The Caiqueto’s were the first residents of Aruba. In 1634, a colony of Europeans settled down to settle on horse breeding, which was the only activity deemed economically viable in an archipelago declared unusable by the Spaniards. The Caiqueto’s were exploited as slaves and sold by the Spaniards, who called the island “Española”.
After the end of the peace after the Thirty Years’ War (1648), the Netherlands ” Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao ” were “granted”. Quite a bit of labor was needed to keep the cattle breeding even in Aruba, which explains why it was recorded that only 12% of the population was of African descent when abolishing slavery.
At the beginning of this century, the establishment of large refineries led to greater immigration of specialized labor, mainly from the United States, and also led to higher wages, which in turn led to conflicts between Aruba and Curaçao.
In 1971, the Aruban People’s Party, which had been led by nationalist, anti-Dutch and anti-Curaçao Prime Minister Henny Eman, split, forming the Aruba Patriotic Party, which opposes the Aruban detachment, and the People’s Movement, which represents the radical sector, led by Gilberto “Betico” Croes, who are in favor of the individual islands’ free opportunities to introduce their own constitutions, including declaring themselves independent.
In 1979, the Antiyas Nobo Movement, which had supporters on all the islands, obtained absolute majority in Curacao and in a coalition with the People’s Movement and Bonaire Patriotic Union, formed the first center-left government in the history of the islands. The Antiyas Nobo Movement proposed a federation, but widespread self-government for the individual island, while the People’s Choice Movement insisted on a complete detachment for Aruba. The discrepancies led to the dissolution of the government coalition in 1981.
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In 1983, the Netherlands agreed to grant Aruba a special status, valid from 1986, according to which the Dutch throne appoints a governor and that the island receives its own flag. Parliament, which is part of a 21-room one-room system, is elected by the Aruban. In the 1985 elections, the People’s Election Movement won eight seats, while the Aruba People’s Party 7, which through an alliance with 3 smaller parties sitting on the remaining 6 seats, formed government with Eman as prime minister. Croes passed away on death in 1986, in an unresolved accident.
In the 1989 elections, the People’s Movement gained 10 seats, the Aruba People’s Party 8, while the 3 smaller parties in government cooperation got one seat each. The Prime Minister, Nelson Oduber, is advocating a continued association with the Netherlands.
Aruba’s economy has “back cover” via Dutch loans. Rum and tobacco are exported, but 98.9% of exports come from the refining of Venezuelan oil. The owner of the refinery, Exxon, withdrew from the country in 1985, leaving the island in a financial morass. With an unemployment rate of 20%, the government was forced to focus on tourism, which from that point on has contributed 35% of the gross domestic product. In the years that followed, efforts were made to reduce tourism dependency and to launch industrial promotion projects.
In 1986, Aruba disengaged from the Netherlands Antilles as the first step to what would result in final independence in 1996. The Netherlands annulled this decision in 1990.
During 1990, hotel capacity in Aruba doubled and the oil refinery reopened in 1990-1991. Unemployment was reduced to 0.6% in 1992. Nevertheless, the economic crisis brought many of the international companies employed in the tourism sector to the brink of bankruptcy. The People’s Choice Movement reiterated its victory in the 1994 elections and introduced an economic program aimed at providing more varied revenue.
In September 1997, the parliament was dissolved due to disagreements between two of the largest parties in the government coalition, but the December elections have not significantly distorted the balance between the parties in parliament.
In November 1999, Hurricane Lenny struck the island, causing widespread devastation. Alone at the port of Aruba there were damages for US $ 500,000.
The September 28, 2001 election was won by the People’s Election Movement, and for the first time since 1980, a single party gained absolute majority in parliament with 12 out of 21 seats, and its leader Nelson Oduber was named prime minister.
In early 2002, the OECD declared that Aruba would remain on the organization’s black list of countries involved in money laundering.
Acc. UN statistics from 2002 make up 30% of women in Aruba. It is one of the highest indices in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In order to promote the flow of tourism from Europe, the government decided in 2003 that in future the euro would be accepted as a means of payment. The government used the divi divi tree as a symbol of the country in its attempt to increase tourist flow. It was used on posters, postcards and in advertisements. In April 2006, the Ministry of Transport and Tourism announced investments totaling DKK 274 million. US $ in the tourism industry. Still, in September, Aruba’s central bank announced that the flow of tourists had fallen 10% in the first 7 months of the year.
Obesity has become a serious threat to the health of Aruba citizens. In 2007, 73% of the population was obese. 41% of children aged 6-11 were overweight.
Aruba’s People’s Party (AVP) won the parliamentary elections in September 2009, and in October its chairman, Mike Eman, assumed the post of prime minister. AVP won again in 2013 and got 13 out of 21 seats.
In October 2016, the Netherlands appointed Alfonso Boekhoudt to the post of Governor of Aruba. It triggered a political crisis between the Netherlands and Aruba that did not mean the correct procedure had been followed, and Parliament subsequently expressed distrust of Boekhoudt. The crisis was resolved after a few weeks and Boekhoudt was placed on the post in January 2017.