Aruba is a small island located nearly 1,600 kilometers west of the Lesser Antilles and 27 kilometers north of Venezuela. Along with Bonaire and Curacao, it forms the ABC islands. Aruba is one of 4 constituent countries that create the Kingdom of the Netherlands, thus its citizens are Dutch.
Aruba averages 82 degrees, with more sunny days than any other Caribbean island. While Dutch and Papiamento are the official languages, most Arubans also speak English and Spanish.
The largest city and capital is Oranjestad, located near the western end of the island. Often called “Playa,” it has a population estimated at 30,000. Oranjestad is the Capital.
Aruba’s rich, multicultural past is reflected in our cuisine, architecture, artwork, traditions, and warm, friendly people. What began as a fishing outpost for Amerindians has changed hands between the Spanish and Dutch throughout the centuries, and is now a diverse constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The first known inhabitants of the island of Aruba were the Caiquetio Indians of the Arawak tribe from Venezuela.
In 1499, Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda discovered Aruba, kicking off the colonization of the island by the Spanish. In 1513, the Spaniards enslaved many of the Caquetio Indians and sent them to Hispaniola to work on plantations and in mines. Approximately nine years after Alonso de Ojeda landed on Aruba, the Spanish Crown appointed him as the first governor of the island. Aruba stayed under Spanish control for 137 years.
Because of Aruba’s strategic location, the Dutch occupied the island in 1636 in order to protect their salt supply from the South American mainland while also ensuring a naval base in the Caribbean during their Eighty Years’ War with Spain. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British invaded and took control of Aruba, but the Netherlands took it back in 1816. Aruba officially became part of the Netherlands Antilles in 1845.
Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986, a victory much fought for by political activist and local hero Betico Croes. In this process of “Status Aparte,” Aruba obtained a separate status as an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Initially, the plan for Aruba was to become fully independent. However, in 1990, Aruba decided to indefinitely postpone this plan, and in 1995, the petition for full independence was completely repealed.
Today, Aruba remains a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Foreign affairs and national defense for Aruba are still controlled by the Kingdom, but all internal affairs—including laws, policies, and currency—are controlled by the Aruban government. Aruba is a true melting pot, with over 90 nationalities represented in its population of over 110,000 residents. Some of this diversity can be seen in the number of languages that the average Aruban can speak, usually including Dutch, the native language of Papiamento, English, and Spanish. The Aruban people enjoy a healthy economy, and due to the tourism industry and an excellent education system, Aruba enjoys a very low unemployment rate.
What makes ARUBA Unique:
Ethnically diverse – ultimate melting pot. Lots of immigrants hail from South America, other Caribbean countries like Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Europe, China, and various African nations. Most of the population is fluent in English, Dutch, and Spanish. Divers from all over the world travel to Aruba for shipwrecks along the coast. The island provides a wide variety of genuine and artificial wrecks. Trade winds are the prevailing winds that blow east-to-west that flow along Earth’s equatorial region. Aruba receives constant trade winds from the northeast.