Info & Resources

Aruba

Written by Staff Writer

Country Overview:
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 in 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.

Location:
Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates:
12 30 N, 69 58 W

Area:
Total: 193 sq km, land: 193 sq km, water: 0 sq km

Area – Comparative:
Slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
68.5 km

Climate:
Tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain:
Flat with a few hills; scant vegetation

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

Highest Point:
Highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m

Natural Resources:
NEGL; white sandy beaches

Population:
101,541
Nationality:
Noun: Aruban(s)

Nationality:
Adjective: Aruban; Dutch

Ethnic groups:
Mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%, other 20%

Religions:
Roman Catholic 80.8%, Protestant 9%, other (includes Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish) 5.6%, none or unspecified 4.6%

Languages:
Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 66.3%, Spanish 12.6%, English (widely spoken) 7.7%, Dutch (official) 5.8%, other 2.2%, unspecified or unknown 5.3% (2000 census)

Country Name: Aruba

Government Type:
Parliamentary democracy

Capital Name:
Oranjestad

Independence:
None (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

National Holiday:
Flag Day, 18 March (1976)

Constitution:
1 January 1986

Legal System:
Based on Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influence

Executive Branch:
Chief of State: Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980); represented by Governor General Fredis REFUNJOL (since 11 May 2004)

Head of Government:
Prime Minister Nelson O. ODUBER (since 30 October 2001)

Cabinet:
The monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for four-year terms; election last held in 2005 (next to be held by 2009)

Elections:
Nelson O. ODUBER elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote – N/A.

About the author

Staff Writer