Aruba ( ) is a -long island
of the Lesser Antilles in the
Sea, north of the Paraguaná Peninsula, Falcón State,
Venezuela. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, it forms a group referred to as the ABC
islands of the Leeward Antilles, the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles.
An autonomous region within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
has no administrative subdivisions. Unlike much of the Caribbean
region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus
-strewn landscape. This climate has helped
tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny
weather. It has a land area of and lies outside the hurricane belt
first inhabitants are thought to have been Caquetíos Amerinds from
the Arawak tribe, who migrated there from
Venezuela to escape attacks by the Caribs.
Fragments of the earliest known Indian
settlements date back from 1,000 AD. Sea currents made
canoe travel to other Caribbean
islands difficult, thus Caquetio
culture remained closer to that of mainland South America.
Europeans first learned of Aruba when Amerigo Vespucci
and Alonso de Ojeda
happened upon it in August
1499. Vespucci, in one of his four letters to
Pierfrancesco de' Medici, described his voyage to the islands
along the coast of Venezuela. He wrote about an island where most trees are
of brazil wood and, from this island, he
went to one ten leagues away, where
they had houses built as in Venice.
another letter he described a small island inhabited by very large
people, which the expedition thought was not inhabited.
Aruba was colonized by Spain
a century. The Cacique or Indian Chief in Aruba, Simas, welcomed
the first priests in Aruba and received from them a wooden cross as
a gift. In 1508, Alonso de Ojeda was appointed as Spain's first
Governor of Aruba, as part of "Nueva Andalucía."
Another governor appointed by Spain was Juan Martinez de Ampíes.
real" decreed in November 1525 gave Ampíes, factor of Española, the
right to repopulate the depopulated islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire.
natives under Spanish rule enjoyed more liberty than the average
northern European farmer of the period.
In 1528, Ampíes was replaced by a representative of the "House of
Welser". Aruba has been under Dutch administration since 1636,
initially under Peter Stuyvesant
Stuyvesant was on a special mission in Aruba in November and
December 1642.Under the Dutch W.I.C. administration, as "New
Netherland and Curaçao" from 1648 to 1664 and the Dutch government
regulations of 1629, also applied in Aruba. The Dutch
administration appointed an Irishman as "Commandeur" in Aruba in
The United Kingdom occupied Aruba from the years 1799 to 1802 and
from 1805 to 1816.
In August 1806, General Francisco
and a group of 200 freedom fighters on their voyage
to liberate Venezuela from Spain stayed in Aruba for several
In 1933 Aruba sent its first petition for Aruba's separate status
and autonomy to the Queen.
During World War II
, together with
Curaçao the then world-class exporting oil refineries were the main
suppliers of refined products to the Allies. Aruba became a British
protectorate from 1940 to 1942 and a US protectorate from 1942 to
1945. On February 16, 1942, its oil processing refinery was
attacked by a German submarine (U-156
) under the
command of Werner Hartenstein, but the mission failed.
was later destroyed by a US plane as the crew was
sunbathing; only one survived. In March 1944, Eleanor Roosevelt
briefly visited American
troops stationed in Aruba. In attendance were: His Excellency, Dr.
P. Kasteel, the Governor of Curaçao, and his aide, Lieutenant Ivan
Lansberg; Rear Admiral T. E. Chandler and his Aide, Lieutenant W.
L. Edgington; Captain Jhr. W. Boreel and his aide, Lieutenant E. O.
Holmberg; and the Netherlands aide to Mrs. Roosevelt, Lieutenant
Commander v.d. Schatte Olivier.
The island's economy has been dominated by five main industries:
mining (The Aruba Phosphaat
export, petroleum refineries
(The Lago Oil &
Transport Company and the Arend Petroleum Maatschappij Shell Co.),
As a Constituent Country
Kingdom of the
, Aruba's politics take place within a framework of
a 21-member Parliament
an eight-member Cabinet. The governor
is appointed for a six-year term by the monarch, and
the prime minister and deputy prime minister are elected by the
Staten (or "Parlamento") for four-year terms. The Staten is made up
of 21 members elected by direct, popular vote to serve a four-year
with the Netherlands, the country of the Netherlands Antilles, and the country of Aruba form the Kingdom of the
As they share the same Dutch citizenship,
these three countries still also share the Dutch passport as the
Kingdom of the Netherlands passport. As Aruba and the Antilles have
small populations, the two countries had to limit immigration.
their population, they have the right to control the admission of
people from the Netherlands. There is the supervision of the admission
and expulsion of people from the Netherlands and the setting of general conditions for the
admission and expulsion of aliens.
The move toward independence
In August 1947, Aruba presented its first "Staatsreglement"
), for Aruba's "status
aparte" as the status of an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
would come to pass in 1986.
In November 1955, J. Irausquin of Aruba's PPA political party spoke
in front of the United Nations Trust Committee. He ended his speech
saying that in the future there will be changes to come.
at a conference in Suriname, Betico Croes (MEP)
proposed a "sui-generis" Dutch Commonwealth of four states: Aruba,
the Netherlands, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, each with its own nationality.
Yarzagaray, a parliamentary member representing the AVP political
party, proposed a referendum
people of Aruba to determine Aruba's separate status or "Status
Aparte" as a full autonomous state under the crown. He proclaimed:
"Aruba shall never accept a federation and a second class
Betico Croes worked in Aruba to inform and prepare the people of
Aruba for independence. In 1976, a committee appointed by Croes
introduced the national flag and anthem as the symbols of Aruba's
sovereignty and independence, and he also set 1981 as a target for
Aruba's independence. In March 1977, the first Referendum for Self
Determination was held with the support of the United Nations
and 82% of the participants
voted for independence.
The Island Government of Aruba assigned the Institute of Social
Studies in The Hague to prepare a study of Aruba's independence,
which was published in 1978, titled "Aruba en Onafhankelijkheid,
achtergronden, modaliteiten en mogelijkheden; een rapport in eerste
At the conference in the Hague in 1981, Aruba's independence was
then set for the year 1991.In March 1983, based on the Referendum,
Aruba finally reached an official agreement within the Kingdom
, for Aruba's
Independence, first becoming an autonomous country within the
Kingdom of the Netherlands, with its own constitution, unanimously
approved and proclaimed in August 1985, and after an election held
for Aruba's first parliament, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands
Antilles and officially became a country of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands on January 1, 1986, with full independence set for
1996. This achievement is largely due to Betico
Croes and the political support of other nations like the USA,
and various European countries.
Croes was later proclaimed
"Libertador di Aruba" after his death in 1986.
In 1990, movement toward independence was postponed upon the
request of Aruba's Prime Minister, Nelson
. The article scheduling
Aruba’s complete independence was rescinded in 1995, although the
process can begin again after a referendum.
Since January 1, 1986, the Kingdom has consisted of three
countries: the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and
Although the “equality” of the countries is explicitly laid down in
the preamble to the Charter, which states "..considering that they
have expressed freely their will to establish a new constitutional
order in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in which they will conduct
their internal interests autonomously and their common interests on
a basis of equality, and in which they will accord each other
reciprocal assistance, have resolved by mutual consent", in
practice, the Netherlands has considerably more power than either
the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba.
Legal jurisdiction lies with a Gerecht in Eerste Aanleg
(Court of First Instance
Aruba, a Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie voor de Nederlandse
Antillen en Aruba
Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba
) and the
Hoge Raad der
(Supreme Court of Justice of the
Aruba’s educational system, patterned after the Dutch system
, provides for
education at all levels. The Government finances the national
education system, except for private schools, such as the
International School of Aruba (ISA), which finance their own
activities. The percentage of money earmarked for education is
higher than the average for the Caribbean/Latin American
Arubans benefit from a strong primary school education. A segmented
secondary school program includes vocational training (VMBO), basic
education (MAVO), college prep (HAVO) and advanced placement
Higher education goals can be pursued through the Professional
Education program (EPI), the teachers college (IPA) as well as
through the University of Aruba (UA) which offers bachelors and
masters programs in law, finance and economics and hospitality and
tourism management. Since the choice for higher education on the
island itself is limited, many students choose to study abroad in
countries in North America, South America as well as Europe.
There are 68 schools for primary education, 12 schools for
secondary education, and 5 universities. In 2007, there were 22,930
fulltime students registered.
also two main private medical schools in Aruba, All Saints
University of Medicine and Xavier University,
School of Medicine .
All courses are presented in
English. Both school curricula are based on the United States
medical school model and will lead to a Doctor of Medicine degree
that is recognized in North America.
Map of Aruba
a generally flat, riverless island in the Leeward
Antilles island arc
of the Lesser Antilles.
Natural bridge in Aruba
is renowned for its white, sandy beaches on the western and
southern coasts of the island, relatively sheltered from fierce
ocean currents, and this is where most tourist development has
taken place. The northern and eastern coasts, lacking this
protection, are considerably more battered by the sea and have been
left largely untouched by humans. The hinterland of the island features
some rolling hills, the best known of which are called Hooiberg at 165 meters (541 ft) and Mount Jamanota, the highest on the island at 188 metres
(617 ft) above sea level.
Oranjestad, the capital, is located at .
east of Aruba are Bonaire and Curaçao, two island territories which form the southwest
part of the Netherlands Antilles; Aruba and these two Netherlands Antilles islands
are sometimes called the ABC islands.
Aruba's pleasantly tropical marine climate
attracts tourists to the island all year round. Temperature varies
little from 28 °C (82 °F), moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean.
Yearly precipitation barely reaches
500 mm (19.7 in), most of it falling in late
Aruba enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the
Caribbean region; the low unemployment rate is also positive for
Aruba. About three quarters of the Aruban gross national product
or related activities.
the tourists are from Venezuela and the United States (predominately from eastern and southern states),
Aruba's largest trading partner.
Before the "Status Aparte"
(a separate completely autonomous country/state within the
Kingdom), oil processing was the dominant industry in Aruba despite
expansion of the tourism sector. Today, the influence of the oil
processing business is minimal. The size of the agriculture and
manufacturing sectors also remains minimal.
The GDP per capita for Aruba is calculated to be $23,831 in 2007;
among the highest in the Caribbean and the Americas. Its main
trading partners are Venezuela, the U.S and the Netherlands.
has been a staple
in Aruba's history, and modestly high inflation has been present as
well. Recent efforts at tightening monetary policy are correcting
this and will have its first balanced budget in 2009. Aruba
receives some development aid
the Dutch government each year, which will cease in 2009 as part of
a deal (signed as "Aruba's Financial Independence") in which the
Netherlands gradually reduces its financial help to the island each
successive year. The Aruban florin is pegged to the United States dollar
, with a fixed
exchange rate where 1.77 Florin equals 1 U.S. dollar. In most
stores near Oranjestad, the exchange rate is 1.75 florin equals U.S
In 2006 the Aruban government has also changed several tax laws in
order to further reduce the deficit. Direct taxes have been converted to indirect
taxes as proposed by the IMF.
A 3% tax has been introduced on sales and
services, while income taxes have been lowered and revenue taxes
for business reduced with 20%. The government compensated workers
with 3.1% for the effect that the B.B.O. would have on the
inflation for 2007. The inflation on Aruba in 2007 was 8,7%.
Aruba is situated in the deep southern part of the Caribbean.
Because it has almost no rainfall, Aruba was saved from plantation
and the economics of the slave
Aruba's population is estimated to be 80% mestizo
and 20% other ethnicities. Arawaks spoke the
"broken Spanish" which their ancestors had learned on Hispaniola.
The Dutch took control 135 years after the Spanish, left the
Arawaks to farm and graze livestock, and used the island as a
source of meat for other Dutch possessions in the Caribbean. The
Arawak heritage is stronger on Aruba than on most Caribbean
islands. Although no full-blooded Aboriginals
remain, the features
of the islanders clearly indicate their genetic Arawak
heritage. Most of the population is descended
mostly from Arawak, and to a lesser extent Spanish, Italian,
,Dutch, and a few French, Portuguese, British, and African
Recently there has been substantial immigration to the island from
neighboring American and Caribbean nations, possibly attracted by
the higher paid jobs. In 2007, new immigration laws were introduced
to help control the growth of the population by restricting
to a maximum of 3
years residency on the island.
The demographics of Aruba far more than neighboring Curaçao and
Bonaire has been impacted by its proximity to Venezuela. Much of
Aruba's families are present by way of Venezuela and there is a
seasonal increase of Venezuelans living in second homes.
The island with population just over 100,000, of course, does not
have many real cities.
- Oranjestad (33,000 in 2008)
- Saint Nicolaas
- Santa Cruz
- Seru Colorado
On March 18 Aruba celebrates its National Day. In 1976, Aruba
presented its National Anthem (Aruba Dushi Tera) and Flag.
The origins of the population and location of the island give Aruba
a mixed culture. Dutch influence can still be seen, as in the
celebration of "Sinterklaas
" on December
5 and 6 and other national holidays like April 30, when in Aruba
and the rest of the Kingdom of the Netherlands the Queen's birthday
or "Dia di La Reina" (Koninginnedag
Christmas and New Year are celebrated with the typical music and
songs of gaitas for Christmas and the Dande for New Year, and the
"ayaca", the "ponchi crema" and "ham", and other typical foods and
drinks. Millions of dollars worth of fireworks
are burnt at midnight on New
On January 25, Betico's Croes birthday is celebrated.
The holiday of Carnival
is also an
important one in Aruba, as it is in many Caribbean and Latin
American countries, and, like Mardi Gras
that goes on for weeks. Its celebration in Aruba started, around
the 1950s, influenced by the inhabitants from the nearby islands
(Venezuela, St Vincent, Trinidad, Barbados, St. Maarten and
Anguilla) who came to work for the Oil refinery. Over the years the
Carnival Celebration has changed and now starts from the beginning
of January till the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with a large
parade on the last Sunday of the festivities (Sunday before Ash
In June there is the celebration of the "Dia di San Juan", with the
song of "Dera Gai".
Tourism from the United States has recently also increased the
visibility of American culture on the island, with such
celebrations as Halloween
Day in November.
Religion also has its influences; the days of Ascension and Good
Friday are also two holidays on the island.
According to the Bureau Burgelijke Stand en
(BBSB), as of 2005 there are ninety-two
different nationalities living on the island.
Language can be seen as an important part of island culture in
Aruba. The cultural mixture has given rise to a linguistic mixture
known as Papiamento
, the predominant
language on Aruba. The official language is Dutch
. The local language used by its
inhabitants is Papiamento and is a language that has been evolving
through the centuries and absorbed many words from other languages
like Dutch, English, French, diverse African dialects, and most
importantly, from Portuguese and Spanish. However, like many
islands in the region, Spanish is also often spoken. English has
historical connections (with the British
) and is known by many; English usage has also grown due
to tourism. Other common languages spoken based on the size of
their community are Portuguese, Chinese, German and French. The
latter is offered in high school and college, since a high
percentage of Aruban students continue their studies in
In recent years, the government of Aruba has shown an increased
interest in acknowledging the cultural and historical importance of
its native language. Although spoken Papiamento is fairly similar
among the several Papiamento-speaking islands, there is a big
difference in written Papiamento. The orthography differs per
island and even per group of people. Some are more oriented towards
the Portuguese roots and use the equivalent spelling (e.g. "y"
instead of "j"), where others are more oriented towards the Dutch
In a book The Buccaneers of America
, first published in
1678, it is stated by eyewitness account that the Indians on Aruba
spoke "Spanish". The oldest government official statement written
in Papiamento dates from 1803.
Aruba has four newspapers published in Papiamento: Diario
, Solo di Pueblo
and Awe Mainta
and two in English : Aruba Today
and The News
Amigoe is the newspaper published in Dutch.Aruba also has 18 radio
stations (2 AM and 16 FM) and three local television stations
(Tele-Aruba, Aruba Broadcast Company and Channel 22).
Queen Beatrix International
Airport is located near Oranjestad.
This airport has
daily flights to various cities across the United States, to San
Juan, Puerto Rico; Miami, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia
and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia;
Charlotte, North Carolina; Washington DC; New York City; and
Boston, Massachusetts. It also connects Aruba with Toronto, Ontario, and South America, with daily flights to the
international airports of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Brazil,
Germany, France, Spain, U.K and most of Europe through the Schiphol
Airport in the Netherlands.
Direct flights from Italy started in
According to the Aruba Airport Authority, almost 1.7 million
travelers used the airport in 2005, of which 61% were
cooperation with the United States government, and for the
facilitation for the passengers that arrive into the United States,
the United States Department of Homeland
Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border
(CBP) full pre-clearance facility in Aruba has been
in effect since February 1, 2001 with the expansion in the Queen
Beatrix Airport, United States and Aruba have the agreement since
1986 that begins as a USDA and Customs post, and since 2008, the
only island to have this service for private flights. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Defense established a Forward Operating Location (FOL) at
Aruba has two ports Barcadera and Playa (this one) which is located
in Oranjestad, The Port of Playa welcomes all the cruise-ship
lines, including Royal Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Lines
and many more; an estimated almost one million
tourists enter in this port per year, Aruba Ports Authority, owned
and operated by the Aruban government is the authority in these
Aruba's public buses transportation services is in charge of
Arubus, a government based company which operates from 3:30am until
12:30am 365 days a year. Small private vans also provide the
transportation services in certain areas such Hotel Area, San
Nicolaas, Santa Cruz and Noord.
also counts two telecommunications providers, Setar the government based company and Digicel Irish ownership company based in Kingston,
is the provider
of services such as Internet, video vonference, GSM wireless tech
and land lines and offer the latest in telecom services, Digicel
is the Setar competitor in wireless
technology using the GSM platform.
Utilities on the island
WEB also produces potable industrial water, at the world's third
largest desalination plant. Average daily consumption in 2005 was
about 37,043 metric tons.
Places of interest
* Collapsed September 2, 2005
- Dave Benton,
musician who won the 2001
Eurovision Song Contest representing Estonia
- Juan Chabaya Lampe, Composer
of Aruba's national anthem
- Betico Croes, politician
- Radhames Dykhoff, former MLB
- Bobby Farrell, musician (group
- Hef, Dutch hip-hop artist
- Percy Irausquin, fashion
- Jim Jones, American hip-hop
- Gene Kingsale, former MLB
- Calvin Maduro, former MLB
- Pete Philly, Dutch hip-hop
- Sidney Ponson, currently a MLB
player in minor leagues for the Kansas City Royals
- Aruba from the CIA World
- IMED - FAIMER
International Medical Education Directory - Search IMED
- All Saints
University | Discover All Saints University of Medicine,
- Aruba Hosts International Desalination Conference
2007 | Official Travel News from Aruba
- Coral bridge, natural Aruba tourist spot,
- General information