Curaçao celebrates “Flag Day” as a public holiday every 2 July. Although the deep blue background, bright yellow stripe and two bold white stars are a very attractive flag indeed, the basis of the holiday date is not the invention of the national flag but the sighting of the island in 1499 by Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeada.
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Tragically, the Spanish invaded and emptied the island of its original Arawak inhabitants to make them virtual slave labour in other parts of New Spain. And it was only in 1634 that the island was actively settled, and by the Dutch, not the Spanish. Nonetheless, 2 July remains the date of this patriotically celebrated Curaçao holiday.
At first, the Dutch settlement of Willemstad on Curaçao remained rather unimportant. But in 1914, oil was discovered nearby, and refineries were built on the island. Employment and immigration boomed. And the harbor of Willemstad proved ideal for handling large oil tankers, which transported oil from Venezuela besides from Curaçao.
Curaçao is a separate “country” today, but not a separate “nation”. That is, it is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. But the patriotic pride of the residents of Curaçao is still second to none, and it is displayed in grand manner on Flag Day.
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