History of the Netherlands Antilles

History of the Netherlands Antilles

The Netherlands Antilles were colonized by the Netherlands in the 17th century. They were once the center of the Caribbean slave trade.

The island of Curaçao was hit hard 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 (whose northern portion is named Saint-Martin and was a part of Guadeloupe, though there have been movements to become a separate overseas territory). The Netherlands Antilles remain part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In 1954, the status of islands was promoted from that of a colonial territory to part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as an associated state within a federacy. The island of Aruba was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, when it was granted "status aparte" (i.e. it became a self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands).

Between June 2000 and April 2005, each island of the Netherlands Antilles had referendums on their 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 islands, Sint Maarten and Curaçao voted for "status aparte". Saba and Bonaire voted for closer ties to the Netherlands. Sint Eustatius was the only island to vote to stay in the Netherlands Antilles.

The full results were:

On October 12, 2006, the Netherlands reached an agreement with Saba, Bonaire, and Sint Eustatius; this agreement would make these islands special municipalities. [cite web | author = Radio Netherlands | title = Caribbean islands become Dutch municipalities | url = http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/ant061012mc | date = 2006-10-12 | accessdate = 2007-02-02 ] On November 3, 2006, Curaçao and Sint Maarten were granted autonomy in an agreement, [cite news
first =
last =
author = Staff reporter
coauthors =
title = Curaçao and St Maarten to have country status
url = http://www.government.nl/actueel/nieuwsarchief/2006/11November/03/0-42-1_42-88793.jsp
format = HTML
work =
publisher = Government.nl
pages =
page =
date = 2006-11-03
accessdate = 2007-02-24
] but this agreement was rejected by Curaçao on November 28.cite web | author = Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations | title = Curacao rejects final agreement | url = http://www.minbzk.nl/bzk2006uk/subjects?ActItmIdt=103621 | date = 2006-11-29 | accessdate = 2007-02-02 ] The Curaçao government was not sufficiently convinced that the agreement would provide enough autonomy for Curaçao. [ [http://www.nu.nl/news/901903/11/Cura%E7ao_verwerpt_slotakkoord.html nu.nl/algemeen | Curaçao verwerpt slotakkoord ] ] On July 9, 2007 Curaçao approved the agreement it had rejected in November 2006.cite web | author = The Daily Herald St. Maarten | title = Curaçao IC ratifies November 2 accord | url = http://www.thedailyherald.com/news/daily/k045/ratify045.html | date = 2007-07-09 | accessdate = 2007-07-13 ]

On February 12, 2007, an agreement was signed between the Netherlands and every island except Curaçao. This agreement would have ended the Netherlands Antilles by December 15, 2008 and make 1 billion guilders available for debt relief, social development and poverty reduction. cite news
first =
last =
author = Staff reporter
coauthors =
title = Agreement on division of Netherlands Antilles
url = http://www.government.nl/actueel/nieuwsarchief/2007/02February/13/0-42-1_42-92711.jsp
format = HTML
work =
publisher = Government.nl
pages =
page =
date = 2007-02-13
accessdate = 2007-02-24
] The dissolution is postponed, preferably before January 2010, end of the parlemantary mandate 2006-2010.

References


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