Netherlands Antilles Overview
Away from the Caribbean in more than 800 km north-south two islands, an area of 800 square kilometers. The country has a population of about 214,000, most of whom are of mixed African and European descent. Residents are Catholic, and Dutch and Pa Biman are both official languages, although Spanish and English are also spoken. The currency of the Netherlands Antilles is the shield or florin, and the capital is Weiliantade (Willemstad).
In 1499, Spanish colonists landed in Curacao. In 1527, Spain occupied the islands and southern Aruba, which later became a Dutch colony in 1634. The North Island was discovered in 1495 by Columbus, and occupied by the Dutch in the mid-17th century, Since then it changed hands several times, before settling as a Dutch possession in 1816. In 1954, the islands gained full autonomy in internal affairs, although the Netherlands retain responsibility for national defense.
Economy and Culture Overview
The Netherlands Antilles is an important offshore financial center, with impressive financial development. Tourism plays an important role in the economy. The country has poor resources, mainly relying on imports, particularly food and handmade products.