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Bonaire History Timeline

Bonaire timeline
1000s - 1500s
  • (1000 AD) The Caquetios were the earliest inhabitants of Bonaire, (a branch of the Arawak Indians)
  • (1499) Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci arrived, claimed Bonaire for Spain
  • (1515) Caiquetios forcibly deported to work as slaves in copper mines of Santo Domingo
  • (1526) Juan De Ampues, appointed Spanish governor of Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba, cattle brought to the island; Caiquetios were returned and used as laborers
  • (1568 - 1648) Dutch and Spanish fought in Eighty Years War
1600s - 1700s
  • (1621) Dutch West India Company founded
  • (1623) Ships of Dutch West India Company called at Bonaire for meat, water and wood
  • (1633) Dutch took possession of Bonaire; Bonaire became a plantation island, belonged to Dutch West India Company
  • (1634) Bonaire colonized as a military base by the Dutch, who used it to graze cattle
  • (1636) Dutch conquered Bonaire
  • (1639) Dutch West India Company developed salt production, African slaves imported to live in adjacent huts
  • (1791) Dutch West India Company dissolved; slaves, now owned by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, came to be know as government slaves
  • (1800 - 1803) Netherlands lost control of Bonaire to British
  • (1807 - 1816) Netherlands lost control of Bonaire to British
  • (1816) Treaty of Paris, returned Bonaire to Netherlands; Fort Oranje erected to guard against future attacks
  • (1835) Dutch transferred remaining slaves to stronghold near saltpans after fearing a rebellion
  • (1837) Fort Oranje became government depot and prison; Bonaire's salt production boomed
  • (1862) Slavery abolished
  • (1867) Government auctioned most of the public land
  • (1870) Government sold saltpans


  • (1936) Bonaire males given right to vote
  • (1940) During German occupation of Netherlands in World War II, Bonaire was a protectorate of Britain and US
  • (1954) Bonaire made a Dutch protectorate; granted political autonomy
  • (1955) Flamingo Airport constructed
  • (1961) Legislation enacted to protect sea turtle eggs and nests
  • (1962) Bonaire Beach Hotel opened
  • (1964) Trans World Radio broadcast from Bonaire
  • (1966) Salt production resumed, pans expanded and modernized by the Antilles International Salt Company
  • (1971) Bonaire outlawed spear fishing off the island
  • (1975) Bonaire Petroleum Corporation Oil Corporation terminal opened for trans-shipping oil
  • (1984) 235 ton freighter ,The Hilma Hooker, sank off coast of Bonaire
  • (2006) Bonaire held last parliamentary elections as members of a unified Netherlands Antilles
  • (2010) Netherlands Antilles dissolved, Bonaire became a public body of the Netherlands; Bonaire directly under Dutch rule
  • (2011) Bonaire adopted US dollar as official currency

Bonaire Photographs

map of Bonaire caribbean sea large aruba map caribbean sea caribbean sea

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locator map of Bonaire

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Photos used are from public domain sources and from en.wikipedia.org