The Kingdom of the Netherlands may not be the colonial power today as it was before, but it has retained close ties to its former colonial islands, and that includes little Bonaire. The Caribbean island is a territory within the Netherlands that is subject to its central power. And how that came to be, goes way back.
Where in the Caribbean Is Bonaire?
Bonaire lies on the southern Caribbean, just off the coast of northern South America. Bonaire is so small that you can easily mistake the island nation as one of Curacao’s islands. This tiny island is the second-largest among the Dutch trinity in the Lesser Antilles, formerly known as the Netherlands Antilles.
Bonaire is situated east of Curacao, with an approximate direct distance of 82 km or 51 miles. Just south of Bonaire is Venezuela , with a distance of 50 miles or 81 km from the coasts, the South American nation is the island’s closest continental neighbor. Its geographical location near the equator has blessed the island with minimal rain annually, and a prevailing trade wind from the east that helps regulate the country’s otherwise searing heat.
How Close Is Bonaire to the Equator?
Bonaire sits at approximately 1,358 km or 844 miles north of the equator. This geographical location has made Bonaire subject to trade winds that are blowing in from the east, but it also experiences scorching heat during the dry season like the rest of the ABC Island.
How Large Is the Island of Bonaire?
Bonaire is 288 sq km, or 111 sq mi, it’s the second-largest island among the ABC Islands, and is slightly larger than fancy Aruba. The island’s geology and geographical location have gifted it a wealth of natural beauty with 22 beaches to enjoy, and over 80+ dive sites all around the island to explore.
Its proximity to its ABC Islands sisters, and the much bigger continental country of Venezuela have made it easily accessible by boat, or by cruise – should you wish to explore the region by water. However, most cruises come from the US, in the state of Florida, the country’s gateway to the Caribbean.
How Long and Wide Is Bonaire?
The island is the second largest of the ABC Islands, by population density and land area. Bonaire has approximate dimensions of 38.6 km or 24 miles long, by 4.8 to 8 km or 3 to 5 miles wide. The total land area is approximately 228 sq km or 111 sq mi.
Which Country Colonized Bonaire?
Just like its ABC Islands sisters, and the rest of the Caribbean Antilles, Bonaire has a rich history filled with colonizations, invasions, and occupancies since its discovery by the Spanish. The island’s first inhabitants were said to be the Caquetio Indians, the same people group that first inhabited Aruba. After the island was taken by the Spanish, the Caquetio Indians were then forced to work and deported as slaves to work in the Spanish territory of Hispaniola. Spain colonized Bonaire in 1499 for over a century.
The Dutch came to Bonaire in 1623 after the founding of the Dutch West India Company, which then fought the Spanish over occupancy over the many islands that are currently under the governance of the Dutch crown. When the slave trade was at its peak in the Caribbean, Curacao emerges as the slave trade center, but Bonaire served as the plantation of the Dutch West India Company.
During the Napoleanic Wars, the Dutch lost control of Bonaire and the rest of the ABC Islands to the British from 1800 to 1803, and again from 1807 to 1816. The ABC Islands was eventually returned to Dutch rule under the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814.
Since then, Bonaire became a part of the greater Kingdom of the Netherlands, formerly constituting Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Now, only ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao remains together with Sint Eustatius, Saba, and Sint Maarten.
Which Country Owns Bonaire?
Today, Bonaire is one of the Netherlands ’ Special Municipalities. While the island isn’t a part of the now-dissolved Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire still retained most of its governance to the Dutch crown, drawing in closer ties to Europe. This form of government and ties to the Netherlands has kept Bonaire a territory of the Kingdom.
After the dissolution of the Netherland Antilles, some Dutch-Caribbean nations opted for more autonomy like Aruba voted as a constituent country, while Curacao and Sint Maarten became autonomous counties within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire opted to become a special municipality and maintained close ties with the Dutch crown, along with Sint Eustatius and Saba.
Is Bonaire in the Netherlands?
With the island’s status as a special municipality, Bonaire is considered to be in the Netherlands. After the dissolution of the former Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, along with Saba and Sint Eustatius voted to become special municipalities and have retained closer ties and governance with the Kingdom.
Is Bonaire a Dutch Colony?
Bonaire used to be a Dutch colony since 1635, but with the invasion of the British during the Napoleonic war, lost control of the island. The Kingdom, however, retook control of Bonair and has been part of the Kingdom ever since.
Currently, Bonaire isn’t considered a Dutch colony, but a territory within the Kingdom. Most of the present-day inhabitants of the island are multiracial, with origins coming from Europe, the Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Suriname, and the United States.
Is Bonaire Part of the EU?
Bonaire might be within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but the island isn’t considered part of the Europan Union, however, it is considered to be a special territory of the union. Due to its status as a special municipality of the Netherlands, and with its historical and political relations, the island and its citizens enjoy special status within the European Union.
Bonaire, along with 5 other Dutch Caribbean islands have OCT status, or Overseas Countries and Territories. This means that Bonaire and all the OCT countries of the Dutch kingdom can have their own export and import policy to and from the EU.
Is Bonaire Considered Its Own Country?
It is a special municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and thus has close relations with the central government. The island is governed the same way as other municipalities of the metropolitan Netherlands.
While it may not be its own country, its demographic is largely different and mixed than in the metropolitan Netherlands and it also has its own flag. This status and relation with the central government are also the same with Saba and Sint Eustatius.
What Is the Official Language of Bonaire?
Bonaire’s demographics allow it to have such a multilingual society that speaks about 4 languages. With Dutch as the official language, the majority of the population also speaks Papiamento as the regional language, a Portuguese-based creole language.
A significant part of the population also speaks Spanish due to immigration from neighboring Latinoamerican countries like Colombia, and Venezuela. As the global language of diplomacy, business, and tourism, the population also speaks English, especially the workforce in the tourism sector. With the US and the UK’s predominant influence over the west, English is widely spoken.
How Do You Say Hello in Bonaire?
When saying hello in Bonaire there are a few variations. You can say “Bon dia”, when saying hello during the day, usually in the morning. “Bon tardi” in the afternoon, translates as “good afternoon!’. And for the evening, you can say “Bon nochi.”.
How Do You Pronounce Kralendijk?
The city’s name is of Dutch origins and is pronounced as “KRAH-LEN-DEIK”. The “r” can be pronounced in a guttural manner, resembling the french way of saying “r”, however, it can also be pronounced as a tapped “r” or trilled – like in Spanish.
What Is the Main Language Spoken in Bonaire?
The island’s main language, also its official is the Dutch language. But, the locals speak more in Papiamentu for casual and informal conversation in daily exchanges.
Is English Spoken in Bonaire?
With the US and UK’s influence in the country over the years, English is widely spoken on the island. The language is especially used in business, diplomacy and politics, and tourism.