It is not exactly known when the island was first discovered. Officially, the island was only put on the map in 1871 by John Godden, an English mining engineer. John Godden discovered that there was a lot of phosphate present on the island, left behind by all the birds that used Klein Curaçao as a breeding ground. Phosphate was at that time a very popular product and was used in Europe as an additive for cattle feed and fertilizer.
In fifteen years time, over ninety tons of phosphate were extracted and exported to Europe. The phosphate extraction changed the landscape of Klein Curacao and created a barren and empty uninhabited island. Thanks to a reforestation project by Carmabi, there is now some green to be discovered here and there.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the island was used by the West India Company as a quarantine island for slaves. Before the slaves were brought ashore to Curaçao, the sick slaves were placed in quarantine on Klein Curaçao. Those who did not survive were buried on the island.
Klein Curaçao, like Curacao, suffers little from hurricanes. Unfortunately, there have been a few hurricanes in history that have left their marks on the island. The first was the hurricane in 1877. This hurricane destroyed the first lighthouse of the island. It was then decided to build a new lighthouse - the one that still stands today - in the middle of the island.
The island, with its beautiful white beach, is a well-known nesting place for turtles. Every year, sea turtles born on Klein Curaçao return to their birth beach to continue their species. Here you have a real chance of seeing turtles swimming while snorkeling.