on the profits of the Antillean Airline Company, and the Curaçao
Curaçao
Dry Dock Company experienced major setbacks. The offshore industry (financial services) also experienced a downturn because of new tax laws in the US.

In the mid-1980s, Shell sold the refinery for the symbolic amount of one Antillean guilder to a local government consortium. The aging refinery has been the subject of lawsuits in recent years, which charge that its emissions, including sulfur dioxide and particulate matter , far exceed safety standards. The government consortium currently leases the refinery to the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA .

Due to an economic slump in the late 1990s and early 2000s, emigration to the Netherlands
Netherlands
has been high.

On 1 July 2007, the island of Curaçao
Curaçao
was due to become a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 28 November 2006, this was delayed when the island council rejected a clarification memorandum on the process. A new island council ratified this agreement on 9 July 2007. On 15 December 2008, Curaçao
Curaçao
was scheduled to become a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
(as Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
were). A non-binding referendum on this plan took place in Curaçao
Curaçao
on 15 May 2009, in which 52 percent of the voters supported these plans.

After September 2010

The dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
came into effect on 10 October 2010. Curaçao
Curaçao
became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy. The kingdom was also to oversee the island's finances under a debt-relief arrangement agreed between the two. Curaçao's first prime minister was Gerrit Schotte . He was succeeded in 2012 by Stanley Betrian , ad interim . After elections in 2012 Daniel Hodge became the third prime minister, on 31 December 2012. He led a demissionary cabinet until 7 June 2013, when a new cabinet under the leadership of Ivar Asjes was sworn in.

The prime minister between 31 August 2015 and December 2016 was Ben Whiteman . The next two Prime Ministers also served short terms in 2016 and 2017, Hensley Koeiman and Gilmar Pisas . The current Prime Minister of Curaçao
Curaçao
is Eugene Rhuggenaath .

Although Curaçao
Curaçao
is autonomous, the Netherlands
Netherlands
has interfered when necessary to ensure that parliamentary elections were held and to assist in finalizing an accurate budget. In July 2017, PM Rhuggenaath stated that he wants the island to take full responsibility but asked for more cooperation and assistance from the Netherlands
Netherlands
with suggestions for more innovative approaches to help Curaçao
Curaçao
succeed, increasing the standard of living. The Dutch government reminded Curaçao
Curaçao
that it has provided assistance with Oil Refinery negotiations with the Chinese "on numerous occasions".

FORTS

When the Dutch arrived in 1634, they built forts at key points around the island to protect themselves from foreign powers, privateers, and pirates. Six of the best preserved forts can still be seen today:

* Fort Amsterdam (1635) * Fort Beekenburg (1703) * Fort Nassau (1797) * Waterfort (1826) * Riffort (1828) * Piscadera Bay Fort (built between 1701–1704)

In 1957, the Hotel Van der Valk Plaza Curaçao
Curaçao
was built on top of the Waterfort.

The Riffort contains restaurants, and shops. It is located on the opposite side of the Waterfort across the entrance to the harbour. In 2009, the Renaissance Curaçao
Curaçao
Resort and Casino opened next to the Riffort.

GEOGRAPHY

_ THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (June 2014)_

_ Map of Curaçao
Curaçao
A detailed map of Curaçao
Curaçao
from the Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch West-Indië 1914–1917_.

Curaçao, as well as the rest of the ABC islands and also Trinidad and Tobago
Tobago
, lies on the continental shelf of South America, and is thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America. Curaçao's highest point is the Sint Christoffelberg 375 m (1,230 ft). The coastlines bays, inlets and hot springs offer an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater used in hydrotherapy and mesotherapy, making this island one of many balneoclimateric areas in the region.

FLORA

The flora of Curaçao
Curaçao
differs from the typical tropical island vegetation. Xeric scrublands are common, with various forms of cacti , thorny shrubs, evergreen , and the watapana tree, called divi-divi on Aruba, characteristic for the ABC islands and the national symbol of Aruba.

FAUNA

Further information: Rodents of the Caribbean
Caribbean
§ Curaçao
Curaçao

CLIMATE

Curaçao
Curaçao
has a tropical savannah climate (Köppen climate classification _As_) with a dry season from January to September and a wet season from October to December. The temperatures are relatively constant with small differences throughout the year. The trade winds bring cooling during the day and the same trade winds bring warming during the night. The coolest month is January with an average temperature of 26.5 °C (80 °F) and the warmest month is September with an average temperature of 28.9 °C (84 °F). The year's average maximum temperature is 31.2 °C (88 °F). The year's average minimum temperature is 25.3 °C (78 °F).

Curaçao
Curaçao
lies outside the hurricane belt , but is still occasionally affected by hurricanes, as for example Hazel in 1954, Anna in 1961 Felix in 2007 and Omar in 2008. A landfall of a hurricane in Curaçao has not occurred since the United States
United States
National Hurricane
Hurricane
Center started tracking hurricanes. Curaçao
Curaçao
has, however, been directly affected by pre-hurricane tropical storms several times; the latest which did so were Tomas in 2010, Cesar in 1996, Joan-Miriam in 1988, Cora and Greta in 1978, Edith and Irene in 1971 and Francelia in 1969. Tomas brushed Curaçao
Curaçao
as a tropical storm, dropping as much as 265 mm (10.4 in) of precipitation on the territory, nearly half of the annual precipitation in one day. This made Tomas one of the wettest events in the island's history, as well as one of the most devastating; its flooding killed two people and caused over NAƒ60 million (US$28 million) in damage.

GEOLOGY

The northern sea floor drops steeply within 60 m (200 ft) of the shore. This drop-off is known as the "blue edge".

On Curaçao, four major geological formations can be found: The lava formation, the Knip formation, the Mid- Curaçao
Curaçao
formation and Limestone formations.

GOVERNMENT

Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries and territories and outermost regions Main article: Government
Government
of Curaçao
Curaçao

The government of Curaçao
Curaçao
takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic country . The Prime Minister is the head of government . Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Convicted felons are held at the Curaçao
Curaçao
Centre for Detention and Correction prison.

Curaçao
Curaçao
has full autonomy on most matters, with the exceptions summed up in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
under the title "Kingdom affairs ".

MILITARY

Two Dutch naval bases, Parera and Suffisant, are located on the island of Curaçao. Officers of the Arubaanse Militie complete further training on Curaçao.

Located at the west side of Curaçao International Airport there are hangars for the two Bombardier Dash 8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and two AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters of the Dutch Caribbean
Caribbean
Coast Guard. This was until 2007 a naval airbase of the Royal Netherlands Navy who operated the base for 55 years. With a wide variety of aircraft in the past years Fireflies, Avengers, Trackers, Neptunes, Fokker F-27's, P-3C Orions, Fokker F-60's and several helicopters. After the political decision to sell all Orions the airbase wasn't needed anymore.

The west end of the airport is a USAF
USAF
Forward Operating Location (FOL). The base hosts AWACS and transport aircraft. Until 1999 the USAF
USAF
operated a small fleet of F-16 fighters from the FOB

CONSCRIPTION

Suffisant Naval Base has facilities for conscription in the Caribbean, which has not been military conscription since 1997, but social conscription. This type of conscription offers underprivileged Antillean young people the chance of taking professional training.

ECONOMY

Main article: Economy of Curaçao Historic Area of Willemstad, declared World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
by UNESCO
UNESCO
in 1997.

Curaçao
Curaçao
has an open economy , with tourism, international trade, shipping services, oil refining (for Venezuela
Venezuela
and in future, perhaps for the Chinese), storage (oil and bunkering) and international financial services being the most important sectors. The Venezuelan oil company PdVSA has a lease on the island's oil refinery but that expires in 2019; the facility employs 1000 people, refining oil from Venezuela
Venezuela
for export to the US and Asia.

Curaçao's economy is well developed and supports a high standard of living, ranking 46th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 27th in the world in terms of nominal GDP per capita . Curaçao possesses a high income economy , as defined by the World Bank. Activities related to the port of Willemstad (like the Free Trade Zone ) make a significant contribution to the economy. To achieve the government's aim to make its economy more diverse, efforts are being made to attract more foreign investment. This policy, called the 'Open Arms' policy, features a heavy focus on information technology companies.

There has been little economic growth; in fact, that was estimated as zero in 2016 due primarily to reduced foreign demand leading to decreased exports along with increased public demand for services and goods. Value added increase was recorded in the construction, financial intermediation and utilities sectors while other aspects of the economy contracted.

TOURISM

View of Piscadera Fort and Bay

While tourism plays a major role in Curaçao's economy, it is less reliant on tourism than other Caribbean
Caribbean
countries. Most tourists originate from the Netherlands, Eastern United States, South America and other Caribbean
Caribbean
Islands . It is a leader in the Caribbean
Caribbean
in cruise tourism growth with 610,186 cruise passengers in 2013, a 41.4% increase over the prior year. Hato International Airport received 1,772,501 passengers in 2013 and recently announced capital investments totaling US$48 million aimed at transforming the airport into a regional hub by 2018. In 2017 the tourism sector was expected grow at 1% in terms of the total tourist stay over and by 15% in total cruise visitors versus 2016.

The island's insular shelf has a sharp drop-off known as the "Blue Edge" which is often visited by Scuba diving tourists. Coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving can be reached without a boat. The southern coast has calm waters as well as many small beaches, such as Jan Thiel and Cas Abou. The coastline of Curaçao
Curaçao
features numerous bays and inlets which serve as popular mooring locations for boats.

In June 2017, the island was named the Top Cruise Destination in the Southern Caribbean
Caribbean
by Cruise Critic , a major online forum. The winners of the Destination Awards were selected based on comments from cruise passengers who rated the downtown area of Willemstad as "amazing" and the food and shopping as "excellent".

Some of the coral reefs are affected by tourism. Porto Marie Beach is experimenting with artificial coral reefs in order to improve the reef's condition. Hundreds of artificial coral blocks that have been placed are now home to a large array of tropical fish. The Curaçao
Curaçao
Sea Aquarium and the Dolphin Academy share this islet on the west coast of Curaçao, with Seaquarium Beach nearby.

LABOUR

In 2016, a Labor Force Survey (LFS) indicated that the unemployment rate was 13.3%. For residents aged 15-64, the employment rate was 70.4%.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Curaçao's history in financial services dates back to World War I
World War I
. Prior to this period, the financial arms of local merchant houses functioned as informal lenders to the community. However, at the turn of the century, Curaçao
Curaçao
underwent industrialization, and a number of merchant houses established private commercial banks . As the economy grew, these banks began assuming additional functions eventually becoming full-fledged financial institutions.

The Dutch Caribbean
Caribbean
Securities Exchange is located in the capital of Willemstad, as is the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten ; the latter of which dates to 1828. It is the oldest central bank in the Western Hemisphere. The island's legal system supports a variety of corporate structures and is a corporate haven . Though Curaçao
Curaçao
is considered a tax haven , it adheres to the EU Code of Conduct against harmful tax practices. It holds a qualified intermediary status from the United States
United States
Internal Revenue Service . It is an accepted jurisdiction of the OECD
OECD
and Caribbean
Caribbean
Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering . The country enforces Anti- Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism funding compliance.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

Banco di Caribe at Willemstad.

On June 30, 2014, Curaçao
Curaçao
was deemed to have an Inter- Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States
United States
of America with respect to the "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act" of the United States of America.

The Model 1 Agreement (52 Pages) recognizes the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Netherlands
and states that the agreement relates to Curaçao. This agreement recognizes the following:

The Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with respect to Taxes, which was signed in Washington on 17 April 2002 between the Government of the Netherland Antilles with respect to Curaçao
Curaçao
and the Government of the United States
United States
of America.

The exchange of Notes between the Governments via the respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs "dated 31 October 2014 and 4 November 2014 between the Parties regarding the application of the TIEA in light of the dissolution of the Netherlands
Netherlands
Antilles" of which Curaçao
Curaçao
was a member country.

At March 27, 2017, the US Treasury site discloses that the Model 1 agreement and related agreement were "In Force" on August 3, 2016.

TRADE

Curaçao
Curaçao
trades mainly with the United States, Venezuela, and the European Union. It has an Association Agreement with the European Union which allows companies which do business in and via Curaçao
Curaçao
to export products to European markets, free of import duties and quotas. It is also a participant in the US Caribbean
Caribbean
Basin Initiative allowing it to have preferential access to the US market.

PROSTITUTION

Prostitution in Curaçao
Curaçao
is legal only for foreign women who get a temporary permit to work in the large open-air brothel called "Le Mirage " or "Campo Alegre" that has operated near the airport since the 1940s, and for the men (locals included) who make use of their services. Curaçao
Curaçao
monitors, contains and regulates the industry. The government states that the workers in these establishments are thereby given a safe environment and access to medical practitioners. This approach does exclude local women (or men) to legally make a living from prostitution and does lead to loss of local income as the foreign prostitutes send or take most of their earnings home.

The U.S. State Department has cited anecdotal evidence claiming that,"Curaçao... destination island... for women trafficked for the sex trade from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, according to local observers. At least 500 foreign women reportedly are in prostitution throughout the five islands of the Antilles, some of whom have been trafficked." The US Department of State has said that the government of Curaçao
Curaçao
frequently underestimates the extent of human trafficking problems.

DEMOGRAPHICS

BIRTHS AND DEATHS

YEAR POPULATION LIVE BIRTHS DEATHS NATURAL INCREASE CRUDE BIRTH RATE CRUDE DEATH RATE RATE OF NATURAL INCREASE TFR

2009

1,898 1,114 784 12.9 7.6 5.3 2,038

2010

2,032 1,246 786 13.7 8.4 5.3 2,199

2011

1,974 1,276 698 13.1 8.5 4.6 2,076

2012

2,039 1,240 793 13.4 8.2 5.2 2,168

2013 152,760 1,959 1,200 709 12.7 8.1 4.6 2,052

2014

1,963 1,370 593 12.6 8.8 3.8 2.009

2015

1,874 1,398 476 11.9 8.8 3.1 1.863

STRUCTURE OF THE POPULATION

Structure of the population (01.07.2013) (Estimates) :

AGE GROUP MALE FEMALE TOTAL %

Total 70,342 83,479 153,821 100

0–4 4,919 4,615 9,534 6.20

5–9 4,824 4,648 9,472 6.16

10–14 5,362 5,028 10,390 6.75

15–19 5,510 5,377 10,886 7.08

20–24 4,165 4,371 8,536 5.55

25–29 3,672 4,403 8,075 5.25

30–34 3,527 4,803 8,330 5.42

35–39 3,939 5,165 9,103 5.92

40–44 5,031 6,337 11,367 7.39

45–49 5,352 6,811 12,163 7.91

50–54 5,506 7,197 12,703 8.26

55–59 4,801 6,130 10,931 7.11

60–64 4,271 5,327 9,597 6.24

65–69 3,507 4,477 7,983 5.19

70–74 2,419 3,236 5,655 3.68

75–79 1,794 2,473 4,267 2.77

80–84 1,056 1,601 2,657 1.73

85–89 476 897 1,373 0.89

90–94 166 430 596 0.39

95–99 42 129 171 0.11

100+ 8 30 38 0.02

AGE GROUP MALE FEMALE TOTAL PERCENT

0–14 15,105 14,291 29,396 19.11

15–64 45,769 55,915 101,684 66.11

65+ 9,468 13,273 22,741 14.78

LANGUAGES

Curaçao
Curaçao
is a polyglot society. The official languages are Dutch , Papiamentu and English . However, Dutch is the sole language for all administration and legal matters. Most of Curaçao's population is able to converse in at least two of the languages of Papiamentu, Dutch, English, and Spanish .

The most widely spoken language is Papiamentu, a Portuguese creole spoken in all levels of society. Papiamentu was introduced as a language of primary school education in 1993, making Curaçao
Curaçao
one of a handful of places where a creole language is used as a medium to acquire basic literacy. Spanish and English also have a long historical presence in Curaçao. Spanish became an important language in the 18th century due to the close economic ties with Spanish colonies in what are now Venezuela
Venezuela
and Colombia. Use of English dates to the early 19th century, when the British took Curaçao
Curaçao
and Bonaire . When Dutch rule resumed in 1815, officials already noted wide use of the language.

According to the 2001 census, Papiamentu is the first language of 81.2% of the population. Dutch is the first language of 8% of the population. Spanish is the first language of 4% of the population, and English is the first language of 2.9%. However, these numbers divide the population in terms of first language and do not account for the high rate of bilingualism in the population of Curaçao.

ETHNICITIES

A Bulawaya dance

Because of its history, the island's population comes from a number of ethnic backgrounds. There is an Afro- Caribbean
Caribbean
majority of African descent, and also sizeable minorities of Dutch , Latin American, French , South Asian , East Asian , Portuguese and Levantine people. Additionally, there are both Sephardic and Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi
Jews.

RELIGION

Religion in Curaçao
Curaçao
Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
(72.8%) Protestant
Protestant
(16.7%) None (6%) Other (Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, etc.) (3.8%) Unspecified (0.6%)

According to a 2011 estimate, the majority of the inhabitants of Curaçao:

* Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
; 72.8% * Pentecostal
Pentecostal
; 6.6% * other Protestant
Protestant
; 3.2% * Adventist ; 3% * Jehovah\'s Witnesses ; 2% * Evangelical ; 1.9% * Other; 3.8% * None; 6% * Unspecified; 0.6%

This includes a shift towards the charismatic renewal or charismatic movement since the mid-1970s. Other denominations include the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Methodist Church
Methodist Church
. Alongside these Christian denominations, some inhabitants practice Montamentu and other diaspora African religions. Like elsewhere in Latin America, Pentecostalism is on the rise. There are also practising Muslims and Hindus.

The Catholic diocese of Willemstad encompasses all the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
in the Caribbean
Caribbean
which includes Aruba , Curaçao, Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten
, and the islands of Bonaire
Bonaire
, St. Eustatius and Saba
Saba
. The diocese is also a member of the Antilles Episcopal Conference .

While small, Curaçao's Jewish community has had a significant impact on the island's history. Curaçao
Curaçao
has the oldest active Jewish congregation in the Americas
Americas
, dating to 1651. The Curaçao
Curaçao
synagogue is the oldest synagogue of the Americas
Americas
in continuous use, since its completion in 1732 on the site of a previous synagogue.

EDUCATION

Public education is based on the Dutch educational system and besides the public schools, private and parochial schools are also available. Since the introduction of a new public education law in 1992, compulsory primary education starts at age six and continues six years, secondary lasts for another five.

The main institute of higher learning is the University of Curaçao , enrolling 2,100 students. The comprehensive model of education is under influences from both Dutch and American's education offering. Other higher education offering on the island include offshore medical schools , language schools and academies for fine art, music, police, teacher and nurse-training.

CULTURE

LITERATURE

Despite the island's relatively small population, the diversity of languages and cultural influences on Curaçao
Curaçao
have generated a remarkable literary tradition, primarily in Dutch and Papiamentu . The oral traditions of the Arawak indigenous peoples are lost. West African slaves brought the tales of Anansi , thus forming the basis of Papiamentu literature. The first published work in Papiamentu was a poem by Joseph Sickman Corsen entitled _Atardi_, published in the _La Cruz_ newspaper in 1905. Throughout Curaçaoan literature, narrative techniques and metaphors best characterized as magic realism tend to predominate. Novelists and poets from Curaçao
Curaçao
have made an impressive contribution to Caribbean
Caribbean
and Dutch literature
Dutch literature
. Best known are Cola Debrot , Frank Martinus Arion , Pierre Lauffer, Elis Juliana,Guillermo Rosario, Boeli van Leeuwen and Tip Marugg .

CUISINE

Local food is called _Krioyo_ (pronounced the same as _criollo_, the Spanish word for "Creole") and boasts a blend of flavours and techniques best compared to Caribbean
Caribbean
cuisine and Latin American cuisine. Dishes common in Curaçao
Curaçao
are found in Aruba and Bonaire
Bonaire
as well. Popular dishes include: stobá (a stew made with various ingredients such as papaya , beef or goat ), Guiambo (soup made from okra and seafood ), kadushi (cactus soup), sopi mondongo (intestine soup), funchi (cornmeal paste similar to fufu , ugali and polenta ) and a lot of fish and other seafood. The ubiquitous side dish is fried plantain . Local bread rolls are made according to a Portuguese recipe. All around the island, there are snèks which serve local dishes as well as alcoholic drinks in a manner akin to the English public house .

The ubiquitous breakfast dish is pastechi: fried pastry with fillings of cheese, tuna, ham, or ground meat. Around the holiday season special dishes are consumed, such as the hallaca and pekelé, made out of salt cod . At weddings and other special occasions a variety of kos dushi are served: kokada (coconut sweets), ko'i lechi (condensed milk and sugar sweet) and tentalaria (peanut sweets). The Curaçao
Curaçao
liqueur was developed here, when a local experimented with the rinds of the local citrus fruit known as laraha . Surinamese , Chinese, Indonesian , Indian and Dutch culinary influences also abound. The island also has a number of Chinese restaurants that serve mainly Indonesian dishes such as satay , nasi goreng and lumpia (which are all Indonesian names for the dishes). Dutch specialties such as croquettes and oliebollen are widely served in homes and restaurants.

SPORTS

In 1962 Curaçao
Curaçao
hosted the World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament , won by Tigran Petrosian . Jurickson Profar

In 2004, the Little League Baseball team from Willemstad, Curaçao, won the world title in a game against the United States
United States
champion from Thousand Oaks, California . The Willemstad lineup included Jurickson Profar , the standout shortstop prospect who now plays for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
.

In the 2006 World Baseball Classic , Curaçaoans played for the Netherlands
Netherlands
team. Shairon Martis , born in Willemstad , contributed to the Dutch team by throwing a seven-inning no-hitter against Panama (the game was stopped due to the mercy rule ).

The 2010 documentary film, Boys of Summer , details Curaçao's Pabao Little League All-Stars winning their country's eighth straight championship at the 2008 Little League World Series, then going on to defeat other teams, including Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
and the Dominican Republic, and earning a spot in Williamsport.

The prevailing trade winds and warm water make Curaçao
Curaçao
a location for windsurfing. One factor is that the deep water around Curaçao makes it difficult to lay marks for major windsurfing events, thus hindering the island's success as a windsurfing destination.

There is warm, clear water around the island. Scuba divers and snorkelers may have visibility up to 30 metres (98 feet) at the Curaçao
Curaçao
Underwater Marine Park, which stretches along 20 kilometres (12 miles) of Curaçao's southern coastline.

Curaçao
Curaçao
participated in the 2013 CARIFTA Games . Kevin Philbert stood third in the under-20 male Long Jump with a distance of 7.36 metres (24.15 feet). Vanessa Philbert stood second the under-17 female 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) with a time of 4:47.97.

INFRASTRUCTURE

AIRPORT

Hato International Airport is located on the island. Its main runway parallels, and is adjacent to, the northern coast.

It has services to the Caribbean
Caribbean
region, South America, North America and Europe. Hato Airport is a fairly large facility, with the third longest commercial runway in the Caribbean
Caribbean
region after Rafael Hernández Airport in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
and Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport in Guadeloupe. The airport serves as a main base for Insel Air.

BRIDGES

The Queen Emma (semi-open), and the Queen Juliana .

The Queen Emma Bridge , a 168 metres (551 ft) long pontoon bridge , connects pedestrians between the Punda and Otrobanda districts. This swings open to allow the passage of ships to and from the port. The bridge was originally opened in 1888 and the current bridge was installed in 1939. It is best known and, more often than not, referred to by the locals as "Our Swinging Old Lady".

The Queen Juliana Bridge connects mobile traffic between the same two districts. At 185 feet (56 m) above the sea, it is one of the highest bridges in the Caribbean.

UTILITIES

A private company, and full member of CARILEC , Aqualectra, delivers potable water and electricity to the island. Rates are controlled by the government. Water is produced by reverse osmosis or desalinization . It services 69,000 households and companies using 130,000 water and electric meters.

NOTABLE RESIDENTS

People from Curaçao
Curaçao
include:

ARTS AND CULTURE

* Tip Marugg , famous writer * Izaline Calister , singer-songwriter * Ruënna Mercelina , model, actress, beauty queen * Peter Hartman , past-CEO of KLM
KLM
* Kizzy McHugh , a singer songwriter and television personality based in the United States * Robby Müller , cinematographer, closely associated with Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch * Pernell Saturnino , a graduated percussionist of Berklee College of Music * Wim Statius Muller , composer, pianist

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

* Luis Brión , admiral in the Venezuelan War of Independence * Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez , first Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
* Daniel De Leon , a socialist leader * George Maduro , a war hero and namesake of Madurodam in The Hague * Manuel Carlos Piar , general and competitor of Bolivar during the Venezuelan War of Independence * Tula , leader of the 1795 slave revolt

RELIGION

* Aron Mendes Chumaceiro

SPORTS

Baseball

See also: Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
national baseball team

Players in Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
:

* Wladimir Balentien , professional outfielder * Roger Bernadina , professional outfielder * Didi Gregorius , professional shortstop * Kenley Jansen
Kenley Jansen
, professional pitcher * Andruw Jones , professional outfielder * Jair Jurrjens , professional pitcher * Shairon Martis , professional pitcher * Jurickson Profar , professional infielder * Jonathan Schoop , professional infielder * Andrelton Simmons
Andrelton Simmons
, professional shortstop * Hensley Meulens
Hensley Meulens
, professional baseball player and hitting coach * Randall Simon , first baseman * Ozhaino Albies, second baseman

FOOTBALL (SOCCER) See also: Curaçao national football team

* Vurnon Anita , a football player for Newcastle United in the English Premier League
Premier League
* Riechedly Bazoer , footballer currently playing for VfL Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga
Bundesliga
. * Roly Bonevacia , a footballer who plays for Western Sydney Wanderers in the Australian A-League * Gino van Kessel , a footballer who plays for Slavia Praha in the Czech First League . * Liandro Martis , footballer who plays for Leicester City in the English Premier League
Premier League
. * Cuco Martina , footballer who plays for Everton in the English Premier League
Premier League
* Irvingly van Eijma , footballer who currently plays for RKC Waalwijk in the Dutch Eerste Divisie * Quentin Martinus , footballer who plays for Yokohama F. Marinos
Yokohama F. Marinos
in the Japan
Japan
J1 League . * Darryl Lachman , footballer who currently plays for Willem II in the Dutch Eredivisie
Eredivisie
. * Juninho Bacuna , footballer who currently playing for FC Groningen in the Dutch Eredivisie
Eredivisie
. * Gevaro Nepomuceno , footballer who plays for C.S. Maritimo in the Portugal
Portugal
Primeira Liga . * Charlton Vicento , footballer currently playing for Helmond Sport in the Dutch Eerste divisie . * Jetro Willems , footballer currently playing for PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie
Eredivisie
. * Charlison Benschop , footballer currently playing for Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga
Bundesliga
.

OTHER SPORTS

* Marc de Maar , professional cyclist * Churandy Martina , gold medalist 100 metres at the Pan American Games 2007 * Jean-Julien Rojer , professional tennis player * Jemyma Betrian , professional mixed-martial-arts (MMA) fighter * Liemarvin Bonevacia , professional sprinter

SEE ALSO

* Caribbean
Caribbean
portal

* Leeward Antilles

NOTES

* ^ _A_ _B_

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Government
of the Netherlands. Retrieved 27 July 2013. * "Over Curaçao" (in Dutch). Government
Government
of Curaçao. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.

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REFERENCES

* Habitantenan di Kòrsou, sinku siglo di pena i gloria: 1499–1999. Römer-Kenepa, NC, Gibbes, FE, Skriwanek, MA., 1999. Curaçao: Fundashon Curaçao
Curaçao
500. * Social movements, violence, and change: the May Movement in Curaçao. WA Anderson, RR Dynes, 1975. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. * Stemmen uit het Verleden. Van Buurt, G., Joubert, S., 1994, Curaçao. * Het Patroon van de Oude Curaçaose Samenleving. Hoetink, H., 1987. Amsterdam: Emmering. * Dede pikiña ku su bisiña: Papiamentu-Nederlands en de onverwerkt verleden tijd. van Putte, Florimon., 1999. Zutphen: de Walburg Pers

FURTHER READING

* Corcos, Joseph. A Synopsis of the History of the Jews of Curaçao. Curazao: Imprenta de la Librería, 1897. * Emmanuel, Isaac S. and Suzanne A. _History of the Jews of the Netherlands
Netherlands
Antilles_. 2 vols. Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1970. * Rupert, Linda M. “Contraband Trade and the Shaping of Colonial Societies in Curaçao
Curaçao
and Tierra Firme.” _Itinerario_ 30 (2006): 35-54.

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to CURAçAO _.

* "Curaçao". _ The World Factbook
The World Factbook
_. Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
. * Curaçao
Curaçao
Tourism Board * Directory and information guide for Curaçao * First Millennium Development Goals and Report. Curaçao
Curaçao
and Sint Maarten. 2011 * Halman, Johannes; Robert Rojer (2008). _Jan Gerard Palm