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Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao- the ABCs of the Caribbean

by Troy

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao- the ABCs of the Caribbean

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, three small islands collectively known as the ABCs of the Netherland Antilles ( Dutch Caribbean ), they form part of the Dutch Leewards group located in the Southern part of the Caribbean , also known as the Lesser Antilles.

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao were dismissed by their Spanish discoverers as isles inutiles ( useless islands). Eighty years of war between the Dutch and Spain culminated in the Spaniards relinquishing control of the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, together with Saint Martin , Saint Eustatius and Saba to the Dutch. There was a brief switch of allegiance to Britain from 1805 to 1816 but in 1816, under the Treaty of Paris, the Dutch regained control of these three islands.

Gold was the main industry in the early eighteenth century until the 1920s when the discovery of oil wrought a dramatic change in the three islands. Their economy, which was already thriving with their business of gold mining, flourished even more when they became home to some of the world’s largest oil refineries. In 1985, there was a shift to tourism with the shutdown of these refineries Inspite of their subsequently reopening, tourism has become these islands’ main business.

Today, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, while still known as the ABCs, have reinvented themselves from the label of being isles inutiles. The passage of time has led each island to build a reputation of its own, unique and distinct from the others. Aruba now leads the Dutch Leewards group in tourism, ranking as one of the most popular Caribbbean destinations. It is famous for its white sand beaches and rows of world-class hotels and gambling casinos and the finest restaurants providing the most exotic cuisine. A quiet rivalry has been brewing between Aruba and Curacao on account of Curacao being chosen as the administrative seat to the Dutch government. Aruba asserted its independence in 1986 and since then, has never looked back. It has outdistanced its rival, Curacao, in the tourism industry. Bonaire, on the other hand, has earned the reputation of being one of the world’s top ten diving and snorkeling destinations, with its perfect reef-diving spots, which are within a short distance from the shore, Curacao, the largest island in the Netherland Antilles, while offering some good diving spots and beaches, are more popular for its distinctly colored liqueurs or cocktails

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao , three separate islands intertwined because of their history, are no longer the useless islands they have been unfairly branded. They have taken distinct steps forward to chart their own destiny.

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