Curaçao was (re)discovered in 1499 by Alonso de Ojeda, along with Amerigo Vespucci and Juan de la Cosa. They named the island “Isla de los Gigantes” (island of giants) because they found that the inhabitants were very large. Most likely, the Indians were not that big at all, but compared to the petite Spaniards, Portuguese and Italians, the strongly muscled Indians were amazingly huge at the time. The sailors (pirates, conquerors) hoped and expected to find gold and silver on this island with giants, but they failed to find same. They then decided to change the name from ‘Isla de los gigantes’ and renamed the island ‘Islas Inutiles’ (useless islands).
Due to the long journey many sailors were sick, weak, and dying on board who suffered from a mysterious illness and who were dying one after the other. This was the disease called ‘scurvy’ (medical: scorbutus or scorbut), a disease due to a long-term vitamin C deficiency a common disease back in the days for many centuries on sailing ships.
Amerigo Vespucci left the sick sailors to die on the island (Isla Inutile) while departing to South and Central America, where the sailors could die in a “dignified” manner; after all, when a sailor was dying at sea, the body was thrown into the ocean, and there was no questioning of a human or honorable burial. When returning from America to Spain, the “healthy” sailors that were left on the ship, saw that the same ill sailors whom they had left behind to die were on shore and greeting them in brilliant health. They were completely healed because they had done excellent with the abundance of fresh fruit, full of vitamin C, as well as the powerful energy of healing and wellness present on the island. This is when the island was then renamed to ‘the island of the healing Indians’, ‘Coração’, the Portuguese word meaning heart. In the name Curaçao, the true nature has since been hidden: Cura-ção means ‘healing / heart’. Curaçao the island for ‘healing of heart and soul’. We also translate this into our slogan: ‘Cure the soul’.