Curaçao (population 150,000) is an island in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea, one of the Windward Islands of the Netherlands Antilles, a dependency of the Netherlands. Curaçao's capital is Willemstad.
First settled by the Spaniards, the island was occupied by the Dutch in 1634. The main industries of the island are tourism and oil refining. Curacao gained limited self-government on January 1, 1996. A small number of leftists from Curaçao are seriously considering total independence, others wish Curaçao to become a province of the Netherlands.
The name "Curaçao" has become associated with a particular shade of blue, and is sometimes used as an adjective, because of the deep-blue liquor named "Blue Curaçao". This liquor has a slight orange aroma, and is used primarily as a colouring agent in mixed drinks.