Aruba History

ARUBA

Aruba is the smallest and the most westerly of the “ABC” (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) islands. Just 15 miles (24 km)north of Venezuela, it has an excepitonally dry climate that is considered one of the most desirable in the Caribbean. Aruba’s arid interior, marked by surreal, wind-bent divi-divi trees,sprawling stands of cactus and aloe vera and huge boulders strewn like marbles contrasts sharply with the more tropical palm lined west coast. It is perhaps as much the desert landscape as the active nightlife that gies Aruba the reputation as the Las Vegas of the Caribbean.

HISTORY

assessments of Aruba worth have varied since 1499, when Alonso de Ojeda claimed the island for Spain. Because the Spaniards considered Aruba worthless, the native Arawak Indians were spared the annihilation their kinfolk faced on islands thought more valuable. The Dutch, who hardly considered the island prime real estate, took over in 1636. during the Napoleonic wars the British settled Aruba for a few years but by 1816 the Dutch had returned to stay. Compared with other Caribbean islands, Aruba had a rather quiet history; the island was fought over only twice and suffered few pirate attacks.

 

 

Gold discovered on Aruba in1824 attracted considerable investment but a century later the mine was exhausted. A different sort of gold renewed interest in the island in 1924, when the Lago Oil and Tranport Co. Built a large refinery that brought one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean.

This prosperity was furthered by the development of tourism, which became Aruba’s primary industry when the refinery closed in 1985 (It reopened in 1991). because of the focus on torism and the number of resorts on the island, Arubans enjoy a very low unemployment rate. A moratorium on building new hotels or timeshare resorts contributes to sustainable development and a high standard of living on the island. Arubans are proud of their heritage and are concerned the with the importation of additional workers the island’s local flavor might be lost. Aruba’s location outside the hurricane belt, its near constant 82 F (28 C) temperature, the ever- present trade winds (which, at times, can be quiet gusty) that cool off even the hottest days, its comparatively low humidity and infrequent rainy days combine to make the island a favorite for visitors year-round. Practically all Arubans are fluent in four languages: English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento, the native language of the three ABC islands. A mélange of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, African, English and French, Papiamento is a lilting, melodic language spoken by locals at home and with friends. Arubans, known for their hospitality and their friendly, outgoing nature, treat visitors as important guests and extends a sincere Bon Bini (welcome). This conviviality can be traced to a line from the country’s national anthem:”the greatness of our people is their great cordiality”. Aruba became a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Jan. 1, 1986;prior to that date it was a member of the Netherlands Antilles. The Kingdom of the Netherlands, which includes the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles ( Bonaire, Curacao, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Saba) and Aruba, is responsible for the entire kingdom’s defense and foreign affairs while the government of each country performes autonomously.