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Those advertisers use tracking technologies to collect information about your activity on our sites and applications and across the Internet and your other apps and devices. This article is about the island country. Curaçao and five other islands, see Curaçao and Dependencies. In the 16th and 17th centuries, sailors on long voyages would get scurvy from lack of vitamin C. According to some accounts, Portuguese sailors who were ill were left at the island now known as Curaçao. When their ship returned, they had recovered, likely cured from scurvy, probably after eating fruit with vitamin C.
Another explanation is that Curaçao was the name by which the indigenous peoples of the island identified themselves, their autonym. Early Spanish accounts support this theory, as they refer to the indigenous peoples as Indios Curaçaos, or “healing Indians”. From 1525, the island was featured on Spanish maps as Curaçote, Curasaote, and Curasaore. By the 17th century, it appeared on most maps in Portuguese as Curaçao or Curazao. The original inhabitants of Curaçao were Arawak people. Their ancestors had migrated to the island from the mainland of South America, likely hundreds of years before Europeans arrived. They were believed to have migrated from the Amazon Basin.
The first Europeans recorded as seeing the island were members of a Spanish expedition under the leadership of Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. The Spaniards enslaved most of the Arawak as their labour force. They sometimes forcibly relocated the survivors to other colonies where workers were needed. The Dutch West India Company founded the capital of Willemstad on the banks of an inlet called the Schottegat. Curaçao had been ignored by colonists, because it lacked gold deposits. The natural harbour of Willemstad proved to be an ideal spot for trade. In the Franco-Dutch War, Count Jean II d’Estrées planned to attack Curaçao.