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Thursday 26th November
Antilles (Netherlands) Facts
The federation of the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in 2010; Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are special municipalities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The larger islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao joined the Netherlands (and Aruba) as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands Antilles was composed of five islands: Curacao and Bonaire, off the coast of Venezuela, and Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten, east of the US Virgin Islands.

The island of Saint Martin (St. Maarten and Saint-Martin) is shared with the Department of Guadeloupe, an Overseas Territory of France.

The former name of the Netherlands Antilles was "Curacao and Dependencies".

Aruba separated from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became an autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, sometimes called the "ABC" islands, are off the coast of Venezuela. The islands are also known to the Dutch as the Leeward Islands.

The naming of the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands in the Caribbean is different for the English and the Dutch.

Curacao is the largest of the Dutch Caribbean islands.

The Spanish first sighted the "Dutch Antilles" towards the end of the fifteenth century.

Amerindian people were living on the islands when the Spanish arrived.

The islands, known as the "Dutch West Indies" were colonized by the Dutch in the seventeenth century.

Curacao was occupied by the British for two separate periods at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Slavery was abolished in the Dutch Antilles in 1863.

The discovery of oil in nearby Venezuela created a demand for refineries. Oil refineries were established on Aruba and Curacao in the early twentieth century.

The Dutch settlement of Willemstad - the Inner City and Harbour - was designated a World Heritage site in 1997.

Suriname, on the American mainland, was a Dutch possession until 1975.

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