Aruba’s rich, multicultural past is reflected in our cuisine, architecture, artwork, traditions, and warm, friendly people. What began as a fishing outpost for Amerindians has changed hands between the Spanish and Dutch throughout the centuries, and is now a diverse constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The first known inhabitants of the island of Aruba were the Caiquetio Indians of the Arawak tribe from Venezuela. During the Pre-Ceramic period, 2500 BC - 1000 AD, this seminomadic tribe fished, hunted, and gathered food, depending mostly on the sea for survival. They created tools out of roughly flaked stones and shells, and lived in small family groups in the coastal areas known today as Malmok and Palm Beach. Because of Aruba’s strategic location, the Dutch occupied the island in 1636 in order to protect their salt supply from the South American mainland while also ensuring a naval base in the Caribbean during their Eighty Years’ War with Spain. The Dutch recruited the Caquetio people to build farms and raise cattle for meat that would be sold and shipped to other islands. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British invaded and took control of Aruba, but the Netherlands took it back in 1816. Aruba officially became part of the Netherlands Antilles in 1845.
Today, Aruba remains a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Foreign affairs and national defense for Aruba are still controlled by the Kingdom, but all internal affairs—including laws, policies, and currency—are controlled by the Aruban government. Aruba is a true melting pot, with over 90 nationalities represented in its population of over 110,000 residents. Some of this diversity can be seen in the number of languages that the average Aruban can speak, usually including Dutch, the native language of Papiamento, English, and Spanish. The Aruban people enjoy a healthy economy, and due to the tourism industry and an excellent education system, Aruba enjoys a very low unemployment rate.
Read more: Aruba History