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Old September 20th, 2010, 10:38 PM
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katlady katlady is offline
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My mom pronounced the name Curaçao today and it was so clearly Portuguese sounding I got me wondering how does a Dutch island get a Portuguese name? So here is some theories on Curaçao origins.
Curaao History | A short history of Curacao as it relates to monuments

After the late-15th-century voyages of Christopher Columbus put the Caribbean, literally, on the maps, the area was wide open for European exploration. The Spanish soldier and explorer Alonso de Ojeda, joined by the Italian Amerigo Vespucci, set out on a voyage (1499 - 1500) to chart much of the South American coast and, in turn, several offshore islands in the area. One was Curacao. As an aside, disputed claims are par for the course when it comes to Vespucci. One of many stories has it that during his voyage with de Ojeda, a number of sailors on his ship came down with scurvy, whereupon he dropped off the hapless souls on Curacao on his way to South America.

On his return, he found the sailors alive and happy-presumably cured by the abundance of Vitamin C-laden fruit on the island. He then is said to have named the island Curacao, after an archaic Portuguese word for "cure". Of course, Vespucci was Italian, not Portuguese, and de Ojeda was Spanish, but these stories seem to take on a life of their own, and are often much more fun than the real story. A more convincing theory is that the Spaniards called the island Curazon, for "heart", and the mapmakers of the day converted the spelling to the Portuguese Curacao.
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