On the Caribbean island of Curaçao, every 10 October is Curaçao Day, which commemorates the original discovery of the island by Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda in 1499.
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The Spanish soon raided the island to capture Arawak Indians living there and transport them elsewhere to work as slaves. Then, over a hundred years later, the Dutch took control of the now-vacant island in 1634. The town of Willemstad was founded on a good harbour, and trade flourished. Oil was later discovered in the vicinity in 1914, and oil refineries were built on the island. Soon, immigrants flocked to Curaçao, and the population boomed.
The harbour of Willemstad was big enough to handle oil tanker traffic, and oil from South America could conveniently be shipped to Curaçao before being sent further off to Europe or elsewhere.
After World War II, there was a movement for independence in Curaçao and other parts of the Caribbean. But Curaçao instead became the “capital island” of the five-island group called the Netherlands Antilles – which was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands until the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in 2010.
On Curaçao Day, islanders celebrate their history, deep-rooted culture, and everything that makes Curaçao unique. There are many cultural events all over the island, and you will find much native cuisine to keep your stomach full during the festivities.
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