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About Aruba

Image Aruba is a 33-kilometre (21 mi)-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, 27 km (17 mi) north of the Paraguan? Peninsula, Falc?n State, Venezuela. A country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba has no administrative subdivisions. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm sunny weather. It has a land area of 193 km? (75 sq mi) and lies outside the hurricane belt.



History

Europeans first learned of Aruba when Amerigo Vespucci and Alonso de Ojeda came across it in August 1499. Aruba was colonized by Spain for over a century. The Cacique or Indian Chief in Aruba, Simas, welcomed the first priests in Aruba and received from them a wooden cross as a gift. In 1508, Alonso de Ojeda was appointed as Spain's first Governor of Aruba, as part of "Nueva Andalucia."

Image In 1528, Ampues was replaced by a representative of the "House of Welser". Aruba has been under Dutch administration since 1636, initially under Peter Stuyvesant. Stuyvesant was on a special mission in Aruba in November and December 1642. Under the Dutch W.I.C. administration, as "New Netherland and Cura?ao" from 1648 to 1664 and the Dutch government regulations of 1629, also applied in Aruba. The Dutch administration appointed an Irishman as "Commandeur" in Aruba in 1667.


Britain occupied Aruba from the years 1799 to 1802, and from 1805 to 1816.

In August 1806, General Francisco de Miranda and a group of 200 freedom fighters on their voyage to liberate Venezuela from Spain stayed in Aruba for several weeks.

In 1933 Aruba sent its first petition for Aruba's separate status and autonomy to the Queen.

During World War II, together with Cura?ao the then world-class exporting oil refineries were the main suppliers of refined products to the Allies. Aruba became a British protectorate from 1940 to 1942 and a US protectorate from 1942 to 1945. On February 16, 1942, its oil processing refinery was attacked by a German submarine (U-156) under the command of Werner Hartenstein. Miraculously, the mission failed. The U-156 was later destroyed by a US plane as the crew was sunbathing; only one survived. In March 1944, Eleanor Roosevelt briefly visited American troops stationed in Aruba. In attendance were: His Excellency, Dr. P. Kasteel, the Governor of Cura?ao, and his aide, Lieutenant Ivan Lansberg; Rear Admiral T. E. Chandler and his Aide, Lieutenant W. L. Edgington; Captain Jhr. W. Boreel and his aide, Lieutenant E. O. Holmberg; and the Netherlands aide to Mrs. Roosevelt, Lieutenant Commander v.d. Schatte Olivier.Image

The island's economy has been dominated by five main industries: gold mining, phosphate mining (The Aruba Phosphaat Maatschappij), aloe export, petroleum (The Lago Oil & Transport Company and the Arend Petroleum Maatschappij Shell Co.), and tourism.




Politics

As a Constituent Country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba's politics take place within a framework of a 21-member Parliament and an eight-member Cabinet. The governor of Aruba is appointed for a six-year term by the monarch, and the prime minister and deputy prime minister are elected by the Staten (or "Parlamento") for four-year terms. The Staten is made up of 21 members elected by direct, popular vote to serve a four-year term.

Together, the State of the Netherlands, the State of the Netherlands Antilles, and the State of Aruba form a Commonwealth. As they share the same Dutch citizenship, these three countries still also share the Dutch passport as the Kingdom of the Netherlands passport. As Aruba and the Antilles have small populations, the two countries had to limit immigration. To protect their population, they have the right to control the admission of Netherlands nationals. There is the supervision of the admission and expulsion of Netherlands nationals and the setting of general conditions for the admission and expulsion of aliens.

Law

Legal jurisdiction lies with a Gerecht in Eerste Aanleg (Court of First Instance) on Aruba, a Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie voor de Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba (Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) and the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (Supreme Court of Justice of the Netherlands).

Geography

Aruba is a generally flat, riverless island in the Leeward Antilles island arc of the Lesser Antilles. Aruba is renowned for its white, sandy beaches on the western and southern coasts of the island, relatively sheltered from fierce ocean currents. The northern and eastern coasts, lacking this protection, are considerably more battered by the sea and have been left largely untouched by humans. The interior of the island features some rolling hills, the better two of which are called Hooiberg at 165 meters (541 ft) and Mount Jamanota, the highest on the island at 188 metres (617 ft) above sea level. Oranjestad, the capital, is located at 12?19′N, 70?1′W.

To the east of Aruba are Bonaire and Cura?ao, two island territories which form the southwest part of the Netherlands Antilles; Aruba and these two Netherlands Antilles islands are sometimes called the ABC islands.Image

The isothermal temperature of Aruba's pleasantly tropical marine climate attracts tourists to the island all year round. Temperature varies little from 28 ?C (82 ?F), moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Yearly precipitation barely reaches 500 mm (19.7 in), most of it falling in late autumn.

Most tourist hotels are located on the leeward side of the island, providing better weather and enjoyment of beaches and ocean.


Economy

Aruba enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean region and the lowest crime rate; low poverty and unemployment rates are also positives for Aruba. About half of the Aruban gross national product is earned through tourism or related activities. Most of the tourists are from Venezuela and the United States (predominately from eastern and southern states), Aruba's largest trading partner. Before the "Status Aparte", (a separate completely autonomous country/state within the Kingdom), oil processing was the dominant industry in Aruba despite expansion of the tourism sector. Today, the influence of the oil processing business is minimal. The size of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors also remains minimal.

The G.D.P. per capita for Aruba is calculated to be around $23,800, one of the highest in the Americas.

Deficit spending has been a staple in Aruba's history, and modestly high inflation has been present as well. Recent efforts at tightening monetary policy are correcting this and will have its first balanced budget in 2009. Aruba receives some development aid from the Dutch government each year, which will cease in 2009 as part of a deal (signed as "Aruba's Financial Independence") in which the Netherlands gradually reduces its financial help to the island each successive year. The Aruban florin is pegged to the United States dollar, with a fixed exchange rate where 1.79 Florin equals 1 U.S. dollar.

In 2006 the Aruban government has also changed several tax laws in order to further reduce the deficit. Direct taxes have been converted to indirect taxes as proposed by the IMF. A 3% tax has been introduced on sales and services, while income taxes have been lowered and revenue taxes for business reduced with 20%. The government compensated workers with 3.1% for the effect that the B.B.O. would have on the inflation for 2007. The final effect on the inflation of 2007 was 3.2%

Aruba has the second largest seawater desalinization plant in the world (Saudi Arabia has the largest.)

Infrastructure

Aruba's Queen Beatrix International Airport is located near Oranjestad. This airport has daily flights to various cities across the United States, to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Miami, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Washington DC; New York, and Boston, Massachusetts. It also connects Aruba with Canada and South America, with daily flights to the international airports of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Spain, England and most of Europe through the Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.

According to the Aruba Airport Authority, in 2005 almost 1.7 millions travelers used the airport, of which 61% were Americans.

Utilities on the Island

Electricity is produced by the Water- en Energiebedrijf Aruba (WEB) N.V. The total power generating capacity of the steam turbines amounts to 149 megawatts. There is also a 22 megawatt gas turbine as a backup unit, while a 6.5 MW diesel generator serves as an emergency unit. WEB N.V. produces an average of 60 MW, which together with a contracted supply from the refining company, is sufficient to comply with the average demand of 77 MW.

WEB N.V. delivers electricity to the distribution company N.V. Electriciteit-Maatschappij Aruba (Elmar). Electricity is supplied at a 60-hertz frequency, and at 127 and 220 volts. Consumption of electricity has increased steadily since 1986 from 219,000 MW?h to 759,336 MW?h in 2005.

Water: Potable industrial water is produced from seawater by the Water- en Energiebedrijf Aruba (WEB) N.V., the world's second largest desalination plant. The total installed desalination capacity of the water plant (Multi Stage Flash) units is 42,000 metric tons per day. Average daily consumption in 2005 was about 37,043 metric tons.

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Source: Wikipedia