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In many ways, Curaçao is the historical nexus of the Netherlands Antilles. The island, with its large and protected natural port, was charted before the 16th century and eventually became a significant center for mercantile commerce. It is the birthplace of Papiamentu (as it is spelled on Curaçao), the polyglot lingua franca of the ABC Islands which is spoken to an extent as far north as the Netherlands Antilles islands of Sint Eustatius, Saba, and Sint Maarten. And the island is, on another level, the birthplace of the famous liqueur, Curaçao, perhaps more well known in some circles than the island itself.
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