History: more than three centuries of Blue Bay
The beginning: Anno Blaauw’s plantation
The plantation ‘Blaauw’ was known even before the year 1700 and owed its name to Anno Blaauw, who was the owner at the time. Old documents show that the plantation had varying success with its harvests and that its crops included lemons and laraha oranges, which are still the defining ingredient for the famous Curacao liqueur.
Indigo and carmine
The plantation also produced indigo, a luxurious blue dye that was believed to ward off evil spirits. (This is what gave the Indigo Garden villa project its name.) In the years after 1850, Cochineal insects were grown for the production of the crimson-colored dye carmine, a red colorant currently known as E120. You can see it in foodstuffs, lipsticks and the beverage Campari, among other things.
Plantation Blaauw was resold countless times, as was the case with many plantations. Most owners did not possess Blaauw for more than 12 years. Its tumultuous history also encompassed the gruesome era of slavery. Archive material from 1843 shows that 27 slaves lived on the plantation at the time.
Pirates wreaking havoc
At the end of the 18th century, Curacao was in turmoil. The economy had collapsed and French pirates terrorized the island. On the 23rd of July 1800, no less than 1200 pirates of the ‘Gang of Guadeloupe’ started a fifty day invasion and ransacked the plantation Blaauw. An English warship came to the rescue, but as a result Curacao had to tolerate several years of English rule.
The 20th century
The Jacobs family owned the plantation from 1918-1990. They had bought it from the Joubert family and turned it into a fully fledged farm with Dutch cattle, South African blackhead sheep, Dutch pigs and American chickens. The lady of the house, Rose Helena Jonckhout, grew beautiful roses in the garden. Even then, the plantation was known for the many generous wells with good quality water.
Heavy artillery against the Nazis
In the Second World War, American armed forces defended Curacao against Nazi submarines. In the area that is currently known as Blue Bay Section B, they positioned four 155mm cannons, anti aircraft guns and machine guns. It was the ideal location to defend the island’s oil refinery and storage tanks. On at least one occasion, the cannons were fired at full power against an attacking Nazi U-Boat, which quickly fled the scene.
Blue Bay today
The Blue Bay masterplan dates back to 1990, when a local development group bought the plantation from the Jacobs family and put the first infrastructure in place. By 1997, however, the plantation was already in need of expansion. Developer Steve Raspoort saw the area’s enormous potential and managed to convert it, step by step, into the current Blue Bay, a blossoming resort with golf course that has positive effects on Curacao’s economy and employment. Steve Raspoort passed away in 2007, but his family is keeping his dream alive.