Aruba is an island in the Caribbean Sea, just a short distance north of the Venezuelan Paraguaná Peninsula , and it forms a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is very dry, with little of the tropical vegetation that many expect in the Caribbean.
|National motto: None|
|Political status||Dependent area of Netherlands|
|Prime Minister||Nelson O. Oduber|
- % water
|Time zone||UTC -4|
|National anthem||Aruba Dushi Tera|
Main article: History of Aruba
Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry.
Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles on January 1, 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.
Main article: Politics of Aruba
Head of state is the ruling monarch of the Netherlands, who is represented in Aruba by a governor, appointed for a six-year term. The head of government is the prime minister who forms, together with the Council of Ministers, the executive branch of the government.
Main article: Geography of Aruba
Aruba is a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches. Its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). The highest point in Aruba is Mount Jamanota, at 188 m above sea level.
As a separate part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the island has no administrative subdivisions. On the east are Curaçao and Bonaire, which form the southwest part of the Netherlands Antilles; the three islands are known collectively as the ABC islands.
The local climate is a pleasant tropical marine clime. Little seasonal temperature variation exists, which helps Aruba to be able to attract tourists all year round.
Main article: Economy of Aruba
About half of the Aruban Gross National Product is earned with tourism or related activities. Most of the tourists are from the Americas, notably the United States which is the country's largest trading partner. Oil processing is the dominant industry in Aruba, despite the expansion of the tourism sector. The size of the agriculture and manufacturing industries remain minimal.
Deficit spending has been a staple in Aruba's history and modestly high inflation has been present as well, although recent efforts at tightening monetary policy may correct this. Aruba receives some development aid from the Dutch government each year. The Aruban guilder has a fixed exchange rate with the United States dollar of 1.78:1.
Aruba had poor soil and aridity. This saved the island from plantation economics and the slave trade. The Dutch left the Arawaks to graze livestock,using 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. No full-blooded Indians remain, but the features of the islanders clearly indicate their genetic heritage. The majority of the population is descended from Arawak, Dutch and Spanish ancestors.
The majority of the population are followers of Christianity, and are mostly Roman Catholic.
Population: 103,000( April 2004 est.)
- 0-14 years: 20.7% (male 7,540; female 7,121)
- 15-64 years: 68.3% (male 23,427; female 24,955)
- 65 years and over: 11% (male 3,215; female 4,586) (2003 est.)
- total: 37.1 years
- male: 35.3 years
- female: 38.5 years (2002)
Population growth rate: 0.55% (2003 est.)
Birth rate: 11.86 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate: 6.38 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
- total: 6.14 deaths/1,000 live births
- female: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
- male: 6.99 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
- total population: 78.83 years
- male: 75.48 years
- female: 82.34 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.79 children born/woman (2003 est.)
adjective: Aruban; Dutch
Main article: Culture of Aruba
The origins of the population and location of the island give Aruba a mixed culture. Dutch influence is can still be seen, even though not much of the population is of Dutch origin. Tourism from the United States has recently also increased the visibility of American culture on the island. Queen Beatrix International Airport, located near Oranjestad, Aruba, currently serves the whole island of Aruba. This airport has access to various cities across the eastern U.S., from Miami, Orlando, Houston, Atlanta to New York. It also connects Aruba with Europe through the Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.
The holiday of Carnival is an important one in Aruba, as it is in many Caribbean and Latin American countries. Carnival is usually held from the beginning of January until the end of February, with a large parade on the final Sunday of the festivities.
- Aruba.com - Official governmental portal
- Library of Congress Portals on the World - Aruba
- CIA - The World Factbook -- Aruba - CIA World Factbook on Aruba
- Aruba Ecards - Images of Aruba
|Countries in West Indies|
Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas | Barbados | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Haiti | Jamaica | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad and Tobago
Dependencies: Anguilla | Aruba | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Guadeloupe | Martinique | Montserrat | Navassa Island | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Turks and Caicos Islands | U.S. Virgin Islands
|Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom)|
|Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas¹ | Barbados | Belize | Dominica | Grenada | Guyana | Haiti | Jamaica | Montserrat | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Suriname | Trinidad and Tobago|
|Associate members: Anguilla | Bermuda | Cayman Islands | British Virgin Islands | Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Observer status: Aruba | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Mexico | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Venezuela|
|¹ member of the community but not the common market|