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(kyo͝o`rəsō, ko͞oräsou`), island (1989 est. pop. 146,100), 178 sq mi (461 sq km), an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located in the Lesser Antilles off the coast of Venezuela. Curaçao is semiarid; most of the plant life is of desert character. Oil refining is the principal industry, and the island has one of the world's largest refineries, receiving oil from the enormous reserves at nearby Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. There are also phosphate deposits. Other major industries include tourism (Curaçao is a free port and has a number of resorts and casinos) and ship repairing. Curaçao's ship-repair dry dock is one of the largest in the Americas. The head of state is the monarch of the Netherlands, represented by a governor-general. The head of government is the prime minister, who is elected by the unicameral parliament (Staten). The parliament's 21 members are popularly elected to four-year terms.


Visited by Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci in 1499, Curaçao was colonized by the Spanish in 1527. The Dutch captured it in 1634 and remained in possession except for a brief period of British rule during the Napoleonic Wars. In the 18th cent. Curaçao was a base for a flourishing Dutch entrepôt trade. Economic prosperity declined after the abolition of slavery in 1863 but revived with the introduction of the petroleum industry in the early 20th cent., and the island was the largest and most populous in the former Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles,
former autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands consisting of several islands in the West Indies. Earlier known as the Dutch West Indies and Netherlands West Indies, the island country consisted of Bonaire and Curaçao, both lying off
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. Curaçao was the scene of severe racial strife and rioting in 1969. Prior to the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010, Curaçao voted to become an autonomous country within the Netherlands.



an island of the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, off the northern coast of South America. Curaçao belongs to the Netherlands. Area, 472 sq km. Population, 150,000 (1972), mostly Negroes. Willemstad is the main city and also the capital of the Netherlands Antilles.

The island’s topography is hilly (elevations to 372 m). The shores in the west and south are surrounded by coral reefs and have convenient harbors. The climate is subequatorial, with up to 500 mm of precipitation per year. Vegetation is xerophilous shrubs. There are large oil refineries based on Venezuelan oil; petroleum products are exported. Curaçao was discovered in 1499 by the Spanish navigator A. de Ojeda.

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Throughout the years, the Curacao Tourist Board has launched several campaigns in an effort to accept travelers from all types of races, orientations, and religions.
Curacao is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), a FATF-style regional body.
Kennedy International Airport in New York to Curacao International Airport will be operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Miles Mercera, Marketing & Product Director of CHATA (Curacao Hospitality and Tourism Association) continues: “Located 120 miles off the coast of Miami and only 73 miles from Aruba, Curacao is more than just another pretty island.
is a major supplier of consumer and capital goods imported by Curacao.
Curacao officials said the result is a collection of congratulatory clips showcasing Curacao-branded balloons rising in the air in front of the Brandenburg Gate, the Bund of Shanghai and Miami Beach, among other global destinations.
Curacao is in shock as it is the first time a politician has been assassinated in Curacao, according to local media.
Curacao Tourist Board, a Curacao-based agency that promotes tourism in Curacao, has announced its annual Curacao NOW promotional event for 2012.
From 24 December 2011 the Saturday service will depart Toronto at 10:05 and arrive in Curacao at 16:20.
Vistra (Curacao) NV has announced that it successfully completed the acquisition of IMC Management & Trust (Curacao) NV (IMC) , a Curacao based provider of Trust services, in July.
A growing number of Curacao residents say that when its contract expires in 2019, PDVSA should walk away.
While Aruba struck out on its own in 1986 and has been very successful ever since, Bonaire and Curacao decided to take their own routes into the 21st century.