The world lost one country but gained two new ones yesterday as the Netherlands Antilles officially ceased to exist. People on the Caribbean islands of Curacao and St. Maarten woke to find themselves in autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Reuters reports. Three smaller islands that had been part of the Antilles will now be directly ruled by the Netherlands.
The federation, formed in 1954, fell apart amid arguments over revenue and debt sharing, the AP notes. "We will have to get ourselves accustomed to the new reality," said Sarah Wescot-Williams, St. Maarten's first prime minister. "Yes, we are still part of the Dutch kingdom and, yes, we are bound by rules and agreements with kingdom partners, but the success of our fledgling country starts with all of us." (Read more Netherlands Antilles stories.)