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Netherlands 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 BonaireBonaire
, island (1990 est. pop. 11,000), 112 sq mi (290 sq km), a special municipality of the Netherlands, in the West Indies off the coast of Venezuela. It was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles. Kralendijk is the chief town.
..... Click the link for more information. and CuraçaoCuraçao
, 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , both lying off Venezuela, and SabaSaba
, island (1990 est. pop. 1,100), 5 sq mi (13 sq km), a special municipality of the Netherlands, one of the NW Leeward Islands, West Indies. It was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles. The rugged island is actually the cone of an extinct volcano rising to c.
..... Click the link for more information. , St. EustatiusSaint Eustatius
, island (1989 pop. 1,861), 8 sq mi (20.7 sq km), a special municipality of the Netherlands, one of the Leeward Islands, West Indies. It was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the southern half of Saint MartinSaint Martin
, Du. Sint Maarten, island, 37 sq mi (96 sq km), West Indies, one of the Leeward Islands. Since its occupation in 1648 by the Dutch and the French, it has been divided. The northern part (1999 pop.
..... Click the link for more information. , all in the Leeward Islands, east of Puerto Rico. The island of ArubaAruba
, island, autonomous part of the Netherlands (2005 est. pop. 71,600), 69 sq mi (179 sq km), in the Lesser Antilles off the coast of Venezuela. Oranjestad is the capital and main port. The population is largely of mixed European and indigenous Caribbean descent.
..... Click the link for more information. , also off Venezuela, was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986. WillemstadWillemstad
, city (1992 pop. 24,235), capital of Curaçao and former capital of the Netherlands Antilles. The city was the commercial and industrial center of the Netherlands Antilles (dissolved in 2010) as well as a free port and tourist center.
..... Click the link for more information. , on Curaçao, was the capital.
When the Spanish arrived in the 16th cent., the region was inhabited by Arawaks and Caribs. The islands were captured by the Dutch in the 17th cent. and were worked by the many African slaves who were brought to their shores. Slavery was abolished in 1863 and the economy faltered until the oil industry began to flourish in the 20th cent. The Netherlands Antilles became autonomous in 1954. In 2004 a government commission recommended splitting up the Netherlands Antilles, giving St. Martin and Curaçao autonomy and establishing direct Dutch rule over the other islands. In a series of referendums islanders largely seconded this proposal, which took effect in 2010.
(also Dutch West Indies), the official name of a possession of the Netherlands in the West Indies. Situated in the Lesser Antilles, the Netherlands Antilles comprise Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire (known as the Leeward Islands group) and Saba, St. Eustatius, and the southern part of St. Martin (Windward Islands). Total area, 961 sq km. Population, 225,000 (1971). The administrative center is Willemstad on Curaçao. Dutch is the official language. About 95 percent of the population is concentrated on Curaçao and Aruba.
The economy is based on the refining of petroleum from Venezuela. The petroleum refineries on Curaçao and Aruba belong to the Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell and the US company Standard Oil of New Jersey and have an annual capacity of more than 40 million tons. Other industries include the production of petrochemicals, tobacco products, and electrical and radio equipment. Guano is extracted on Curaçao; 109,000 tons were exported in 1970. Near Willemstad there is suburban farming (dairying and fruit and vegetable growing). An important source of revenue is tourism. There are about 800 km of paved roads. The chief ports are Willemstad and Oranjestad on Aruba. Petroleum and foodstuffs are imported, and petroleum products are exported. The principal trading partners are the USA, Great Britain, and the South American countries.
Official name: Netherlands Antilles
Capital city: Willemstad (on Curacao)
Internet country code: .an
Flag description: White, with a horizontal blue stripe in the center superimposed on a vertical red band, also centered; five white, five-pointed stars are arranged in an oval pattern in the center of the blue band; the five stars represent the five main islands of Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten
Geographical description: Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - composed of five islands, Curacao and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela, and Sint Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius lie east of the United States Virgin Islands
Total area: 597 sq. mi. (960 sq. km.)
Climate: tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds
Nationality: noun: Dutch Antillean(s); adjective: Dutch Antillean
Population: 223,652 (July 2007 CIA est.)
Ethnic groups: Mixed African-Amerindian-European 85%, other 15% (includes Carib Amerindian, European, East Asian) 15%
Languages spoken: Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 65,4%, English 15.9%, Dutch 7.3% (official), Spanish 6.1%, Creole 1.6%, other 1.9%, unspecified 1.8%
Religions: Roman Catholic 72%, Pentecostal 4.9%, Protestant 3.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.1%, Methodist 2.9%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.7%, other Christian 4.2%, Jewish 1.3%, other or unspecified 1.2%, none 5.2%