Netherlands Antilles

Netherlands Antilles
   Part of the group of islands in the Caribbean, of which six belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, and Saba. During the first half of the 17th century, the islands were conquered from the Spaniards. After the Treaty of Munster in 1648, the char tered West India Company governed the islands in the name of the States General. They were a stronghold for Dutch strategic and com mercial interests in the Americas. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British conquered the islands, which were returned to the new King dom of the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna. They received their own governor in 1845.
   The name “Nederlandse Antillen” was officially introduced in the constitution of 1948. According to the 1954 Statute of the King dom of the Netherlands, the six together became a separate part of the kingdom, with their own central government and a local admin istration on each isle. In 1986, Aruba obtained autonomy (status aparte). Although the remaining islands wished to maintain the ex isting constitutional relationships during the 1990s, the latest plebiscites after 2000 showed different outcomes. Curacao and St. Maarten voted for the option to obtain the same position as Aruba. Bonaire and Saba, on the other hand, chose for a direct constitutional relationship with the Netherlands. Only St. Eustatius aimed for con tinuation of the present association of the Netherlands Antilles. In any case, negotiations will end the position of the present central An tillean government and parliament (the Staten), which consists of 22 members (14 from Curacao, St. Maarten and Bonaire three each, and St. Eustatius and Saba one each), probably in December 2008. In recent decades, many young Antilleans moved to the Nether lands, wishing for a better future. This migration, combined with severe budget deficits, corruption, drug smuggling—mainly from Curacao—and old colonial resentment has complicated and frus trated the relationship with the government in The Hague.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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