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Introduction: Originally settled by Arawak Indians, Curacao was seized by the Dutch in 1634 along with the neighboring island of Bonaire. Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of the Isla Refineria to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. In 1954, Curacao and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions were reorganized as the Netherlands Antilles, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In referenda in 2005 and 2009, the citizens of Curacao voted to become a self-governing...

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Government and Political Conditions: Current political relations among the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba stem from 1954. They are based on the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a voluntary arrangement among the Netherlands, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. At the time, the Charter represented an end to colonial relations and the acceptance of a new legal system in which ...

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