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Phosphate extraction on Klein Curacao

Although it is not known exactly when Klein Curacao was discovered, it was put on the map in 1871 by the English mining engineer John Godden. This was of course not without reason, because he discovered that a certain substance on Curacao could be quite profitable. Below I explain more about phosphate extraction on Klein Curacao.


Phosphate extraction on Klein Curacao

When John Godden arrived at Klein Curacao, he found out that a lot of phosphate could be obtained here and this could yield a lot of profit. This phosphate was left behind by birds. There were many birds on Klein Curacao that used this island as a breeding ground. In this process they have therefore always left behind a lot of phosphate. This fabric was very popular in Europe at that time and was therefore widely traded. It was used as an additive to both fertilizer and animal feed.


After John Godden Klein had put Curacao on the map, phosphate was extracted from here for a long time. During the 15 years that John Godden has been trading phosphate from Klein Curacao, more than 90 tons of phosphate have been extracted and then exported to England. When John Godden’s 15 years of phosphate mining permission expired, others took over. In total, phosphate was eventually extracted on the island from 1871 to 1914.


The consequences of phosphate extraction

The traders of the phosphate have of course made a lot of profit from all the phosphate they traded in those years. However, there are also consequences associated with phosphate extraction and its export from Klein Curacao. First, Klein Curacao was an island with plants and a lot of life. However, thanks to phosphate extraction, the landscape has changed drastically. To be able to extract phosphate, the bottom of the island had to be excavated. As a result, much vegetation has disappeared and the island eventually became barren and barren. Seabirds also lived here for thousands of years, until the island lost all its vegetation. As a result, the island is now uninhabited. Finally, the small island still had a few hills before the phosphate extraction, but these have also disappeared due to the phosphate extraction and the island is now 3 meters lower, while it was already quite flat. Fortunately, people are working to change the island again. There is namely a reforestation project by Carmabi underway, so that hopefully Klein Curacao will become a lot greener again.

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Klein Curacao