Curaçao, island (178 sq mi/461 sq km) in the West Indies, an autonomous part of the Netherlands. Willemstad is the capital. Curaçao is the largest of the islands that make up the Netherlands Antilles. Its income derives largely from tourism and oil refining, the refineries being supplied with crude oil from nearby Venezuela. Settled by Spain in 1527, the island was conquered by Holland in 1634. Today's population is mainly descended from the African slaves imported in the early years of rule.
See also: Netherlands Antilles.