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Netherlands Antilles:
Geography

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Netherlands Antilles Page


Other pages in this profile of the Netherlands Antilles:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of oil refineries to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared with France; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles; its northern portion, called Saint Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France.
Location
Definition
Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - composed of five islands, Curacao and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela, and Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates
Definition
12 15 N, 68 45 W
Map references
Definition
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 960 sq km
land: 960 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin)
Area - comparative
Definition
more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 15 km
border countries: Saint Martin 15 km
Coastline
Definition
364 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds
Terrain
Definition
generally hilly, volcanic interiors
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Scenery 862 m
Natural resources
Definition
phosphates (Curacao only), salt (Bonaire only)
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 90% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October; Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt and are rarely threatened
Environment - current issues
Definition
NA
Geography - note
Definition
the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles are divided geographically into the Leeward Islands (northern) group (Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten) and the Windward Islands (southern) group (Bonaire and Curacao); the island of Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the world shared by two independent states, the French territory of Saint Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten


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