Population: 106,113 (July 2011 estimate)
Area: 69.4 square miles (180 sq km)
Coastline: 42.5 miles (68.5 km)
Highest Point: Ceru Jamanota at 616 feet (188 m)
Aruba is an island located in the Caribbean Sea about 27 km north of the country of Venezuela. The island is one of the four constituent countries that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands (the others are Curaçao, the Netherlands and Sint Maarten) and as such Aruba's citizens are considered Dutch. The capital and largest city of Aruba is Oranjestad and the island is known for its population density of 1,529 people per square mile or 589.5 people per square kilometer.
History of Aruba
The first people to inhabit Aruba were the Caquetios, a part the Arawak tribe (U.S. Department of State). The first European to arrive on the island was the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. In 1634 the Dutch took over control of the nearby islands of Bonaire and Curacao which weakened Spain's control of the island. As a result shortly thereafter the Dutch also took control of the island of Aruba.
Dutch control of Aruba lasted until the early 1800s when the English took control of the island in 1805. By 1816 however, control of the island returned to the Dutch and throughout the 19th century the island grew considerably as a gold rush took place and in 1924 an oil refinery opened on the island (U.S. Department of State).
Aruba gained some independence in 1986 when it seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and became a self-governing member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A movement for full independence later took place but in 1990 it stopped any attempts at becoming a separate nation from the Netherlands.
Government of Aruba
Today Aruba is considered a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and as such it is a parliamentary democracy but has independence in its internal affairs (CIA World Factbook). Aruba's executive branch of government consists of a chief of state (Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands) and a prime minister as the island's head of government. Its legislative branch is made up of a unicameral Legislature, while its judicial branch consists of the Common Court of Justice and the Joint High Court of Justice.
Economics and Land Use in Aruba
Aruba's economy is very small and tourism is its main industry. According to the CIA World Factbook, over 1.5 million people visit Aruba each year and the majority of them are from the United States. Other industries in Aruba include construction and foreign shipment facilities. Agriculture also plays a very small role in Aruba's economy and the main products are aloe, livestock and fish.
Geography and Climate of Aruba
Aruba is a small island in Caribbean Sea and it is considered a part of the Lesser Antilles, a group of islands that are mainly in the southern Caribbean Sea and along the sea's western border with the Atlantic Ocean. The topography of Aruba is mainly flat and there is very little vegetation. There are also a few small hills on the island and the highest point is Ceru Jamanota at 616 feet (188 m).
The climate of Aruba is tropical marine and as such, the temperatures of the island are similar year-round. For example the average January low temperature for Oranjestad is 76˚F (24.4˚C) and August high temperature is 90˚F (32.2˚C).
To learn more about Aruba, visit the Official Tourism Website of Aruba.
Central Intelligence Agency. (7 July 2011). CIA - The World Factbook - Aruba. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/aa.html
United States Department of State. (11 May 2010). Aruba. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/22491.htm
Wikipedia.org. (16 August 2011). Aruba - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruba