||A history of the island and its Jewish population. The first permanent Jewish settlement was formed by Isaac da Costa who gathered a group of 70 Jews, mostly refugees from the destroyed Dutch settlement of Recife who moved to CuraLao. Da Costa received from the Dutch colonizing authorities a series of privileges, among them free exercise of the Jewish religion, the right to build houses, and support from the local government to exercise these privileges. This group founded the Jewish community of "Mikve Israel" and consecrated a Jewish cemetery in 1659. From that year (1659) a constant flow of Jews arrived in Curacao - immigrants from Amsterdam, refugees from destroyed Jewish settlements in Essequibo, Cayenne, and Tobago, and also Jews who abandoned the French Antilles. This permitted the community to bring from Amsterdam their first hakham, Josiau Pardo, in 1674.
The Jewish community prospered and grew rapidly reaching 2,000 by 1780, more than half of the white population of the island.
In 1732 the synagogue of "Mikve Israel" was consecrated. The "Snoa," as it is called in Curacao is still in use today. A monumental building, it can be seen from all parts of Willemstad, capital of Curacao.