OFFICIAL NAME: Netherlands Antilles
CAPITAL: Willemstad
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Overseas Territory of the Netherlands
AREA: 1,020 Sq Km (394 Sq Mi)

Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: The Netherlands Antilles consists of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea. The leeward group of islands are Curacao and Bonaire while the windward group of islands are St. Martin, St. Eustatius and Saba. Curacao which is composed of coralline limestone is a low hilly island of volcanic origin with little vegetation. There are no permanent rivers on any of the islands. Major Cities; Willemstad 125,000 (1985). Land Use; agricultural-cultivated 8%, other 92% (1989).

CLIMATE: The Netherlands Antilles has a tropical maritime climate. Average annual precipitation is 560 mm (22 inches ) on the leeward group of islands and 1,000 mm (39 inches) on the windward group of islands. There is also a short rainy season from October to January. Average temperature ranges are from 24 degrees Celsius (76 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.

PEOPLE: Around 85% of the population are Creoles of mixed African, Dutch or Spanish descent with minorities of Chinese, Europeans, Arabs as well as North and South Americans.

DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 239 persons per sq km (620 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 92.4% urban, 7.6% rural (1985). Sex Distribution; 48.5% male, 51.5% female (1987). Life Expectancy at Birth; 71.1 years male, 75.8 years female (1981). Age Breakdown; 30% under 15, 30% 15 to 29, 19% 30 to 44, 11% 45 to 59, 7% 60 to 74, 3% 75 and over (1981). Birth Rate; 18.5 per 1,000 (1989). Death Rate; 6.4 per 1,000 (1989). Increase Rate; 12.1 per 1,000 (1989). Infant Mortality Rate; 6.3 per 1,000 live births (1989).

RELIGIONS: The population of the leeward group of islands are predominantly Roman Catholic while the population of the windward group of islands are largely Protestant. In addition, Curacao has a sizable Jewish community.

LANGUAGES: The official language is Dutch, although both Spanish and English are also widely spoken. Papiamento, a local patois of mixed Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch is also spoken and other local languages are also spoken in the leeward group of islands.

EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling or incomplete primary 29.7%, primary 31.5%, secondary or vocational 37.6%, higher 1.2% (1981). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 154,860 or 93.8% (1981).

MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1990: In 1954 the Netherlands Antilles was granted internal self-government and coalition governments have controlled the country's Legislative Council ever since. In 1979 the coalition led by Silvio Rozendal collapsed and after the elections was replaced by another, led by Don Martina. In mid 1984 the coalition was in turn replaced by another under Maria Liberia Peters until 1985 when island of Aruba, which was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, seceded. After elections in Nov. 1985 Martina returned as Prime Minister under another coalition and in May 1988 Liberia Peters was again elected Prime Minister. In March 1990 Liberia Peters was re-elected as Prime Minister and proposals were formulated for a new constitution that would create a Dutch Commonwealth in the two island groups.

CURRENCY: The official currency is the Antillean Guilder (NAG) divided into 100 Cents.

ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,370,000,000 (1989). Public Debt; USD $700,840,000 (1989). Imports; NAG 2,526,390,000 (1988). Exports; NAG 2,042,110,000 (1988). Tourism Receipts; USD $371,700,000 (1989). Balance of Trade; NAG -1,733,700,000 (1990). Economically Active Population; 72,906 or 38.4% of total population (1988). Unemployed; 20.4% (1988).

MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA, Latin America, the UK and Canada.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Goats, Pigs, Phosphates, Salt.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Banking, Offshore Investments, Petroleum Refining, Petroleum Transshipment Facilities, Ship Building and Repair, Tourism.

MAIN EXPORTS: Petroleum, Phosphates.

TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 820 km (510 mi) (1984). Vehicles; cars 54,150 (1986), trucks and buses 10,174 (1986). Merchant Marine; vessels 103 (1990), deadweight tonnage N/A. Air Transport; passenger-km 377,000,000 (234,257,000 passenger-mi) (1982), cargo ton-km 1,815,000 (1,243,000 short ton-mi) (1982).

COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 6 with a total circulation for 5 of 40,000 (1990). Radio; receivers 125,000 (1990). Television; receivers 32,000 (1990). Telephones; units 49,561 (1989).

MILITARY: Defense is maintained by The Netherlands.

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