Salt production in Bonaire
Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci landed in 1499 on Bonaire and claimed it for Spain. The small island of Bonaire had one precious commodity: salt! This was a necessary ingredient for preserving meat and fish. In the late 1620’s, the Spanish had cut off the supply of this essential mineral to the Dutch. A few years later, the Dutch captured Bonaire and gained valuable control of its salt pans. Bonaire became in 1633 a plantation of the Dutch West India Company. Salt production started in 1636 and the salt industry on Bonaire expanded since then. First under the Dutch West India Company and then under direct governmental control.
With a comfortably dry climate and steady trade winds, Bonaire has always been recognized as an ideal location for the production of salt. For over three centuries, the island’s culture and prosperity was dependent upon this most important of the world’s spices. Today, about 22 % of the Bonaire surface is used for the process of evaporation of sea water, a process in the hands of professionals and safely adopted in the fragile environment of Bonaire. The stunning colored salt pansare also home to one of the hemisphere’s great populations of Flamingoes!