The Initiative to Get Caribbean Stories on Wikipedia

L Maldonado
May 18 · 3 min read

There are approximately 5,860,283 articles on Wikipedia. However, if you’re looking for information on the Dutch Caribbean islands many of the articles will be stubs, and the worse offense is that virtually zero (0.2%) of these articles are written in the native language of the ABC islands, which is Papiamento.

Stubs and only a few thousand articles in Papiamentu

Why do we need more articles in Papiamentu on Wikipedia?

Currently, the Papiamentu Wikipedia is missing topics about culture, language, heritage, history, education, art, media, social sciences, and more, which is a lot of missing information. Another issue, not enough articles are written in the perspective of islanders or natives.

Is there anything being done about this?

The answer is yes! Recently, Wiki Goes Caribbean organized workshops on all three of the islands in a bid to incentivize the island natives to become Wikipedians. During these workshops, writers are taught how to take on article writing head on, as well as how to avoid rookie mistakes.

What are the current Papiamentu Wiki facts?

The Papiamentu Wikipedia started on the 26th of March 2006. There are currently 1,903 articles written in Papiamentu or Papiamento on Wikipedia.

Papiamentu and Papiamento are variants of the same language. The major difference is the orthography. The latter (from Aruba) is etymological and the former (from Curacao and Bonaire) is phonological. Union is strength however, and thus there exists one official Wikipedia for these variations.

Writers are encouraged to write in their own variant of the language and are asked not to change the orthography of an existing article.

How can you help the Papiamentu Wikipedia?

There are many ways you can help, check it out:

  1. Add information to an existing article on the Random Page (just click!)
  2. Translate an existing article from English, Dutch, Spanish or one of the other 200+ languages to Papiamentu and upload this to the Papiamentu Wikipedia
  3. Make a new article about a topic you find interesting on the Papiamentu Wikipedia!

Alternatively, if you’re just learning to speak/write Papiamentu you can help by:

  1. Finding an article that lacks illustrations and adding a picture from Wikimedia Commons.
  2. You can tidy up the formatting of an article, add internal links, resources, category tags, etc.

Who is behind this initiative?

The Wiki Goes Caribbean is an initiative by Wikimedia, UNESCO NL, National Library of Aruba, the National Archives, University of Aruba, the Federation of Musea and Nature, Bureau of Monument Maintenance, University of Curacao, Cultural and Historical Foundation Bonaire, National Archive Bonaire, and the Traveling Caribbean Heritage.

Adding Wikipedia Articles in Papiamentu is extremely important, for children, the speakers of the language and Caribbean heritage. Add articles today if you can!