Curacao had been a Dutch colony since 1634. The English were in constant competition with the Dutch and frequently launched raids on Dutch ships entering and leaving the harbour of Willemstad often by use of Privateers. However it was to the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars that Britain finally moved in and controlled the islands. The Dutch had been unable to resist Napoleon's influence and so the Royal Navy was at liberty to pick up virtually all Dutch colonies throughout the world. The British occupied the island from 1800 to 1803 and then again from 1807 until 1816.
Proximity meant that its fate was very similar to the Dutch island colonies of Aruba and Bonaire.