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  • Introduction :: CURACAO

  • Originally settled by Arawak Indians, Curacao was seized by the Dutch in 1634 along with the neighboring island of Bonaire. Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, Curacao was hard hit economically by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of the Isla Refineria to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. In 1954, Curacao and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions were reorganized as the Netherlands Antilles, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In referenda in 2005 and 2009, the citizens of Curacao voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The change in status became effective in October 2010 with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.
  • Geography :: CURACAO

  • Caribbean, an island in the Caribbean Sea - 55 km off the coast of Venezuela
    12 10 N, 69 00 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 444 sq km
    land: 444 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    more than twice the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    364 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
    tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in mild temperatures; semiarid with average rainfall of 600 mm/year
    generally low, hilly terrain
    lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Mt. Christoffel, 372m
    calcium phosphates, aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
    agricultural land: 10%
    arable land 10%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 0%
    other: 90% (2011 est.)
    Curacao is south of the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened
    Curacao is a part of the Windward Islands (southern) group
  • People and Society :: CURACAO

  • noun: Curacaoan
    adjective: Curacaoan; Dutch
    Afro-Caribbean majority; Dutch, French, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, Jewish minorities
    Papiamentu (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 81.2%, Dutch (official) 8%, Spanish 4%, English 2.9%, other 3.9% (2001 census)
    Roman Catholic 72.8%, Pentecostal 6.6%, Protestant 3.2%, Adventist 3%, Jehovah's Witness 2%, Evangelical 1.9%, other 3.8%, none 6%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)
    146,836 (July 2013 est.)
    0-14 years: 20.6% (male 15,342/female 14,645)
    15-24 years: 15.4% (male 11,599/female 10,790)
    25-54 years: 38.5% (male 26,869/female 29,348)
    55-64 years: 12.6% (male 8,059/female 10,259)
    65 years and over: 13% (male 7,833/female 11,090) (2013 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 50.6%
    youth dependency ratio: 29%
    elderly dependency ratio: 21.6%
    potential support ratio: 4.6% (2014 est.)
    total: 36.2 years
    male: 32.7 years
    female: 39.9 years (2013 est.)
    8 deaths/1,000 population (2009)
    1.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008)
    urban population: 89.4% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 2.04% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    WILLEMSTED (capital) 145,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.15 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    total: 77.98 years
    males: 75.72 years
    females: 80.35 years (2014 est.)
    2.09 children born/woman (2013 est.)
  • Government :: CURACAO

  • Dutch long form: Land Curacao
    Dutch short form: Curacao
    Papiamentu long form: Pais Korsou
    Papiamentu short form: Korsou
    former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies
    constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 2010; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
    name: Willemstad
    geographic coordinates: 12 06 N, 68 55 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    King's Day, 27 April 1967
    previous 1947, 1955; latest adopted 5 September 2010, entered into force 10 October 2010 (regulates governance of Curacao but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - in October 2010, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2013)
    based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER of the Netherlands (since 30 April 2013); represented by Governor Lucille A. GEORGE-WOUT (since 4 November 2013)
    head of government: Prime Minister Ivar ASJES (since 7 June 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor
    elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the parliament; next election is scheduled for 2016
    description: unicameral Estates of Curacao or Staten van Curacao (21 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held 19 October 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PS 22.6%, MFK 21.2%, PAR 19.7%, PAIS 17.7%, MAN 9.5%, PNP 5.9%, other 3.4%; seats by party - PS 5, MFK 5, PAR 4, PAIS 4, MAN 2, PNP 1
    highest court(s): Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (consists of judges from the subordinate courts)
    judge selection and terms of office: NA
    subordinate courts: first instance courts, appeals court; specialized courts
    Frente Obrero Liberashon (Workers' Liberation Front) or FOL [Anthony GODETT]
    Movementu Futuro Korsou or MFK [Gerrit SCHOTTE]
    Movishon Antia Nobo or MAN [Eunice EISDEN]
    Partido Antia Restruktura or PAR [Emily DE JONGH-ELHAGE]
    Partido pa Adelanto I Inovashon Soshal or PAIS [Alex ROSARIA]
    Partido Nashonal di Pueblo or PNP [Humphrey DAVELAAR]
    Pueblo Soberano or PS [Helmin WIELS]
    none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    chief of mission: Consul General James R. Moore (since June 2013); note - also accredited to Aruba and Sint Martin
    consulate(s) general: J. B. Gorsiraweg
    mailing address: P. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao
    telephone: [599] (9) 4613066
    FAX: [599] (9) 4616489
    on a blue field a horizontal yellow band somewhat below the center divides the flag into proportions of 5:1:2; two five-pointed white stars - the smaller above and to the left of the larger - appear in the canton; the blue of the upper and lower sections symbolizes the sky and sea respectively; yellow represents the sun; the stars symbolize Curacao and its uninhabited smaller sister island of Klein Curacao; the five star points signify the five continents from which Curacao's people derive
    laraha (citrus tree); national colors: blue, yellow, white
    name: Himmo di Korsou (Anthem of Curacao)
    lyrics/music: Guillermo ROSARIO, Mae HENRIQUEZ, Enrique MULLER, Betty DORAN/Frater Candidus NOWENS, Errol "El Toro" COLINA
    note: adapted 1978; the lyrics, originally written in 1899, were rewritten in 1978 to make them less colonial in nature
  • Economy :: CURACAO

  • Tourism, petroleum refining and bunkering, offshore finance, and transportation and communications are the mainstays of this small island economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Although GDP grew only slightly during the past decade, Curacao enjoys a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region. Curacao has an excellent natural harbor that can accommodate large oil tankers, and the Port of Willemstad hosts a free trade zone and a dry dock. Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA, under a contract in effect until 2019, leases the single refinery on the island from the government, directly employing some 1,000 people; most of the oil for the refinery is imported from Venezuela; most of the refined products are exported to the US and Asia. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, the Netherlands and Venezuela being the major suppliers. The government is attempting to diversify its industry and trade and has signed an Association Agreement with the EU to expand business there. Most of Curacao’s GDP results from services. Curacao has limited natural resources, poor soil, and inadequate water supplies, and budgetary problems complicate reform of the health and education systems. In 2013, the government implemented changes to the sales tax and reformed the public pension and health care systems, including increasing the sales tax from 5% to as high as 9% on some products, raising the age for public pension withdrawals to 65, and requiring citizens to pay higher premiums.
    $3.128 billion (2012 est.)
    $3.02 billion (2011 est.)
    $2.96 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $5.6 billion (2012 est.)
    3.6% (2012 est.)
    2% (2011 est.)
    0.1% (2010 est.)
    $15,000 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    agriculture: 0.7%
    industry: 15.5%
    services: 83.8% (2012 est.)
    aloe, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
    tourism, petroleum refining, petroleum transshipment, light manufacturing, financial and business services
    73,010 (2013)
    agriculture: 1.2%
    industry: 16.9%
    services: 81.8% (2008 est.)
    13% (2013 est.)
    9.8% (2011 est.)
    16.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    -0.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    33.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    40.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    2.6% (2013 est.)
    2.8% (2012 est.)
    $1.607 billion (2011 est.)
    $1.44 billion (2010 est.)
    petroleum products
    $1.285 billion (2011 est.)
    $1.275 billion (2010 est.)
    crude petroleum, food, manufactures
    Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -
    1.79 (2013)
    1.79 (2012 est.)
    1.79 (2011 est.)
    1.79 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: CURACAO

  • 1.785 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    968 million kWh (2008 est.)
    0 kWh (2009 est.)
    0 kWh (2009 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
    531 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    72,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    211,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
    291,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
  • Communications :: CURACAO

  • international: country code - 599
    government-run Telecuracao operates a TV station and a radio station; several privately-owned radio stations
  • Transportation :: CURACAO

  • total: 550 km
    major seaport(s): Willemstad
    oil terminal(s): Bullen Baai (Curacao Terminal)
    bulk cargo port(s): Fuik Bay (phosphate rock)
  • Military :: CURACAO

  • no regular military forces; the Dutch Government controls foreign and defense policy (2012)
    no conscription (2010)
    defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands