Bonaire is the second of the three islands that traditionally have made up the Dutch Antilles just north of Venezuela’s coast. It has been a special municipality since 2010 (something to do with a rather discriminatory election). Perhaps it is the US tourist $ which interest the Dutch? If we were also stopping in Curaçao, I would have experienced all three of the ABCs.Arriving right before seven, once again the dock is right at city center, Kralendjik.
Arawak’s from South America from 1000. The Spanish from 1526 who ran a cattle operation followed by the Dutch in 1636 after the Eighty Years war who promptly brought in slaves for dye wood and salt operations. The British claimed e Island twice over the next couple of centuries as a result of various splitting of war spoils. When the Dutch reclaimed the island in 1814 they were confronted with a substantial European population who had settled at Playa. Now the capital under the above name, it was also the site of the WWII internment camp for Dutch and German citizens while the Brits/US maintained a protectorate and built an airfield.
Over the decades since then the major industries have been salt, clothing manufacturing, trans-shipping of oil and now tourism. A Spanish influenced Creole is e native language of over 75% of the island. Only 9% are native Dutch speakers in spite of it being the official language. I did notice, though, who seems to own the majority of the businesses.
Few beaches but incredible coral reefs are what attract divers and snorkels. The water was chilly and I didn’t drag along my wetsuit so you will have to settle for pictures when I can upload them.