Curacao is an island that is situated off of the Venezuelan coast in the South Carribean Sea. It is one of the five islands of the Netherland Antilles and is composed of the main island and a smaller uninhabited island that is called Klein Curacao. Curacao covers an area of one hundred and seventy-one square miles and has a population of one hundred and forty-one thousand residents. This makes the island the most populated of the Lesser Antiles, as well as the largest. The original inhabitants of the island were the Arawak Indians. The first Europeans to visit the island were Spanish explorers led by Alonso De Ojeda at the end of the fourteenth century. The original natives were exported by the Spanish to other colonies where a labor force was needed. During the seventeenth century, Curacao became occuppied by the Dutch. The capital of Willemstad was then founded and it quickly became an important trade port. Curaco would become successful as the hub for the slave trade in the Carribean. During this time many buildings were erected that combined Spanish and Dutch architectural styles. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the island would change hands many times. It was owned by the British, the French and the Dutch. In 1815, the island would remain in the hands of the Dutch. In 1863, the Dutch abolished slavery, an act which caused signifigant economic turmoil. This caused many of the islands inhabitants to leave. During the early twentieth century, oil was discovered and oil refineries were built by the Dutch government. Today, Curacao has a Gross Domestic Product Per Capita of $20,000 US dollars. The main industries of the island consist of oil refining, financial services and tourism.
Cuisine on the island is known as Krioyo and features a blend of Latin American and traditional Caribbean cuisines. Prominent dinner dishes on the island of Curacao include funchi (cornmeal paste that is similar to polenta), a goat stew named stoba, guiambo (a stew made from fresh seafood and okra), sopi mondongo (beef intestine stew), a cacti soup known as kadushi and fried plantains. Other foods that are served include pastechi, kokada, koi lechi and tentalaria. But, the island also has a representation of other cuisines from around the world which include American, Chinese, Dutch, Surinamese, Indian and Indonesian cuisines. Food isn’t the only that that Curacao is known for however. It is also known for its diverse music. Musical styles on the island include waltzes, mazurkas, danzas, pasillos, tumbas and seshi. Curacao has also been home to several celebrities and other prominent people which include Vurnon Anita, Egberton Winklaar, Andruw Jones, Hensley Meulens, Shad Gaspard, Rudolph Palm, Daniel De Leon, Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez, Manuel Carlos Piar, Churandy Martina, Wladimir Balentien, Jair Jurrjens, George Maduro, Curt Smith, Kizzy Getrouw, Peter Hartman, Pernell Saturnino, Jan Gerard Palm, Randall Simon, Ingrid Hoffman, Shairon Martis, Kevin Chittick and Jacobo Palm.
A popular attraction on Curacao is the Kura Hulanda Museum. This is an anthropological museum that centers its attention on the cultures of the island. It was founded in April of 1999 and was the brainchild of Jacob Gelt Dekker. He funded the museum with an investment of six million dollars in private funds. Kura Hulanda Museum is situated in St. Anna Bay in the capital city of Curacao, Willemstad. Some of the topics that the museum deals with include Voodoo, Slavery, Lands of Abraham, West African Kingdoms, Slavery & Abolition in the United States, Roman Glass, Dogon Culture, African Religions, Surinam and the Harlem Renaissance.
Other popular attractions on the island of Curacao include Savonet Museum, Gallery 86, Playa Canoa, Superior Producer, Small Wall, Mako’s Mountain, Floating Market, Radio City Reef, Long Beach, Mushroom Cave, Mushroom Forest, Landhuis Jan Kok, Den Paradera, Daai Booi Bay, Bolivar Museum, Postal Museum, Caribbean Sea Sports Dive Shop, Punda, The Dive Bus, Curacao Ostrich and Game Farm, Otrobanda, Boca Tabla Cave, Kura Hulanda Museum, Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, Hato Caves, Dolphin Academy, Curacao Sea Aquarium, Fort Nassau, Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge, Ocean Encounters Curacao, Queen Juliana Bridge, Knip Bay, Christoffel National Park, Curacao Liqueur Distillery, Curacao Museum, Maritime Museum, Jewish Cultural Historical Museum, Kas di Pali Maishi, Scharloo, Fort Amsterdam, Mambo Beach, Handelskade, Playa Kalki, Curacao Golf and Squash Club, Night Express Loko Loko Barhopper Tour, Curacao Underwater Marine Park, Riffort Village, Mermaid Boat Trips, Beit Hayim Cemetery, Natural History Museum and Mount Christoffel. Prominent hotels located on Curacao include Trupial Inn Hotel & Casino, Lions Dive and Beach Resort, Hotel Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino, Plaza Hotel and Floris Suite Hotel. Restaurants on the island include Claudia’s Bistro, Hing Cher Ching, Clarion Hotel and Suites Restaurant, Hook’s Hut, Divi Little Bay and Jimbo’s Rock & Blues Cafe.