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 the cruisers from Cura^oa greatly annoyed the English W. India trade ; so that tliere was a balance accounted for by the treasury of 190,000 francs, (about 17,275/.), arising from the duties on the prize-cargoes. This had been invested on mortgage for the benefit of the company. The governor should be a milhary man ; the mixed nature of the inhabitants renders a strict and more arbitrary form of government necessary here than in the otlier colonies. Excepting a tew merchants, there are scarcely any white inhabitants at the chief town, Williamstad, or on the opposite side of the harbour; such as have any lands live upon them, and the public officers and servants of the company reside in or near the fort. The town’s people are a mixture of Jews, Spaniards, sailors, free Mulattoes, free Negroes, Musquito and other Indians. I'he licentiousness of the Negro slaves is very great here, and attributable to various causes ; they are nevertheless worse off than in other colonies, as, in case of a scarcity of provisions, the distress falls chiefly on them. The manumission of slaves, as practised here, is very preposterous ; for it is generally when they are too old to work, that their proprietors pay a small fine to government to emancipate them, and then they must either acquire a precarious subsistence by begging, or are exposed to perish by want, as there is no provission for such objects. There are still at Bonaire a few remaining of the original inhabitants, and three or four aged people at Cura50 a ; with these exceptious the natives have becomeextinct. There are hardly half a dozen families of whites who have not intermarried with Indians or Negroes on the intermediate coasts. At Williamstad there is a Dutch reformed church, a Lutheran church, a Roman Catholic chapel, and ^ Jewish synagogue ; houses are built so near the walls of the fort, that a ladder from the upper stories would be sufficient to get within the] walls. A remarkable blunder of the engineer is noticed, who, in building a stone battery, turned the embrasures inwards instead of outwards. In the front of that battery of the fort which is intended to command the entrance of the harbour, a range of warehouses has been built, which are not only themselves exposed to the fire of an enemy, but impede the use of the guns of the fort, which would first have to level those warehouses to a certain height before their shot could reach a hostile force. The powder magazine was placed at a distance from the fort, and in such a situation as to expose the road or access to it, to the fire of any ship coming round on that side. The
town, harbour, and fort, are however capable of being made impregnable by any force attacking them from the sea-side ; yet they would be greatly exposed on the land-side, and there are several places on the shores of the island where an enterprising enemy might find means to effect a landing with small craft ; these spots ought, therefore, likewise to be fortified, and a garrison ought to be maintained, numerous enough to dispute the ground foot by foot, which, in such a rocky island, abounding with difficult passages and defiles through the broken rocks, could easily be done; and an enemy, however strong at their landing, if they should effect it, would be exhausted by a well contested retreat, before they could reach 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 with every species of merchandise, and of all kinds of manufactories ; so that you may see at one glance a vessel building, the sails and rigging, and all its other necessary equipments preparing, and even the articles being macufactured with which it is to be laden. It has a good port, in which vessels from all parts are continually lying ; its entrance is defended by a castle, but dangerous and difficult to be made, and to effect it, it is necessary to make fast a cable to the same castle, although a vessel, when once in, will lie very safe. It has a synagogue for the convenience of the many Jews who inhabit the city, and who are the principal merchants. The French, commanded by M. Caissar, bombarded it in 1714: ; but the commanding ship of his squadron was wrecked upon the coast.
CURAGUE, a small river of the island of La Laxa in the kingdom of Chile. It runs n. n. w. and enters the Huaque, opposite the mouth of the Raninco. On its shores the Spaniards have built ^ fort, called De los Angeles, to restrain the incursions of the Araucanos Indians.