A group of Caribbean islands (including Aruba until 1986), which came under Dutch authority in 1678. Political life began to emerge during the late 1930s, and after World War II demands for greater autonomy from the Netherlands began to grow. In 1954, they were granted full self‐government in internal affairs, while being declared an integral part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the same time. The five constituent islands are represented in a common federal parliament, though each island remains autonomous in its own internal matters. In the late 1980s the constitutional set‐up seemed extremely fragile, with the established political parties advocating a breakup of the Antilles. These proposals were popularly rejected in a referendum in October 1994, but moves for a breakup continued, especially in the larger islands of St Maarten and Curacao. The two islands were granted greater autonomy in 2006, with a breakup of the Netherlands Antilles envisaged for 2007.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).