A blue field with two white five-pointed stars in the canton and a yellow stripe below the midline. The Flag of Curaçao. The two bands of blue represents the sky above and the sea below the yellow band which represents the sun bathing the island in its light. The stars represent both the ideas of Love and Happiness as well as Curaçao and Klein Curaçao (mwaning “Little Curaçao”, an uninhabited island in the country). The five points on the star symbolizes the heritage of the islanders, each point representing a continent from which the people of the Curaçao came.
Today, July 2, the country of Curaçao celebrates Flag Day. Curaçao is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, that means, it along with the Netherlands, Aruba, and Sint Maarten form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Prior to 2010 the island nations were a part of the constituent country of the Netherland Antilles, with the exception of Aruba who seceeded from the country in 1986. Curaçao was the capital of the Netherland Antilles up until its dissoultion in 2010.
In 1976, Aruba adopted their own flag as a part of their push for sovereignty from the Kingdom; though the country wouldn’t go on to achieve full sovereign status. Following this move the island of Curaçao was granted permission to design their own flag. The design was ultimately decided by competition. The government decided on a design submitted by Martin den Dulk. On July 2, 1984 den Dulk’s design was officially adopted by the government.
The name Curaçao is said to come from the 16th and 17th century when Portuguese sailors would contract scurvy on long voyages. These sailors would be left on the island for fear that their illness would spread to the rest of the crew. When the ship returned to the island they’d find their crewmen fully recovered. The island became known as the “Island of Healing” or, Ilha da Curação.
The Spanish were the first Western country to discover the island and upon doing so enslaved a large portion of the Arawak natives that inhabited the land. After the Netherlands achieved independence from Spain, Dutch colonists begain inhabiting the island. The country was largely ignored by the Dutch because it lacked resources. It’s strength was found in the capital city of Willimstad. The city was built on a natural harbour which made a convenient and safe location for commerce and trade. With that came piracy. The Dutch West India Company made Curaçao the centre if the Slave Trade. The Dutch outlawed slavery in 1863, marking a shift in the economy of the island nation. Following the discovery of oil off the coast of Venezuela, crude oil would be imported to Curaçao to be refined prior to being shipped around the world.
Curaçao is home to two Dutch Naval bases, Parera and Suffisant. Most other military operations on the island have ceased.
Curaçao’s economy is primarily driven by Tourism as the carribean’s fastest growing hot spot for cruise tourism. The country’s economy, however, isn’t solely reliant on tourism. Curaçao also specializes in trade, oil refining and shipping.