Dutch Caribbean Islands
All islands in the Dutch Caribbean were formally part of the Netherlands Antilles. They are a group of islands in the Caribbean comprising of; Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius. The islands have been occupied multiple times, by many different powers since the first Europeans arrived with Christopher Columbus in 1492.
The islands were a rich source of tradeable goods and commodities for the Europeans to earn profit; corn, sugar, cotton, tobacco, indigo, salt, coffee, oil, as well as slaves. The islands were desirable assets for European colonial ambitions and as a result, were regularly fought over and disputed. The Dutch Caribbean islands changed hands regularly with Spain, France, the Netherlands and Britain all vying for the trading and territorial monopoly in these waters.
In the 17th Century the islands were conquered by the Dutch West India Company (WIC), who used the islands as military outposts and trade bases. After some brief periods of occupation by the British and French, in 1815 the islands officially became a colony of the Netherlands, as the Netherlands Antilles.
Following the Second World War, the process of decolonisation began. Aruba gained the status of a separate country in 1986 and in 2010 Curacao and Sint Maarten also became independant. The islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba opted instead to become special municipalities of the Netherlands.
CIE's activities with the Dutch Caribbean Islands have centred around Research and Academic Cooperation