Curaçao was discovered in 1499 by the Spanish navigator Alonso de Ojeda, one of Columbus'
lieutenants. The first Spanish settlers arrived in 1527. In 1634, the Dutch came via the
Netherlands West India Company. They shipped off the Spaniards and the few remaining
Indians to Venezuela. Eight years later, Peter Stuyvesant ruled as governor. He set up a
slave depot, where the negroes could regain strength after the exhausting passage before
being resold to the island of destination. In 1645 he left for New Amsterdam, the future
New York. From 1666 into the early 19th century, the English and French alternately tried
to take Curaçao. The city built massive fortresses to defend itself against their invasions.
In 1800 to 1803 and again from 1807 to 1815, Curaçao fell under British rule. The Dutch
claim to Curaçao was finally recognized in 1815 by the Treaty of Paris. In 1954, Curaçao
became an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Curaçao's strategic position at the base of the Caribbean has connected the tiny island
with many of the important persons and events in the world affairs. Amerigo Vespucci,
Alonso de Ojeda, Peter Stuyvesant, the notorious Captain Bligh, Simon Bolivar were all
drawn into Curaçao's colorful past.
In 1999, Curaçao will have been discovered exactly 500 years ago. Throughout the
entire year all kinds of festivities are planned.