Missing image
Curašao and Bonaire are two Caribbean islands
This article is about an island in the Caribbean Sea. For more information on the liqueur, see Blue Curašao.

Curašao [pronounced koo-rah-sow] (population 150,000) is both an island in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea. The isle is the largest and most populous of the Windward Islands of the Netherlands Antilles, a self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curašao's capital is Willemstad.

Curašao is renowned for its coral reefs which make it an excellent spot for scuba diving. Diving spots and beaches are located on the southside of the island. Strong currents make the northside unsuitable for swimming and diving. Curašao's highest point is the Christoffelberg (375 m.) in the northwestern part of the island.

The languages widely spoken on Curašao are Papiamento, Castilian (Spanish), English and Dutch. Of these languages, Papiamento is the native language of most inhabitants, with Dutch being the official state language taught in schools. Papiamento is a creole language that has developed through centuries of contact between the diverse peoples living on Curašao. The Papiamento for Curašao is Korsou.

Discovered by the Spaniards, the island was occupied by the Dutch in 1634. The original inhabitants were Arawak Indians, which were decimated after the Spanish occupation. After the island became a territory of the Netherlands, slaves were brought from Africa. The Dutch abolished slavery in 1863. Because of its history, the island now has a diverse ethnic background. Willemstad features colonial architecture and has the western hemisphere's oldest synagogues in continuous use, founded in 1651. This, along with the wide range of other historic buildings in Willemstad, earned the capital a place on UNESCO's world heritage list.

The main industries of the island are tourism and oil refining. Off-shore banking activities also contribute to the local economy. Curašao gained limited self-government on January 1, 1954.

In the 2000s the political status of the island has been under discussion, as for the other islands of the Netherlands Antilles, regarding the relationship with the Netherlands and between the islands of the Antilles. In a referendum held on April 8 2005, together with Sint Eustatius, the residents voted for a separate status outside the Netherlands Antilles, like Aruba, rejecting the options for full independence, becoming part of the Netherlands, or retaining the status quo.

The name "Curašao" has become associated with a particular shade of blue, and is sometimes used as an adjective, because of the deep-blue liqueur named "Blue Curašao". Curašao liqueur is a drink flavored with the dried peels of bitter oranges grown on the island. Although blue is the most famous version, Curašao liqueur is also produced clear, or with orange or green coloring.

South-east of the coast of Curašao lies the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curašao.



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The flag of Curašao contains a blue background with a yellow stripe near the bottom and two white, five-pointed stars near the top. The blue symbolizes the blue sea and sky (the top and bottom blue sections, respectively) punctuated by the yellow sun. The two stars represent Curašao and Klein Curašao, with the five points on each star symbolizing the five continents from which Curašao's people come.

External Link

Curašao at Flags of the World (http://fotw.vexillum.com/flags/an-cu.html)

Literature from Curašao

Novelists from Curašao have made an impressive contribution to Caribbean and Dutch literature. Best known are Cola Debrot, Frank Martinus Arion, Boeli van Leeuwen and Tip Marugg.

External link

Template:Maplr Mapquest zoom level 7 only has the Willemstad region; this region is also available in zoom level 8, 9, and 10.da:Curašao de:Curašao fr:Curašao nl:Curaçao sv:Curašao tr:Kurasao


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