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Curaçao

Curaçao joined Quota International’s network in 1987.
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Curaçao is the home of Quota International of Curaçao.

Curaçao

Many theories have been posited about the origins of the name Curaçao. The most common theory is that because of the shape of the island, it was named “Corazón” which means “heart” in Spanish. It was later changed to “Curaçao” after the Portuguese word for heart, “coração.”

Curaçao

Courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Located just off the Venezuelan coast in the Caribbean Sea, Curaçao is one of five islands in the Netherlands Antilles. Within the population of over 140 million, there are over 50 nationalities represented on the 171 square mile (444 square kilometer) island. Most of the people on Curaçao speak the native language, Papiamentu, which is a Creole dialect. Other commonly spoken languages are Dutch, Spanish, and English.

Curaçao was discovered in 1499 by Spanish Lieutenant Alonso de Ojeda. There he was met by the indigenous Arawak population on the island. The majority of the Arawak people were then exported to other Spanish colonies. The Dutch took over Curaçao in 1634 and named port Willemstad as the capital city. In the late 1600s Curaçao became one of the largest slave depots in the Caribbean, bringing the island much wealth.

When slavery was abolished by the Dutch in 1863, the economy of Curaçao suffered immensely. Curaçao’s economy turned back around, though, in 1914 when oil was found in Venezuela, and Curaçao became a site for an oil refinery. The refinery was sold in the 1980s, and currently the island is working on expanding and promoting its tourism industry. Curaçao was recently named one of the top 10 travel destinations. Its capital, Willemstad, is now a port full of high-end restaurants, stores, and night clubs.

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