A Brief History of Curacao
About 5000 years ago, the human kind first stepped foot on the paradise of Curacao. These human beings were Arawak Indians who were soon followed by Spaniards and other Europeans. History shows that the Spaniards took their time in setting up an establishment here as the lack of natural resources reduced the usefulness of the island in their eyes.
In 1634, the Dutch were attracted to Curacao and founded the capital of Willemstad, on the banks of an inlet –‘Schottegat’. Trade and commerce began to flourish after the establishment of this harbor at Willemstad and so did slave trading. At the expense of these slaves, Curacao quickly became one of the wealthiest islands of the Caribbean.
In 1920, due to the discovery of oil along the Venezuelan coast, Curacao entered a whole new era. Throughout this journey, due to its wealth, Curacao suffered under Dutch colonies and witnessed many revolutions which finally led to Curacao obtaining the status of a constituent country under the Kingdom of Netherlands.
Curacao’s vibrant community is a result of a perfect amalgamation of cultures from across 42 different ethnicities and 50 nationalities with majorities of Afro-Caribbean, Dutch, French, Latin American, and Asian folk.
Curacao has been the birthplace of Papiamento (a unique creole language containing elements of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, as well as Arawakan and African languages) and the famous drink “Curacao”.
The island maintains strong ties with its Afro-Caribbean heritage which began with slavery and left its strong influence on language, music and culture. “Tambu”- an ancient form of music and dance which has been passed on through generations is the perfect manifestation of this African influence. Many other interesting musical instruments like the Bastel, a horn made from a cow’s horn and the Chapi, made from a hoe and metal rod, lend its history to the African heritage.
Innate Dutch influence
With pastel-colored buildings and double-dutch signs, the Dutch flavor is also unmistakable in this sunny island. Dutch is also the official language of Curacao and is spoken at all levels of government as well as for business purposes.
Awarded the status of “UNESCO World Heritage City”, Willemstad boasts of colourful buildings that seem to be right out of a fairy tale and pave the way for #nofilter Instagram shots for visitors! The architecture may easily remind someone of Norway but these buildings have an interesting story behind it.
It is said that at one point of time all buildings were painted white due to the availability of certain materials. The former governor of Willemstad who suffered from headaches, believed that his misery was exacerbated by the strong reflections of the sun’s rays off the white buildings. Thus, he mandated that the exterior of buildings must not be white which resulted in the creation of this distinct architecture.
The seamless blend of cultures
Curacao seamlessly blends numerous cultures and showcases its rich heritage in the form of architecture, music, language and culture. This blend of cultures gives a soul to this Caribbean paradise which makes Curacao much more than just a treat for the eyes.
The Guide includes:
- Nearly 30 pages of Curacao tips, tricks, and secrets
- Detailed information about the best resorts, restaurants, and activities
- And MORE!