Aruba

Aruba

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Aruba is a 33 km-long island of the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

 in the southern Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 and 130 km (aprox.) east of Guajira Peninsula
Guajira Peninsula
Guajira Peninsula , is a peninsula in northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea...

 (Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

). Together with Bonaire and Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles
Leeward Antilles
The Leeward Antilles are a chain of islands in the Caribbean – specifically, the southerly islands of the Lesser Antilles along the southeastern fringe of the Caribbean Sea, just north of the Venezuelan coast of the South American mainland...

, the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

.

Aruba is one of the four constituent countries
Constituent country
Constituent country is a phrase sometimes used in contexts in which a country makes up a part of a larger entity. The term constituent country does not have any defined legal meaning, and is used simply to refer to a country which is a part Constituent country is a phrase sometimes used in contexts...

 that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

, together with the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, and Sint Maarten whose citizens share a single nationality: Dutch citizen. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, but for census purposes is divided into 8 regions. Its capital is Oranjestad
Oranjestad, Aruba
Oranjestad is the capital and largest city of Aruba, which is in the Caribbean north of Venezuela. Oranjestad is located on the southern coast near the western end of the island country...

. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus
Cactus
A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae. Their distinctive appearance is a result of adaptations to conserve water in dry and/or hot environments. In most species, the stem has evolved to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have evolved into spines...

-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather. It has a land area of 179 square kilometres (69.1 sq mi) and is densely populated with a total of 101,484 inhabitants at the 2010 Census. It lies outside the hurricane belt
Hurricane belt
The hurricane belt is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, which is prone to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season....

.

History


Aruba's first inhabitants are thought to have been Caquetíos Amerinds from the Arawak tribe, who migrated there from Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 to escape attacks by the Caribs. Fragments of the earliest known Indian settlements date back to 1000 AD. Sea currents made canoe
Canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

 travel to other Caribbean islands difficult, thus Caquetio
Caquetio
Caquetio, Caiquetio, or Caiquetia, were Indians of northwestern Venezuela, living along the shores of Lake Maracaibo at the time of the Spanish conquest. They moved inland to avoid enslavement by the Spaniards but were eventually destroyed as were their neighbours, the Quiriquire and the Jirajara...

 culture remained closer to that of mainland South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

.

Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans first learned of Aruba following the explorations of Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.-Expeditions:...

 and Alonso de Ojeda
Alonso de Ojeda
Alonso de Ojeda was a Spanish navigator, governor and conquistador. His name is sometimes spelled Alonzo and Oxeda.-Early life:...

 in the summer of 1499. Though Vespucci boasted of discovering the island, he and Ojeda were likely guided there by natives of nearby islands. Both described Aruba as an "island of giants," remarking on the comparatively large stature of the native Caquetíos compared to Europeans. Ojeda also referred to the island as "Oro Hubo," Spanish for "It Had Gold." Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 was not discovered on Aruba, however, for another 300 years. Vespucci returned to Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 with stocks of cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 and brazilwood
Brazilwood
Caesalpinia echinata is a species of Brazilian timber tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include Brazilwood, Pau-Brasil, Pau de Pernambuco and Ibirapitanga . This plant has a dense, orange-red heartwood that takes a high shine, and it is the premier wood used for making bows for...

 from the island and described houses built into the ocean. Vespucci and Ojeda's tales spurred interest in Aruba and Spaniards soon colonized the island.

Aruba was colonized by Spain
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 for over 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. A "cédula real" decreed in November 1525 gave Ampíes, factor of Española, the right to repopulate the depopulated islands of Aruba, Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 and Bonaire.

In 1528, Ampíes was replaced by a representative of the "House of Welser
Welser
Welser is the surname of an important German banking and merchant family, originally from Augsburg. Along with the Fugger family, the Welser family controlled various sectors of the European economy, and accumulated enormous wealth through trade and the German colonization of the...

". Aruba has been under Dutch
Dutch Empire
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...

 administration since 1636, initially under Peter Stuyvesant
Peter Stuyvesant
Peter Stuyvesant , served as the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664, after which it was renamed New York...

. 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 1667.

In August 1806, General Francisco de Miranda
Francisco de Miranda
Sebastián Francisco de Miranda Ravelo y Rodríguez de Espinoza , commonly known as Francisco de Miranda , was a Venezuelan revolutionary...

 and a group of 200 freedom fighters on their voyage to liberate Venezuela from Spain stayed in Aruba for several weeks.

In 1933 Aruba sent its first petition for Aruba's separate status and autonomy to the Queen.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, 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. U-156 was later (8 March 1943) destroyed by a US plane as the crew was sunbathing. In March 1944, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

 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: gold mining
Gold mining
Gold mining is the removal of gold from the ground. There are several techniques and processes by which gold may be extracted from the earth.-History:...

, phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 mining (The Aruba Phosphaat Maatschappij), aloe
Aloe
Aloe , also Aloë, is a genus containing about 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most common and well known of these is Aloe vera, or "true aloe"....

 export, petroleum refineries
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

 (The Lago Oil & Transport Company and the Arend Petroleum Maatschappij Shell Co.), and tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

.

Politics





As a constituent country
Constituent country
Constituent country is a phrase sometimes used in contexts in which a country makes up a part of a larger entity. The term constituent country does not have any defined legal meaning, and is used simply to refer to a country which is a part Constituent country is a phrase sometimes used in contexts...

 of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

, Aruba's politics take place within a framework of a 21-member Parliament and an eight-member Cabinet. The governor of Aruba
Governor of Aruba
The Governor of Aruba is the representative on Aruba of the Dutch head of state . The governors duties are twofold: he represents and guards the general interests of the Kingdom and is head of the Aruban Government. He is accountable to the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As the head...

 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 term.

Together with the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, the countries of Aruba, Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 and Sint Maarten form the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

. As they share the same Dutch citizenship, these four countries still also share the Dutch passport as the Kingdom of the Netherlands passport. As Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have small populations, the three countries had to limit immigration. To protect their population, they have the right to control the admission of people from the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. There is the supervision of the admission and expulsion of people from the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and the setting of general conditions for the admission and expulsion of aliens.

Aruba is designated as a member of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) and is thus officially not a part of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, though Aruba can and does receive support from the European Development Fund.

Moves towards independence


In August 1947, Aruba presented its first "Staatsreglement" (constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

), for Aruba's "status aparte" as the status of an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

. By 1954, the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established, providing a framework for relations between Aruba and the rest of the Kingdom.

In 1972, at a conference in Suriname
Suriname
Suriname , officially the Republic of Suriname , is a country in northern South America. It borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname was a former colony of the British and of the Dutch, and was previously known as...

, Betico Croes
Betico Croes
Gilberto François "Betico" Croes was an Aruban political activist who was a proponent of Aruba's separation from the rest of the Netherlands Antilles. This eventually occurred, but Croes lapsed into a coma after an accident on 31 December 1985 and was never conscious to see his accomplishment...

 (MEP) proposed a "sui-generis" Dutch Commonwealth of four states: Aruba, the Netherlands, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
The Netherlands Antilles , also referred to informally as the Dutch Antilles, was an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of two groups of islands in the Lesser Antilles: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao , in Leeward Antilles just off the Venezuelan coast; and Sint...

, each with its own nationality. Mr. C. Yarzagaray, a parliamentary member representing the AVP political party, proposed a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 for the 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 nationality."

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
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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 aanleg". At the conference in The Hague in 1981, Aruba's independence was set for the year 1991.

In March 1983 Aruba finally reached an official agreement within the Kingdom
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 for Aruba's Independence, which would occur in a series of steps granting increasing autonomy. in August 1985 Aruba drafted a constitution that was unanimously approved. On 1 January 1986, after elections were held for Aruba's first parliament, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and officially became a country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Full independence was set for 1996.

This achievement is largely due to Betico Croes and the political support of other nations like the USA, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, Venezuela 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 O. Oduber. The article scheduling Aruba's complete independence was rescinded in 1995, although the process can begin again after a referendum.

Law


The Aruban legal system is based on the Dutch model. Instead of juries or grand juries, in Aruba, legal jurisdiction lies with a Gerecht in Eerste Aanleg (Court of First Instance
Court of First Instance
The General Court is a jurisdictional instance of the Court of Justice of the European Union. From its inception on 1 January 1989 to 30 November 2009, it was known as the Court of First Instance .-Competence:...

) on Aruba, a Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie voor de Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba (Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) and the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden
Hoge Raad der Nederlanden
The Supreme Court of the Netherlands is the highest court of the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba. The Court was established on 1 October 1838 and sits in The Hague, Netherlands....

(Supreme Court of Justice of the Netherlands). The Korps Politie Aruba (Aruba Police Force
Aruba Police Force
The Aruba Police Force is the law enforcement agency of the island of Aruba. The force operates under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.-Organization:...

) is the island's law enforcement agency and operates district precincts in Oranjestad, Noord, San Nicolaas, and Santa Cruz, where it is headquartered.

Education


Aruba's educational system is patterned after the Dutch system of education
Education in the Netherlands
Education in the Netherlands is characterized by division: education is orientated toward the needs and background of the pupil. Education is divided over schools for different age groups, some of which are divided in streams for different educational levels...

. There are 68 schools for primary education, 12 schools for secondary education, and 5 universities in Aruba. In 2007, there were 22,930 registered full-time students.

The Government of Aruba 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 region.

Arubans benefit from a strong primary school education. A segmented secondary school program includes vocational training, basic education, college preparation 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 study in the Netherlands, or abroad in countries in North America, South America as well as the rest of Europe.

Aruba is also home to two medical schools: Aureus University School of Medicine and Xavier University School of Medicine.

Geography





Aruba is a generally flat, riverless island in the Leeward Antilles
Leeward Antilles
The Leeward Antilles are a chain of islands in the Caribbean – specifically, the southerly islands of the Lesser Antilles along the southeastern fringe of the Caribbean Sea, just north of the Venezuelan coast of the South American mainland...

 island arc of the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

. Aruba is widely known 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
Hooiberg
Hooiberg is a 168 m high volcanic formation on the island of Aruba. It is located almost in the center of the island and can be seen from virtually anywhere on the island....

 at 165 metres (541 ft) and Mount Jamanota
Mount Jamanota
Mount Jamanota is the highest point on the island of Aruba and is visible from the entire island. Wild goats and donkeys roam free on the mountain. The panorama from its summit includes Frenchman's Pass on the south coast, where Indians defended their island against the French. The area is known...

, the highest on the island at 188 metres (617 ft) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. Oranjestad, the capital, is located at 12°19′N 70°1′W.

To the east of Aruba are Bonaire and Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, two island territories which once formed the southwest part of the Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
The Netherlands Antilles , also referred to informally as the Dutch Antilles, was an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of two groups of islands in the Lesser Antilles: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao , in Leeward Antilles just off the Venezuelan coast; and Sint...

; this group of islands is sometimes called the ABC islands.

Climate



The isothermal temperature of Aruba's tropical marine climate attracts tourists to the island all year round. In the Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

, Aruba features a semi-arid climate (BSh). However Aruba does not get quite as hot as other locations with a BSh climate. Temperature varies little from 28 °C (82.4 °F), moderated by constant trade wind
Trade wind
The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics, within the lower portion of the Earth's atmosphere, in the lower section of the troposphere near the Earth's equator...

s from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. Yearly precipitation barely exceeds 400 mm (15.7 in).

Economy


Aruba enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean region including a low unemployment rate. About three quarters of the Aruban gross national product is earned through tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 or related activities. Most tourists are from Venezuela and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (predominantly from eastern and southern states). 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 was estimated to be $21,800 in 2004; among the highest in the Caribbean and the Americas. Its main trading partners are Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

.

Deficit spending
Deficit spending
Deficit spending is the amount by which a government, private company, or individual's spending exceeds income over a particular period of time, also called simply "deficit," or "budget deficit," the opposite of budget surplus....

 has been a staple in Aruba's history, and modestly high inflation has been present as well. As of 2006, the government's debt had grown to 1.883 billion Aruban florins. Aruba received some development aid
Development aid
Development aid or development cooperation is aid given by governments and other agencies to support the economic, environmental, social and political development of developing countries.It is distinguished...

 from the Dutch government each year through 2009, as part of a deal (signed as "Aruba's Financial Independence") in which the Netherlands gradually reduced its financial help to the island each successive year. The exchange rate of the Aruban florin has remained steady in recent years at 1.79 florins to 1 U.S. dollar.

In 2006 the Aruban government has also changed several tax laws to further reduce the deficit. Direct tax
Direct tax
The term direct tax generally means a tax paid directly to the government by the persons on whom it is imposed.-General meaning:In the general sense, a direct tax is one paid directly to the government by the persons on whom it is imposed...

es have been converted to indirect taxes as proposed by the IMF
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

. A 3% tax has been introduced on sales and services, while income taxes have been lowered and revenue taxes for business reduced by 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%.

Demographics




Aruba is situated in the deep southern part of the Caribbean. Because it has almost no rainfall, Aruba was saved from the plantation system and the economics of the slave trade.

Aruba's population is estimated to be 80% mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 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, leading to a depletion of the Arawak population. 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 ancestors.

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 foreign worker
Foreign worker
A foreign worker is a person who works in a country other than the one of which he or she is a citizen. The term migrant worker as discussed in the migrant worker page is used in a particular UN resolution as a synonym for "foreign worker"...

s to a maximum of 3 years residency on the island.

Demographically, Aruba has felt the impact of its proximity to Venezuela, far more so than neighboring Curaçao and Bonaire. Much of Aruba's families are present by way of Venezuela and there is a seasonal increase of Venezuelans living in second homes.

Regions


For census purposes, Aruba is divided into 8 regions, which have no administrative functions:
Name Area (km²) Population
1991 Census
Population
2000 Census
Population
2010 Census
Noord / Tanki Leendert
Oranjestad West
Oranjestad Oost
Paradera
San Nicolas Noord
San Nicolas Zuid
Santa Cruz
Savaneta
Total Aruba

Cities and towns



The island, with a population of just over 100,000 inhabitants, does not have major cities.
  • Oranjestad
    Oranjestad, Aruba
    Oranjestad is the capital and largest city of Aruba, which is in the Caribbean north of Venezuela. Oranjestad is located on the southern coast near the western end of the island country...

     (33,000 in 2006)
  • Paradera
  • San Nicolas
    San Nicolas, Aruba
    San Nicolaas is southeast of Oranjestad, and is Aruba's second largest city. As of 2008 it has a population of 18,126, most who originate from the British Caribbean. Known as the island's Sunrise Side, San Nicolaas was once a bustling company town, when Lago Oil and Transport operated its oil...

  • Noord
    Noord
    Noord is a town in Aruba . It is part of the Noord/Tanki Leendert administrative unit of Aruba, which has a population of 16,944 as of 2000....

  • Santa Cruz
    Santa Cruz, Aruba
    Santa Cruz is a big town in central Aruba. The town is connected by Highway 7 from west to east and Highway 4 from north to south....

  • Savaneta

Culture



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. According to the Bureau Burgelijke Stand en Bevolkingsregister (BBSB), as of 2005 there are ninety-two different nationalities living on the island. Dutch influence can still be seen, as in the celebration of "Sinterklaas
Sinterklaas
Sinterklaas is a traditional Winter holiday figure still celebrated today in the Low Countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as French Flanders and Artois...

" 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
Koninginnedag
Koninginnedag or Queen's Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 30 April , Koninginnedag is Queen Beatrix's official birthday. Though Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother and...

) is celebrated. 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 "ponche crema" and "ham", and other typical foods and drinks. Millions of dollars worth of fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

 are burnt at midnight on New Year's. On January 25, Betico Croes
Betico Croes
Gilberto François "Betico" Croes was an Aruban political activist who was a proponent of Aruba's separation from the rest of the Netherlands Antilles. This eventually occurred, but Croes lapsed into a coma after an accident on 31 December 1985 and was never conscious to see his accomplishment...

' birthday is celebrated. In June there is the celebration of the "Dia di San Juan", with the song of "Dera Gai". Religion also has its influences; the days of Ascension and Good Friday are also two holidays on the island.

The holiday of Carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

 is also an important one in Aruba, as it is in many Caribbean and Latin American countries, and, like Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras
The terms "Mardi Gras" , "Mardi Gras season", and "Carnival season", in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday...

, 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 Wednesday).

Tourism from the United States has recently increased the visibility of American culture on the island, with such celebrations as Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 and Thanksgiving Day in November.

Language



Language can be seen as an important part of island culture in Aruba. The official languages are Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 and – since 2003 – Papiamento
Papiamento
Papiamento is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean ABC islands, having the official status on the islands of Aruba and Curaçao. The language is also recognized on Bonaire by the Dutch government....

. Papiamento is the predominant language on Aruba. A creole language
Creole language
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, making them have features of natural languages that are normally missing from...

 spoken on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, it incorporates words from other languages including Portuguese, West African languages, Dutch, and Spanish. Like many islands in the region, Spanish is also often spoken. English has historical connections (with the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

) 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 Europe.

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 roots.

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, Bon Dia, 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).

Infrastructure


Aruba's Queen Beatrix International Airport
Queen Beatrix International Airport
Queen Beatrix International Airport , in Oranjestad, Aruba, is an aviation facility. It has flight services to the United States, most countries in the Caribbean, the northern coastal countries of South America, Canada and some parts of Europe, notably the Netherlands...

 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
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, 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
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. Direct flights from Italy started in November 2008.

According to the Aruba Airport Authority, almost 1.7 million travelers used the airport in 2005, of which 61% were Americans.

In 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
United States Department of Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

 (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is the...

 (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 the airport.

Aruba has two ports, Barcadera and Playa, which are located in Oranjestad. The Port of Playa welcomes all the cruise-ship lines, including Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International is a Norwegian and American cruise line brand based in Miami, Florida and owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.. With 42 ships in service under 5 different brands and one more under construction, it controls a 25.6% share of the world cruise market...

, Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines is a British-American owned cruise line, based in Doral, Florida, a suburb of Miami in the United States. Originally an independent company founded in 1972 by Ted Arison, the company is now one of eleven cruise ship brands owned and operated by Carnival Corporation & plc...

, NCL
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line is a company operating cruise ships, headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida. It began operations in 1966 under the name Norwegian Caribbean Line. The company is best known for its Freestyle Cruising concept, which means that there are no set times or...

, Holland America Line
Holland America Line
The Holland America Line is a cruise shipping company. It was founded in 1873 as the Netherlands-America Steamship Company , a shipping and passenger line. Headquartered in Rotterdam and providing service to the Americas, it became known as Holland America Line...

, Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line is an American cruise line company owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a division of The Walt Disney Company and is headquartered in Celebration, Florida. The business is run by President Karl Holz. Disney Cruise Line operates the Disney Cruise Line Terminal,...

 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 seaports.

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.

Aruba also counts two telecommunications providers, Setar the government based company and Digicel
Digicel
Digicel is a mobile phone network provider covering parts of Oceania, Central America, and the Caribbean regions. The company is owned by Irishman Denis O'Brien, is incorporated in Bermuda, and based in Jamaica. It provides mobile services in 26 countries and territories throughout the Caribbean...

 Irish ownership company based in Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbour protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island...

. Setar is the provider of services such as Internet, video conference, GSM wireless tech and land lines and offer the latest in telecom services, Digicel
Digicel
Digicel is a mobile phone network provider covering parts of Oceania, Central America, and the Caribbean regions. The company is owned by Irishman Denis O'Brien, is incorporated in Bermuda, and based in Jamaica. It provides mobile services in 26 countries and territories throughout the Caribbean...

 is the Setar competitor in wireless technology using the GSM platform.

Utilities on the island


Water-en Energiebedrijf (W.E.B.) Aruba NV produces potable industrial water, at the world's third largest desalination plant. Average daily consumption in is about 37,000 metric tons.

Places of interest


* Collapsed September 2, 2005

Notable Arubans


  • Dave Benton
    Dave Benton
    Dave Benton is a pop musician and 2001 winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.Benton was born on the Caribbean island of Aruba in 1951 and in his 20s moved to the United States...

    , musician who won the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest representing Estonia
    Estonia
    Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

  • Juan Chabaya Lampe, Composer of Aruba's national anthem
  • Henny Eman
    Henny Eman
    Jan Hendrik Albert "Henny" Eman was the first Prime Minister of Aruba from 1 January 1986 to 9 February 1989 and again from 29 July 1994 to 30 October 2001.- Introduction :thumb|left| Memorial stone at Leiden cafe "Het Keizertje"...

    , politician
  • Albert (Shon A) Eman, politician
  • Juan Enrique Yrausquin, politician
  • Betico Croes
    Betico Croes
    Gilberto François "Betico" Croes was an Aruban political activist who was a proponent of Aruba's separation from the rest of the Netherlands Antilles. This eventually occurred, but Croes lapsed into a coma after an accident on 31 December 1985 and was never conscious to see his accomplishment...

    , politician
  • Mike Eman
    Mike Eman
    Michiel Godfried "Mike" Eman is an Aruban politician who is the 5th Prime Minister of Aruba and the current leader of the Aruban People's Party , which holds the new majority in the Aruban Estates as a result of the seventh Aruban General Elections held on 25 September 2009...

    , current Prime-Minister Cabinet Mike Eman 1
  • Bobby Farrell
    Bobby Farrell
    Roberto "Bobby" Alfonso Farrell was an Aruban dancer and performer, best known as the male member of the successful 1970s pop and disco group Boney M.-Early years:...

    , musician (group Boney M.)
  • Percy Irausquin
    Percy Irausquin
    Joseph Gregory Percy Irausquin was an Aruban-born Dutch fashion designer and couturier based in Amsterdam...

    , fashion designer
  • Jim Jones
    Jim Jones (rapper)
    Joseph Guillermo Jones II , better known by his stage name Jim Jones, is an American rapper and original member of The Diplomats, also known as Dipset. He is Co-CEO of Diplomat Records...

    , American hip-hop artist
  • Gene Kingsale, former MLB player
  • Calvin Maduro
    Calvin Maduro
    Calvin Gregory Maduro is a retired professional baseball player. He played 5 years in Major League Baseball between and . He is currently a scout for the Baltimore Orioles.- Playing career :...

    , former MLB player
  • Roger Peterson
    Roger Peterson (musician)
    Roger Francis Peterson is an Aruban-Dutch musician. He is known as the lead vocalist for the former rock band Intwine, which disbanded in October 2010. He also was a competitor on the first season of Dutch talent show Idols....

    , musician
  • Pete Philly, Dutch hip-hop artist
  • Sidney Ponson
    Sidney Ponson
    Sidney Alton Ponson is a Major League pitcher who is currently a free agent. According to the Atlantic League website Ponson was placed on the "Retired" list as of June 18, 2010. Ponson stands at 6'1" tall and weighs 260 pounds. He throws right-handed...

    , former MLB player currently a free agent


See also


  • Caribbean Sea
    Caribbean Sea
    The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....


  • Kingdom of the Netherlands
    Kingdom of the Netherlands
    The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

  • Leeward Antilles
    Leeward Antilles
    The Leeward Antilles are a chain of islands in the Caribbean – specifically, the southerly islands of the Lesser Antilles along the southeastern fringe of the Caribbean Sea, just north of the Venezuelan coast of the South American mainland...

  • List of Arubans

External links