On I July 2007, the island of Curaçao was due to become a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 28 November 2006, the island council rejected a clarificatory memorandum on the process. on 9 July 2007 the new island council of Curaçao approved the agreement previously rejected in November 2006. On 15 December 2008, Curaçao was scheduled to become a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (like Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles that time). A nonbinding referendum on this plan took place in Curaçao on 15 May 2009, in which 52 percent of the voters supported these plans.
Dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles was effected on l0 october 2010. Curaçao is now a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defense and foreign policy. The Kingdom will also oversee the island’s finances under a debt-relief arrangement agreed on.
Although a few plantations were established on the island by the Dutch, the first profitable industry established on Curaçao was salt mining. The mineral was a lucrative export at the time and became one of the major factors responsible for drawing the island into international commerce. Curaçao also became a center for slave trade during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the 19th century, phosphate mining also became significant. All the while, Curaçao’s fine deep water ports and ideal location in the Caribbean were crucial in making it a significant center of commerce.
Curaçao has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean, with a GDP per capita of US$20,500 and a well-developed infrastructure. The main industries of the island include oil-refining, tourism and financial services, shipping, international trade and other activities related to the port of Willemstad (like the Free Zone).