IV. COUNTRY PROFILE: FOUNDATIONS FOR THE NATIONAL INTEGRITY SYSTEM Curaçao is located in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 60 kilometres (35 miles) off the northwestern coast of Venezuela. The population is around 150,000. The official languages are Papiamentu, Dutch and English. Spanish is widely spoken.10
The first Europeans, led by the Spanish explorer – and lieutenant of Columbus – Alfonso de Ojeda, arrived in 1499 in Curaçao. By then Curaçao was inhabited by the Caquetio Indians. The island remained under Spanish control until the Dutch conquest of 1634. At the beginning of the 19 th century the island Curaçao fell into English hands, but the Dutch once again took Curaçao into their possession in 1816. During the 17th and 18th century, the West Indian Company (WIC), a chartered company of Dutch merchants, established many trade posts in the West Indies, including Curaçao. Africans were enslaved from their homeland and transported to Curaçao, where they were sold to plantation owners from across the Americas. The remaining slaves fulfilled the labour needs on plantations and in the urban area they performed activities in households, in the trade and the construction sector (to build forts and houses). In 1863 slavery in the Dutch West-Indian colonies was abolished.
The country The Netherlands Antilles (1954-2010) ‘Curaçao and subordinates’, as the six-island group in the Caribbean Sea was called during the Dutch colonial period, left its colonial status behind in 1954. The islands became an autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as part of the Netherlands Antilles consisting of six islands: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. 11 The Charter (het Statuut) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands12 is the leading document in which the autonomy or selfgoverning of these islands is organised. The islands as a federation became responsible for their internal affairs, while nationality, foreign relations, defence and cassation were the jurisdiction of the Kingdom as a whole. In 1986 Aruba severed ties with the Netherlands Antilles and became an autonomous country within the Kingdom.
The country Curaçao (2010-) The demand for more autonomy also increased in Curaçao. This resulted in a referendum in April 2005, whereby citizens of Curaçao could express themselves on the position of the island within the 10
In the majority of households Papiamentu is spoken (78 per cent), followed by Dutch (9 per cent), Spanish (5 per cent) and English (6 per cent). Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Census 2011. (Willemstad: Central Bureau of Statistics Curaçao, 2005). 11 The Kingdom of the Netherlands consisted of three constituent parts: the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname. In 1975 Suriname separated from the Kingdom and became an independent republic. 12 State Gazette of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 1954, No. 503. The Statuut came into effect in 15 December 1954. 19
NATIONAL INTEGRITY SYSTEM ASSESSMENT CURAÇAO