History of Jewish immigration
In 1651 Joao dYllán requested the Company of the West Indies Netherlands the possibility of establishing a company to colonize Curaçao. Joao was a good and prosperous member of the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam and had a brother who was a colonel in the Dutch colonial army.
The aim of the company was the preservation and development of their power in the distant Caribbean island. Both the boss and his group, all from Amsterdam, (at that time a center of flourishing Jewish life and culture) left for Curaçao in the summer of 1651 and founded the Congregation Mikveh Israel (Expectancy Israel) the oldest Jewish congregation in the Americas.
In 1659, a further 70 Portuguese Sephardic ancestry departed for Curaçao, carrying the first Sefer Torah. It also acquired the "Beit Haim Blenheim" Mikveh Israel Cemetery Congregation , considered by many to be the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Western Hemisphere, and established in 2001 as a historic site.
The Jewish community of Curacao Netherlands Antilles became very successful in the areas of trade and shipping.
In 1732 was built the historic Mikveh Israel -Emanuel Synagogue (Snoa).
After the Second World War many Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews arrived, many of them from Romanian.
Although small in size, Curaçaos Jewish community has a significant impact on history .
Nowadays, there are 450 jews with very active Jewish life, belonging to the two Jewish congregations in Curacao, 75% of them are members of Mikveh Israel and the rest of Shaarei Tzedek .
A little about the country
Curaçao is the largest and most populous island of the Netherlands Antilles.
It has an area of approximately 444 km ² and a population of 140,796 (2008).
It is located in the southern Caribbean Sea, about 50 km from the west coast of Venezuela.
Like most of the Caribbean islands, Curacao is located in the intertropical zone and its climate is semiarid.
It is famous for the "Curacao Liqueur" that is made from the bark of the oranges of the island, and for celebrating one of the most famous Carnivals in the Caribbean.
The city of Willemstad is the main port and capital of the island, in addition to also be of the Netherlands Antilles.
Its historical area, city center and harbor, were declared World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1997.
It has two official languages, Dutch and Papiamento.