Aruba is as rich in history as it is in good times by the beach. Located 24 kilometers north of Venezuela, Aruba is one of the best Caribbean islands to visit as it offers multicultural past, awe-inspiring hotels, luxurious holiday, pristine beaches with soft, white sand and incredible wind that favors watersports such as kite and windsurfing. Not just that, but this little island’s history is so rich, that it might be worth making a trip to learn just that. An attorney I know who is a Tow Truck Atlanta tries to travel to Aruba every few years or so, he really likes it down there!
The name Aruba is thought to have an Indian or Spanish origin, although it isn’t very clear. The term ORA means ��shell’ and OUBAO means ��island’ in Indian language but at the same time, Oro Hubo means ��there was gold’ in the Spanish language. Hence the uncertainty.
It is believed that the Spanish explorer, Alonso de Ojeda, was exploring Venezuela and its neighboring islands of the Caribbean. In the 15th Century, he was recognized to have discovered Aruba although there is little to no evidence to confirm that statement. Indians were known to have occupied Aruba before the Spaniards discovered it. Indians survived on the island by catching fishes and eating food from natural sources such as fruits from the trees. Once the Spaniards came in, they used Aruba mostly for raising livestocks.
In the 16th Century, The Spaniards banished Indians living on the island to another island called Hispaniola where they were forced to work in copper mines for their survival. When the Dutch conquered the windward island in the 17th century, Aruba was then ruled over by the English.
When the war between the Dutch and the Spaniards ended in 1636, Aruba’s commerce began to grow and that continued for 100 years or so.
The 19th Century brought the great conflict in Venezuela and a lot of refugees were believed to have fled to Aruba and the neighboring Curacao. This is the period when a lot of businesses flourished and Aruba’s economy began to stabilize. For example, gold mining took off once Gold and Phosphate was found in Aruba. This became a promising business around the region. Aruba was also into Aloe cultivation, thanks to its fertile soil and suitable climate that favored its growth thereby furthering the export to eventually making the economy of this island stable. Almost 70% of the world cultivation of Aloe happened in this region. In fact, gold digging continued until the First World War. Soon after, another valuable commodity that skyrocketed trading for Aruba – The oil. One of the world’s largest refineries was set up in Aruba.
This commercial roar made San Nicholas a profit-making hub and the second largest city of the island. Until today, oil for this island is revered as one of the world’s best production. Tourism has also started flourishing in the 1950’s when the first resort was built on the Palm Beach. Thanks to its rich history, right from the discovery to the war in the 19th Century, Aruba is a great tourist attraction and contributes to the growing economy next to its oil.
In 1986, Aruba became a country by itself within the Dutch Kingdom. The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and Papiamentu. Papiamentu is a language that has evolved with an amalgamate of few languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch.
If you are planning a holiday to Aruba to experience this rich history, here’s how you say hello and thank you in Dutch – Hallo and Dank Je.