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The Spaniards enslaved most of the Arawak as their labour force.
They sometimes forcibly relocated the survivors to other colonies where workers were needed.
In the 19th century, Curaçaoans such as Manuel Piar and Luis Brión were prominently engaged in the wars of independence of Venezuela and Colombia.
Political refugees from the mainland (such as Simon Bolivar) regrouped in Curaçao.
European powers were trying to establish bases in the Caribbean.
They had made a serious navigational error, hitting the reefs on , a week after setting sail from Saint Kitts.
Curaçao marked the events by a day of thanksgiving, celebrated for decades into the 18th century, to commemorate the island's escape from being invaded by the French.
Many Dutch colonists grew affluent from the slave trade, and the city built impressive colonial buildings.
Curaçao architecture blends Dutch and Spanish colonial styles.
The Dutch West India Company founded the capital of Willemstad on the banks of an inlet called the Schottegat.