MaltaPost is issuing a Joint Stamp Issue with Curacao featuring "Harbours" as a common theme between the two Islands.
Malta and Curacao are small islands, both found close to two large continents. Harbours characterise the landscape of each country as through time, both had to defend themselves from those who sought to conquer their islands. Nieuwe Post and MaltaPost launched a Joint Stamp issue to reflect this connection by using "Harbours" as the theme. The Schottegat Harbour is the motif of Curacao's miniature sheet while the Grand Harbour is depicted on the Maltese miniature sheet.
About Malta's Grand Harbour
Malta's Grand Harbour is a natural harbour and was a major determinant of the country's history. Through time it was greatly improved with docks and wharves and was fortified to strengthen the country's defence system most particularly during the times of the Knights of St. John who resided in Malta between 1530 and 1798. The Grand Harbour served as the base of the Knights for 268 years, and later as a base for the British for another 170 years.
The area experienced numerous battles particularly during the Great Siege when the Turks attempted to conquer the Island in 1565. It was also the scene of heavy bombing raids during World War II between 1940 and 1945.
The Grand Harbour area is still quite active and can be considered as Malta's principal maritime gateway and a popular port visited by many cruise ships travelling along the Mediterranean.
About Curacao's Schottegat Harbour
The Schottegat Harbour is found on the southeast coast of Curacao, an island found in the southern Caribbean Sea. The harbour is the island's largest and most important harbour which bustles daily with activity.
The Dutch were driven to Curacao as the island served as a rich source of salt which they needed to preserve their food particularly the herring fish. The Dutch occupied the island in 1632 and it was around this time when the Dutch West Indian Company saw the value of this natural harbour and founded the capital of Curacao, Willemstad, on the banks of the harbour.
During the period between 1660 and 1700, the Dutch West India Company flourished; the slave trade boomed, and the harbour of Curacao served as the country's gateway to receive the incoming food supplies and to dispose of products from the plantations of South America.
Today, cruise ships dock at the various cruise terminals located within an area of the harbour, known as Otrobanda. St. Annabay which is another part of the harbour houses the main facilities of the harbour including the region's largest oil refinery and dry dock, a transshipment centre, modern container terminal and several cargo wharves.