Netherlands Antilles: Truth Knowledge And The History Of these Island Nations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Netherlands Antilles

Introduction Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of 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 oil refineries to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared with France; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles; its northern portion, called Saint Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France.
History Both the leeward (Alonso de Ojeda, 1499) and windward (Christopher Columbus, 1493) island groups were discovered and initially settled by Spain. In the 17th century, the islands were conquered by the Dutch West India Company and were used as military outposts and trade bases, most prominent the slave trade. Slavery was abolished in1863.

In 1954, the status of the islands was up-graded from a colonial territory to a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a separate country within the kingdom. The island of Aruba was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, when it was granted status aparte, becoming yet another part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a separate country within the kingdom.

Between June 2000 and April 2005, each island of the Netherlands Antilles had a referendum on its future status. The four options that could be voted on were:
closer ties with the Netherlands
remaining within the Netherlands Antilles
autonomy as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (status aparte)
independence

Of the five islands, Sint Maarten and Curaçao voted for status aparte, Saba and Bonaire voted for closer ties to the Netherlands, and Sint Eustatius voted to stay within the Netherlands Antilles.

Geography Location: 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 Sint Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates: 12 15 N, 68 45 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 960 sq km
land: 960 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin)
Area – comparative: more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 15 km
border countries: Saint Martin 15 km
Coastline: 364 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds
Terrain: generally hilly, volcanic interiors
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Scenery 862 m
Natural resources: phosphates (Curacao only), salt (Bonaire only)
Land use: arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 90% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October; Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt and are rarely threatened
Environment – current issues: NA
Geography – note: the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles are divided geographically into the Leeward Islands (northern) group (Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten) and the Windward Islands (southern) group (Bonaire and Curacao); the island of Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the world shared by two independent states, the French territory of Saint Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten
Politics The head of state is the ruling monarch of the Netherlands, who is represented in the Netherlands Antilles by a governor. A council of ministers, chaired by a prime minister, forms the local government. Together with the governor, who holds responsibility for external affairs and defense, it forms the executive branch of the government.

The legislative branch is two-layered. Delegates of the islands are represented in the government of the Netherlands Antilles, but each island has its own government that takes care of the daily affairs on the island.

The Netherlands Antilles are not part of the European Union. Since 2006 the Islands have given rise to diplomatic disputes between Venezuela and the Netherlands. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez claims that the Netherlands may allow the United States to install military bases that would be necessary for a planned U.S. invasion of Venezuela. On May 23, 2006 an international military manoeuver known as Joint Caribbean Lion 2006, including forces of the U.S. Navy, began.

People Population: 225,369 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 23.2% (male 26,749/female 25,467)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 73,319/female 78,842)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 8,541/female 12,451) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 33.4 years
male: 31.6 years
female: 35.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.754% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 14.37 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.43 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 9.36 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.45 years
male: 74.15 years
female: 78.87 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.98 children born/woman (2008 est.)

History Of The New World Of The Dutch, Swedish, English And Dutch West India Co.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NINA ASTIKA AT GOOGLE +)

 New Netherland
New Netherland
New Netherland

This Dutch colonial outpost existed along the Hudson River from 1609 to 1664. A relatively small and ineffectual colony, it was known for its trade and diversity. It was eventually captured by the English and became the colony of New York.

Following its independence from Spain in the 1570’s, the Netherlands began constructing a worldwide empire due in large part to its powerful navy and savvy traders. In one of the country’s first colonial ventures, Dutch merchants in 1609 financed Henry Hudson to explore North America and Hudson discovered the river that bears his name.

In 1614, the Dutch established their first permanent settlement at Fort Nassau, later relocated and renamed Fort Orange (present-day Albany). This northerly settlement never grew very large and existed primarily to trade with Iroquois Indians for furs.

In 1625, the Dutch West India Company established New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island to control access to the Hudson River. This southerly settlement soon attracted a variety of settlers to farm.

New Netherlands was beset by a series of problems for most of its history. Relations with Native Americans were generally poor. Fort Orange was largely dependent on the Iroquois for its survival, while colonists in the south drove Algonquins from their lands and fought four wars in 20 years with them.

Of more pressing concern, however, were the colony’s mismanagement and ineffective leadership. The colony never produced a profit for its investors, while its most effective governor was the autocratic Peter Stuyvesant (1647–64), who barred the colonists from participating in their own governance.

Because of these problems, New Netherlands had trouble attracting colonists. The Dutch West India Company did offer patronship, large land grants with manorial rights, to anyone who took 50 settlers to the colony. However, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer was the only person to take up the company’s offer seriously.

Lacking Dutch settlers, New Netherlands opened its borders to dissenters from New England including Anne Hutchinson as well as emigrants from Belgium, France, Scandinavia, and Germany and African slaves. As one visitor noted of New Amsterdam: “There were men of eighteen different languages.” Very quickly the Dutch became a minority in their own colony.

Ethnic diversity invited religious differences and although Stuyvesant attempted to privilege the Dutch Reformed Church, the company insisted upon a policy of religious toleration. Puritans, Quakers, and Lutherans were common in New Netherland, and Jews received greater religious freedom than anywhere else in America.

Ultimately, New Netherland suffered the most from foreign competition. A Swedish colony on the Delaware River proved a distraction to the Dutch and, in 1655, Stuyvesant engineered a military takeover of New Sweden. However, Dutch hegemony proved short-lived as in 1664 an English fleet under the command of Richard Nicolls arrived off New Amsterdam.

Although Stuyvesant attempted to mount a defense of his colony, “a general discontent and unwillingness to assist in defending the place became manifest among the people.” On August 27, Stuyvesant surrendered New Netherlands to Nicolls, who granted the colonists generous terms, including the preservation of their property rights, inheritance laws, and religious liberty.