OUR HISTORY IS INSIDE OF US
As far as known, the very first visitors of our island arrived in 1600 BC. We know that, after a number of unique discoveries on our island in 2011. These people probably came from the neighboring island of Curacao. They initially lived as half-nomads and were fed on the animals of our land and sea. These Caquetio Indians, a tribe of the Arawak, later lived on one spot on our island and grew vegetables in the country. The sweet potato is descended directly from them.
1492, when Columbus sailed into the Caribbean, was the beginning of several centuries of colonization. We have been ruled by the British, French, Dutch, Spaniards and Scandinavians. They completely robbed our island on turn, leaving it empty and without room for the Indians: they died of an unknown illness or were killed, discarded or enslaved. At present, there are only 4,000 direct descendants of the Indians in the entire Caribbean.
Traces of the first residents
The first inhabitants of our island have left many traces. You can admire many beautiful discoveries in our museums like tools, utensils, weapons and jewelry made of earth, coral, bones and shells. On our island, you can admire rock paintings in many places, created by our first settlers.
The first Dutch set foot ashore in 1623, but Bonaire was captured by the Dutch West India Company only in 1636. At that time, slaves were employed as laborers in the country. In 1816, the ABC islands were added to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and in 1862 slavery was abolished.
Special municipality of the Netherlands
Curaçao has elections since 1937 and belonged to the Netherlands Antilles since 1948. Between 1993 and 1995 our residents voted for maintaining the Antilles ruling from Willemstad, but in 2004, by a referendum more than half of our residents stated that they prefer to have a direct relationship with the Netherlands. Meanwhile, our island is a special municipality of the Netherlands since 2010.