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A Historical Guide To Aruba

Aug 17, 2007
Aruba is a Caribbean paradise many people have long dreamt of going to. It is a long island, approximately 32 kilometers, found in the Caribbean Sea and north of Venezuela. Aruba has dry climate and a landscape that is cactus strewn. Tourists looking for a sunny and warm weather can enjoy immensely in this lovely place.

Every place has its own history. This history molds the culture of the area making it what it is known today.

How did Aruba begin? Who were its first settlers? To have a better understanding of the islands present situation, one must look at its colorful history.

Aruba got its name from oro huba, which is a Spanish phrase meaning there was gold. But since no gold was found by the Spanish people, they thought that the island has no value at all. Some believers claim that the island got its name from oruba, an Indian word which meant well placed. Another possibility is the word ora and oubao which means shell and island respectively.

Caquetios Indians of the so called Arawak tribe were the first inhabitants of Aruba. That time, the Caribs were attacking these tribes, and so they migrated to Aruba from Venezuela. The island of Aruba is distant from the popular Caribbean islands, and so the island is closely tied with South America. Indian settlers were able to leave significant fragments which dated back to 1,000 A.D discovered in modern times.

In 1499, a Spanish explorer named Alonso de Ojeda arrived on the island and established a European colony. Many of the Caquetios Indians were enslaved to Hispaniola.

The Dutch was able to acquire Aruba in 1636, and was controlled by them for almost two centuries. The Indians remained free, unlike with the Spanish colony. Military personnel maintained the place. During the Napoleonic wars in 1805, the island was briefly controlled by the British people. And by 1816, it was then returned to the Dutch.

The discovery of gold in 1824 improved the life on the island. It was then able to make major exports of dividivi pods, gold, phosphate, and aloe. The operations ceased in 1916 because of the dwindling supplies of gold, and the mining industry soon became unprofitable.

In 1924, a trans-shipment facility for crude oil opened in Aruba which paved way for the islands prosperity; and in 1928, an oil refinery was also opened which was named Lago Oil and Transport Company Limited. This was located on the east side of Aruba island, and on the west was a small refinery named Royal Dutch Shell. In 1985, the refinery closed.

During the 20th centurys last decades, the tourism in Aruba greatly improved. The island has many resorts, and therefore has a small unemployment rate. It even earned the reputation as the Las Vegas in the Caribbean area. In all of West Indies, the island has the most superior standard of living with a very low illiteracy rate.

By the year 1986, Aruba became one of the Kingdom of the Netherlands autonomous member. The residents of the island are a mixture of Europeans, Americans, Far East, and Caribbean.

In 1991, the Coastal Oil Co. re-opened the refinery.

Many of Arubas geographical areas are named after Indian warriors and chiefs, like Turibana, Camacuri, Andicuri, Guadirikiri, and Bushri.

Aruba is among the most admired vacation spots along the Caribbean. Approximately a million tourists visit the island annually. If you are looking for a perfect vacation place, Aruba can offer you all its grandeur.
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