The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]
CUR AGO A.
[tion for privateers, and in the war of 1780 thecruisers from Cura^oa greatly annoyed the Eng-lish W. India trade ; so that tliere was a balanceaccounted for by the treasury of 190,000 francs,(about 17,275/.), arising from the duties on theprize-cargoes. This had been invested on mort-gage for the benefit of the company. The governorshould be a milhary man ; the mixed nature ofthe inhabitants renders a strict and more arbitraryform of government necessary here than in theotlier colonies. Excepting a tew merchants, thereare scarcely any white inhabitants at the chieftown, Williamstad, or on the opposite side of theharbour; such as have any lands live upon them,and the public officers and servants of the com-pany reside in or near the fort. The town’s peopleare a mixture of Jews, Spaniards, sailors, freeMulattoes, free Negroes, Musquito and otherIndians. I'he licentiousness of the Negro slavesis very great here, and attributable to variouscauses ; they are nevertheless worse off than inother colonies, as, in case of a scarcity of provi-sions, the distress falls chiefly on them. Themanumission of slaves, as practised here, is verypreposterous ; for it is generally when they aretoo old to work, that their proprietors pay a smallfine to government to emancipate them, and thenthey must either acquire a precarious subsistenceby begging, or are exposed to perish by want, asthere is no provission for such objects. There arestill at Bonaire a few remaining of the original in-habitants, and three or four aged people at Cura-50 a ; with these exceptious the natives have be-comeextinct. There are hardly half a dozen familiesof whites who have not intermarried with Indiansor Negroes on the intermediate coasts. AtWilliamstad there is a Dutch reformed church, aLutheran church, a Roman Catholic chapel, and^ Jewish synagogue ; houses are built so near thewalls of the fort, that a ladder from the upperstories would be sufficient to get within the] walls.A remarkable blunder of the engineer is noticed,who, in building a stone battery, turned the em-brasures inwards instead of outwards. In thefront of that battery of the fort which is intendedto command the entrance of the harbour, a rangeof warehouses has been built, which are not onlythemselves exposed to the fire of an enemy, butimpede the use of the guns of the fort, whichwould first have to level those warehouses to acertain height before their shot could reach ahostile force. The powder magazine was placedat a distance from the fort, and in such a situa-tion as to expose the road or access to it, to thefire of any ship coming round on that side. The
town, harbour, and fort, are however capable ofbeing made impregnable by any force attackingthem from the sea-side ; yet they would be greatlyexposed on the land-side, and there are severalplaces on the shores of the island where an enter-prising enemy might find means to effect a landingwith small craft ; these spots ought, therefore,likewise to be fortified, and a garrison ought to bemaintained, numerous enough to dispute theground foot by foot, which, in such a rockyisland, abounding with difficult passages and de-files through the broken rocks, could easily bedone; and an enemy, however strong at theirlanding, if they should effect it, would be exhaust-ed by a well contested retreat, before they couldreach the chief settlement. Cura 9 oa is in lat. 12 °6 '. Long. 69° 2'.]
CURAÇOA. This beautiful city is well situated ;its buildings are large, convenient, and magnificent ;is full of store-houses and shops well provided withevery species of merchandise, and of all kinds of ma-nufactories ; so that you may see at one glance avessel building, the sails and rigging, and all itsother necessary equipments preparing, and eventhe articles being macufactured with which it is tobe laden. It has a good port, in which vesselsfrom all parts are continually lying ; its entranceis defended by a castle, but dangerous and difficultto be made, and to effect it, it is necessary to makefast a cable to the same castle, although a vessel,when once in, will lie very safe. It has a synagoguefor the convenience of the many Jews who inhabitthe city, and who are the principal merchants. TheFrench, commanded by M. Caissar, bombarded itin 1714: ; but the commanding ship of his squa-dron was wrecked upon the coast.
CURAGUE, a small river of the island of LaLaxa in the kingdom of Chile. It runs n. n. w. andenters the Huaque, opposite the mouth of the Ra-ninco. On its shores the Spaniards have built ^fort, called De los Angeles, to restrain the incur-sions of the Araucanos Indians.