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The civilized history of Bonaire dates back nearly 1000 years when the first known humans set foot on the island. These people were the Caiquetios Indians who sailed from the Country known today as Venezuela.
It was nearly 500 years later in 1499 when the first Europeans came to the island. The explorers were from Spain and took control of Bonaire for their nation. But instead of populating the island, the Spanish decided to enslave the local Indians, leaving the island deserted.
In 1526 the Spanish decided to use the island for raising animals. Cattle were the first animals brought to Bonaire, followed by sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys and horses. Some of the Indians who were taken from the island and enslaved were returned to work on Bonaire, raising the animals. Certain wild animals seen around the island today are there because of these early years.
In 1633 control of Bonaire was taken by the Dutch. The island was then converted to a plantation, where more slaves were brought to work.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century, nobody was allowed on the island aside from slaves and their supervisors. In the middle of the nineteenth century, slavery was abolished, marking the end of the island’s slavery days.
The islands people slowly gained basic human rights, and eventually were fully integrated into normal society.