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History[edit | edit source]
The Spanish took possession of Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba, the Leeward group, in 1527. In 1634 the three islands passed to the Netherlands with which they have remained except for two short periods during the Napoleonic Wars when the British ruled at Willemstad. Curaçao, the center of Caribbean slave trade during the colonial period, lost much of its economic importance after emancipation of the slaves in 1863. In 1986 Aruba was constitutionally separated from the Netherlands Antilles.
The Winward group, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, also considered a part of the Netherlands Antilles, changed hands often during the 17th and 18th centuries. All three have been under uninterrupted Dutch rule since the beginning of the 19th century.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
1634 -Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba passed to the Netherlands
1568 - 1639 - The Dutch and the Spanish fought in what is now known as the Eighty Years War
1800- 1803 - During the Napoleonic Wars, the Netherlands lost control of Bonaire twice, once from 1800 to 1803 and again from 1807 to 1816
1814 - The 3 islands were returned to the Netherlands under the Anglo-Dutch Treaty
1940 - Many German and Austrian citizens were interned in a camp on Bonaire for the war's duration