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The Dutch former Colonies

List of Settlements

Still Dutch

Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba (Nederlands West-Indië):

Aruba (1636-1805/1815-)
Curaçao (1634-1805/1815-)
Bonaire (1633-1805/1815-)
Sint Maarten (Ned.) en St. Martin (Fr.) (1620-1633/ 1644-1648
Sint Eustatius (1636-)
Saba (1620s/1640-1816-)
 

Aruba (1636-1805/1815-)

Fragments and cave paintings found on the island are widely considered remnants of the island's earliest inhabitants, the Arawak Caquetios Indians from South America, and date as far back as 1000 A.D. The Europeans arrived in 1499, when Spanish explorers found the island. The Spanish then controlled Aruba until the Dutch took over in 1636 and made the island, along with its neighbors Bonaire and Curacao, part of the Netherlands Antilles. Since then, with the exception of a brief period of English possession in 1805, Aruba has remained under Dutch control.

Early on, Aruba became a ranch economy with horse and cattle breeding supporting crops of mango, millet, coconut and aloe. In 1824, the discovery of gold set off a short-lived gold rush, which was soon exhausted and later followed by the rise of the Aruban aloe industry. In the 1920s, Standard Oil built a refinery near the town of San Nicolas and became the island's largest employer. This new industry attracted an influx of immigrants from North America, Europe and the rest of the Caribbean, creating a diverse cultural mix. Soon, English was widely spoken, and it remains so today, although Aruba's official languages are Dutch and Papiamento.

Papiamento, the local Afro-Portuguese Creole language, is only spoken in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and dates back some 300 years. Papiamento began as a simple pidgin language and evolved upon an African linguistic structure with a vocabulary made up mostly of variations on Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch words.

Although the first cruise ship arrived in Aruba in 1957, the tourism industry began to develop in earnest at the end of the 20th century and is now the island's primary economy. Today, approximately 100,000 people live on Aruba, an island roughly the size of Washington, DC. The official currency is the Aruban gilder, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted.

Fragments and cave paintings found on the island are widely considered remnants of the island's earliest inhabitants, the Arawak Caquetios Indians from South America, and date as far back as 1000 A.D. The Europeans arrived in 1499, when Spanish explorers found the island. The Spanish then controlled Aruba until the Dutch took over in 1636 and made the island, along with its neighbors Bonaire and Curacao, part of the Netherlands Antilles. Since then, with the exception of a brief period of English possession in 1805, Aruba has remained under Dutch control.

Early on, Aruba became a ranch economy with horse and cattle breeding supporting crops of mango, millet, coconut and aloe. In 1824, the discovery of gold set off a short-lived gold rush, which was soon exhausted and later followed by the rise of the Aruban aloe industry. In the 1920s, Standard Oil built a refinery near the town of San Nicolas and became the island's largest employer. This new industry attracted an influx of immigrants from North America, Europe and the rest of the Caribbean, creating a diverse cultural mix. Soon, English was widely spoken, and it remains so today, although Aruba's official languages are Dutch and Papiamento.

Papiamento, the local Afro-Portuguese Creole language, is only spoken in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and dates back some 300 years. Papiamento began as a simple pidgin language and evolved upon an African linguistic structure with a vocabulary made up mostly of variations on Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch words.

Although the first cruise ship arrived in Aruba in 1957, the tourism industry began to develop in earnest at the end of the 20th century and is now the island's primary economy. Today, approximately 100,000 people live on Aruba, an island roughly the size of Washington, DC. The official currency is the Aruban gilder, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted.

 

Aruba-1910

Aruba-1910

Salt Shipping

Salt Shipping

 

Oranjestad

Oranjestad,-Aruba-1910

 

Curaçao (1634-1805/1815-)

http://www.paradisebymarriott.com/feeds/vacation.php?include=137478

During the colonial period, Curacao was one of the Dutch Kingdom's most treasured Caribbean outposts. As a result, the Dutch worked for more than three centuries to secure the island and protect their interests. While forts were constructed along the entire coastline, the Dutch were especially concerned with Willemstad and its harbor. With Fort Amsterdam serving as the island's primary protecting structure, the Dutch built several smaller forts to protect individual sections of the capital city. Despite being under constant attack from pirate ships and competing British and French forces, this complex of forts was able to protect the Dutch colony for nearly 400 years. Today, eight of these forts still remain and most have found exciting new uses in modern Curacao.

Fort Amsterdam is the most significant of Curacao's remaining forts. Located on the strategic point known as Punda, Fort Amsterdam once served as the defender of Curacao's main harbor. Originally constructed in 1635, the imposing structure was able to protect the Dutch settlement throughout the colonial period. Today, Fort Amsterdam is one of the Caribbean's most recognizable UNESCO World Heritage sites and serves as an important government center for modern Curacao. In addition to housing the Governor's home, the island's Ministry and numerous government offices, Fort Amsterdam also features a historic museum and the United Protestant Church, both of which remain open to the public. The museum at Fort Amsterdam also offers tours of the facility that allow visitors to learn about the structure's unique history, take in breathtaking views from atop the walls and witness some truly odd sights such as the cannonball embedded in the fort's southwestern wall.

While Fort Amsterdam is unquestionably Curacao's most significant fort, Fort Beekenburg is one of the island's best preserved colonial structures. Fort Beekenburg was built in 1703 on picturesque Caracas Bay. From the time of its construction until the the mid-19th century, the fort successfully fought off attacks from French and British fleets, as well as several bands of pirates. Visitors to Caracas Bay will find a charming beach with shallow, warm water perfect for water sports. After playing in the water or simply relaxing in the sun, visitors can tour the entire fort and learn about its important role in Curacao's history.

In addition to Curacao's largest forts, there remain a number of well-preserved colonial forts throughout Willemstad. In each case, these forts within Curacao's historic capital protected strategic points of the island's harbor and populated coastline and now house restaurants and shops. Two such examples are Fort Nassau and Fort Waakzaamheid, a pair of smaller forts built near the beginning of the 19th century.

Fort Nassau was constructed in 1797 to defend the small St. Anna Bay and parts of Willemstad. Today, the fort is home to a restaurant, but is usually recognized by tourists as the control tower that opens and closes Curacao's famous pontoon bridge. Fort Waakzaamheid was built in 1803 and fell only one year later during a siege by Captain William Bligh and his British troops. As Fort Waakzaamheid offers an incredible view over the Otrobanda neighborhood and the shoreline, American troops mounted new guns and used the structure as an observation post and barracks during World War II. Today, Fort Waakzaamheid also houses a popular restaurant.

Another pair of forts in Willemstad have been converted into even more impressive destinations. The Riffort – a fort built in 1828 to protect a portion of the Otrobanda area – is now home to the Riffort Village, an impressive collection of shops, restaurants, bars and scenic terraces. Prior to its use as one of Curacao's premier shopping and dining destinations, Riffort was home to everything from police and public works offices to Curacao's boy scouts. Likewise, the Waterfort – an imposing fort with 136 turrets that was rebuilt in 1827 after the original 17th century structure was destroyed – is now home to some of Punda's most popular eateries.

As Curacao is home to a wealth of historic architecture and exciting tourism opportunities, these forts serve as wonderful representations of the island's unique allure. When staying in Willemstad, it is certainly hard to miss the forts that once protected this colonial city. Likewise, with so much now offered within these once-imposing buildings – from museums and historic tours to upscale shops and restaurants – Curacao's forts are also hard to forget.

 
Fort Amsterdam, curacao Fort Amsterdam, curacao
Fort Amsterdam Fort Amsterdam
Fort Amsterdam, curacao Rif Fort
Fort Amsterdam Rif Fort
Rif Fort Rif Fort
Rif Fort Rif Fort
Fort Beekenburg Fort Beekenburg
Fort Beekenburg Fort Beekenburg
Water Fort, curacao
Water Fort Water Fort
Water Fort, curacao Water Fort, curacao
Water Fort Water Fort
 

Bonaire (1633-1805/1815-)

Located just off the northern tip of South America, Bonaire was originally home to the Caquetios Indians, who colonized the island in 1000 AD.

Bonaire is one of the many small, charming islands that have seemingly slipped out of the breakneck pace of the modern world and embraced the slowed down lifestyle of a tropical paradise.

Here's a picture of some slave huts in Bonaire.

While the culture has long since disappeared, their cave and rock art lives on to this day for all of us to see. It is good to be reminded of the past so we don't make the same mistakes in the future.

European colonization brought dark times to the local inhabitants of this beautiful island, as they were first subjugated and enslaved by the Spanish in 1499 and for the next hundred years or so the island stood largely empty except for cattle and their tenders.

As a result of the constant conflict between the Spanish and the Dutch, the Netherlands took control of Bonaire in 1633 and shifted the economic focus of the island from livestock to agriculture, employing slave labor to support the Dutch West India Company.

Bonaire’s generous salt beds gave the small territory a prominent role for several hundred years in the production of this mineral.

The Dutch West India Company dissolved in 1791, and most of the island was nationalized by the government of the Netherlands, with slavery eventually being abolished in 1862.

Finally freedom was returned to the the Caquetios Indians. A happy part of Bonaire history.

Dutch control of Bonaire remained shaky during the 1800’s, as constant war and conflict with Britain caused the island to see several shifts in power, most notably in 1800 and in 1807.

The Netherlands eventually regained control of the territory, however, and continued to develop its naturals resources.

This picture shows you the salt pans in Bonaire. See how the salt makes the water pink? They call this area Pink Beach.

The timber and salt trade were bolstered by the further installation of military forts designed to keep marauding colonial powers at bay.

While no longer slaves, the Caquetios Indian population of Bonaire had a difficult time finding a role in the local economy, enduring poverty and hardship at the hands of European landowners until the South American oil industry enabled an investment in infrastructure that led to greater prosperity for all of the island’s inhabitants.

While the right to vote was granted in 1936, Bonaire did not become self-deterministic until 1954 when the Dutch royal family granted its citizens their independence.

Over the past 70 years, Bonaire has worked hard to put the past behind it and has transformed from an industrial economy into the tourist-oriented, beautiful exotic travel destination that it is today.

 

 Kralendijk

The " Skyline "of Kralendijk

 

 Kralendijk

The Government's Residence

 Kralendijk

Kralendijk, Bonaire-1910

 

Sint Maarten (Ned.) en St. Martin (Fr.) (1620-1633/ 1644-1648

Before Columbus arrived here during his second voyage in 1493, the island had already been inhabited for some one thousand years. The first people to settle here were a tribe of Arawak Indians who left their homeland in the Orinoco basin of South America and kept migrating upwards along the chain of islands in the Caribbean. They gave it the name "Sualouiga" meaning "Land of Salt" for the salt-pans and the brackish water they found here in great abundance. The few fresh water springs around Paradise Peak, Mount William, Billy Folly, and in the Lowlands could only support a small population, and this is where they mainly tended to congregate. A number of artifacts from this period are to be found preserved in the St.Martin Museum: On the Trail of the Arawaks. The Arawaks were later supplanted by a more aggressive tribe of Indians, the Caribs, who came down from North America and for whom the entire Caribbean is named.

Columbus never actually set foot on the island, but rather claimed it for Spain as he was passing by. He sighted the island on November 11, 1493, the feast of St.Martin, thus giving the island its name. Aside from asserting title to the place, the Spanish never took much interest in St.Martin, so the Dutch, seeking an outpost halfway between their colonies in Brazil and Nieue Amsterdam (now New York), occupied the island in 1631. The Dutch West India Company installed Jan Claeszen van Campen as governor, erected their first fort on the site of Fort Amsterdam, and began to mine salt. Before long, however, the Spanish, who wished to maintain their state monopoly in this essential preservative, became aware of the incursion and in 1633 they recaptured the island, expelling all of the Dutch, who then moved on to occupy Curaçao.

Over the next fifteen years, a number of abortive attempts were made by the Dutch to reclaim their lost possession, notably an assault led by Peter Stuyvesant in 1644 in which the future governor of Nieue Amsterdam lost his leg. The Spanish Commander, who was regularly besieged during this period, asked permission after his last victory to abandon the island, and in 1647 this right was finally conceded to him by the King of Spain. Laborers were brought in from Puerto Rico to dismantle the fortress, and the Spanish set sail, leaving behind, according to legend, a small contingent of French and Dutch who hid on the island and then sent out to neighboring colonies for reinforcements.

How the Dutch and French finally partitioned the island makes for a great story. Supposedly, the two groups held a contest. Starting at Oysterpond on the east coast, they would walk westwards -- the French along the northern edge, the Dutch along the southern -- and where they met they would draw a dividing line across the island. The French set off, having fortified themselves with wine, the Dutch with gin. The ill effects of the gin, however, caused the Dutchmen to stop along the way to sleep off their drunk; consequently, the French were able to cover a much greater distance. In truth, though, the French had a large navy just off shore at the time the treaty was being negotiated, and they were able to win concessions by threat of force. The treaty was signed on top of Mount Concordia in 1648, but despite the reputation for peaceful cohabitation, the border was to change another 16 times until 1815 when the Treaty of Paris fixed the boundaries for good.

The cultivation of sugar cane introduced slavery onto the island, and hundreds of African men, women, and children were imported for this purpose. The French finally abolished slavery on July 12, 1848 -- a date now celebrated as Schoelcher Day. The Dutch slaves were emancipated 15 years later. Following the end of slavery, the island entered a serious depression that lasted until 1939, when the island was declared a duty-free port. The Dutch began developing a tourist industry in the 1950's, but the French didn't take advantage of this opportunity until the 1970's. St.Martin continued its large-scale construction projects throughout the 1980's, but now most of the development has been completed, and great care has been taken to preserve the island's natural resources.

Today, St.Martin is a commune of Guadeloupe which is an overseas department of France. Islanders are entitled to vote in French elections.

 

Philipsburg, Sint-Maarte, 1910

Philipsburg-Sint-Maarten-1910

 

Sint Eustatius (1636-)

Statia was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus. Throughout a swaggering colonial era that followed, the island had changed hands at least 22 times.

In 1636, near the close of the 80 year war between Holland and Spain, the Dutch took possession. During the 17th and 18th century, Statia was a major trading center with some 20,000 inhabitants and thousands of ships calling at her shores.

CannonIt is hard for present day visitors to imagine that this tiny island once had one of the busiest ports in the region.

During the latter part of the 18th century, St. Eustatius was the major supplier of arms and ammunition to the rebellious British Colonies in North America and the subject of conflict among the most powerful seafaring nations of the time.

For a while, Statia was the only link between Europe and fledgling American colonies. Even Benjamin Franklin had his mail routed through Statia to ensure its safe arrival. Statia remembered as the emporium of the Caribbean, was nicknamed "The Golden Rock", reflecting its former prosperous trading days and wealthy residents.

On November 16, 1776 the American Brig-of-War, the "Andrew Doria", sailed into the harbor of Statia firing its 13-gun salute indicating America's long sought independence. The 11-gun salute reply, roaring from the canons at Fort Oranje under the command of Governor Johannes de Graaff, established Statia as the first foreign nation to officially recognize the newly formed United States of America.

Lower Town RuinsEach year, thousands of ships anchored on the roadstead of Oranjestad and the shore of the Bay was lined with hundreds of warehouses packed with goods. More trade (both legal and illegal) transpired here after the end of the American Revolution than on any other Caribbean island until Statia reached its economic peak around 1795.

As the eighteenth century drew to a close St. Eustatius gradually lost its importance as a trading center and most merchants and planters left the Island, leaving their homes and warehouses. Through the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries Statia became and remained a quiet island waiting to be discovered by history minded visitors.

Fortunately, in the 1960's and 70's, the people of Statia became increasingly aware of the cultural value of their unique heritage and initiatives were taken to preserve and maintain it.

 

Sint Eustatius

English Pirates

Sint Eustatius

French Pirates 1781

Sint Eustatius

Slaves Trade

Sint Eustatius

Slaves Trade

Sint Eustatius

1910

 

Saba (1620s/1640-1816-)

Because of Saba's precipitous terrain, settling was difficult and left for the hardy and the adventurous. Having been under English, French, Spanish and Dutch rule for many years, peace came with the Dutch Crown in 1816. The cultures of the variety of settlers are now uniquely blended into a hard-working people. Their history of farming, fishing and seamanship account for their keen knowledge of their nature. Many locals are well travelled and well educated; conversations are easy and interesting. The Saba museums house many artifacts and photographs which tell the stories of settling this remote island with its dramatic landscape.
 
SabaSaba
 
 

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