Monday, January 6, 2014

Country Profiles: Curacao

Curacao is located in the Caribbean.
Originally settled by Arawak Indians, Curacao was seized by the Dutch in 1634 along with the neighboring island of Bonaire. Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, Curacao was hard hit economically by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of the Isla Refineria to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. In 1954, Curacao and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions were reorganized as the Netherlands Antilles, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In referenda in 2005 and 2009, the citizens of Curacao voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The change in status became effective in October 2010 with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.
CIA World Factbook
With an area of 444 sq km, it is more than twice the size of Washington,D.C.

Curacao is an island, and it is mostly low, hilly terrain.



People who live in Curacao are called Curacaon, which is also an adjective used to describe something from this country. As of July 2013, there are 146,836 people in Curacao. The ethnic groups that reside in Curacao are mostly Afro-Caribbean, with some Dutch, French, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, and Jewish. Several languages are spoken there: though Dutch is the official language, it is only spoken by 8% of the population. Majority of Curacoans speak Papiamentu (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) is spoken by 81.2%, while Spanish is spoken by 4%, and English is spoken by 2.9%. Roman Catholics make up approximately 80.1% of the population, while Protestants make up an additional 11.2%.

The country's official name is Land Curacao (or Pais Korsou in Papiamentu). The capital is Willemstad, and the country is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilders (abbreviated ANG), which stands at 1.79 ANG per USD as of 2011.



All of this information was gathered from the CIA World Factbook. For more information, check out these resources...

Curacao, CIA World Factbook

U.S. Relations With Curacao, U.S. Department of State

You can also check out the Country Studies tab on our Fed Docs libguide here for more resources on all of the countries.


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Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello everyone!

It seems like just when we start getting up again, we run into another holiday!

Postings will resume on January 6th! In the meantime, please check out our Twitter account, which will remain active over the break: https://twitter.com/feddocs

Happy Holidays!


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Monday, December 16, 2013

Country Profiles: Cuba

Cuba is located in the Caribbean and is part of Central America.
The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902 after which the island experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule held the subsequent regime together for nearly five decades. He stepped down as president in February 2008 in favor of his younger brother Raul CASTRO. Cuba's communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba at times portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source if its difficulties. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the US's southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard interdicted 1,275 Cuban nationals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in 2012.
CIA World Factbook
With an area of 110,860 sq km, it is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Cuba shares a border with the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. The Guantanamo Naval Base has an area of 29 km. It is leased by the US and remains part of Cuba. It is mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast.



People who live in Cuba are called Cubans, which is also an adjective used to describe something from this country. As of July 2013, there are 11,061,886 people in Cuba. The ethnic groups that reside in Cuba are mostly white (65.1%), with some mulatto and mestizo (24.8%) and black (10.1%). The official language of Cuba is Spanish. Roman Catholicism makes up approximately 85% of the population, while Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish, and Santeri make up the rest.

The country's official name is the Republic of Cuba. The capital is Havana, and the country is made up of 15 provinces. Cuba gained independence from Spain on May 20, 1902. A constitution was drafted in 1976. The constitution can be found here through Constitution Finder. The current president and Council of State is Raul Modesto Castro Ruz. Information about the leaders of Cuba's government can be found here. The currency is the Cuban pesos (abbreviated CUP), which stands at 1 CUP per USD as of 2012.



All of this information was gathered from the CIA World Factbook. For more information, check out these resources...

Cuba, CIA World Factbook

Cuba, U.S. Department of State

2012 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Cuba, U.S. Department of State.

You can also check out the Country Studies tab on our Fed Docs libguide here for more resources on all of the countries.


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Monday, December 9, 2013

Country Profiles: Croatia

Croatia is located in Europe.
The lands that today comprise Croatia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands, along with a majority of Croatia's ethnic Serb population. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. The country joined NATO in April 2009 and the EU in July 2013.
CIA World Factbook
With an area of 56,594 sq km, it is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia.

Croatia shares a border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. It is geographically diverse with flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline, and islands.



People who live in Croatia are called Croats or Croatians; Croatian is also an adjective used to describe something from this country. As of July 2013, there are 4,475,611 people in Croatia. The ethnic groups that reside in Croatia are mostly Croat (89.6%) with some Serb (4.5%) and other (5.9%), including Bosniak, Hungarian, Slovene, Czech, and Roma. Croatian (96.1%) is the official language, but Serbian (1%) and other/undesignated (2.9%), including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German, are spoken there. Roman Catholic make up approximately 87.8% of the population, while Orthodox (4.4%), other Christian (0.4%), and Muslim (1.3%) make up most of the rest.

The country's official name is Republic of Croatia. The capital is Zagreb, and the country is made up of 20 counties. Croatia gained independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991. The constitution can be found here through Constitution Finder. The current president is Ivo Josipovic. Information about the leaders of Croatia's government can be found here. The currency is the kuna (abbreviated HRK), which stands at 5.8503 HRK per USD as of 2012.



All of this information was gathered from the CIA World Factbook. For more information, check out these resources...

Croatian Government Site

Croatia, CIA World Factbook

Background Notes: Croatia, U.S. Department of State

2012 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Croatia, U.S. Department of State.

You can also check out the Country Studies tab on our Fed Docs libguide here for more resources on all of the countries.




Sonnet Ireland
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Reference & Instruction Librarian
Liaison Librarian:
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Law; Management; Marketing