The history of Aruba in the Caribbean sea near the coast of South-America is very interesting







Aruba, former part of The Netherlands Antilles and it's history

We don't know very much about the original inhabitants of Aruba.The history of Aruba doesn't tell much about this Caribbean island close to the main land of South-America. From archaeological discoveries on this former part of The Netherlands Antilles we know that the island had been inhabited for hundreds of years before the discovering by the Spaniards (pre Comumbian era).The original inhabitants of Aruba were Arrowaks, who came from the mainland of South America just crossing a few miles of the Caribbean sea to Aruba.Archaeologist discovered that the island Indians had the same culture as the inhabitants from South America. Further proof for this hypothesis of South-American origin are the cave and rock paintings found on different locations, especially at the entrances of caves.





Furthermore, the dead were buried in large pots like in the Amazon.In the 14th century the Caribs conquered, driven away themselves by South American tribes, Aruba. The Indians still lived in the Stone Age, in small and simple adobe huts when the Europeans came to this part of the world.They lived from fishing and vegetable food.The Spaniards called the islands, Aruba among others, "Islas de los Gigantes" Island of the giants because the Indian population were at least 8 inches taller than they were.In the year 1513 the Spaniards migrated the whole population of Aruba to the Domincan Republic to work as slaves in the copper mines.The island of Aruba was left uninhabited, but gradually people from the mainland came to the island to stay.Later the Spaniards came to live on the island too and the Indians were working as servants.

The Dutch were a very enterprising and sailed all the oceans and seas and of course the Caribbean Sea.With growing interests in South America they needed a strong strategic basis in the Caribbean. In 1634 the Dutch conquered Curacao and used the island as a basis to attack the Spanish fleet during the war that lasted for eighty years. In 1436 the Dutch conquered Aruba and Bonaire to prevent attacks from these islands.They now beacame The Netherlands Antilles.



The West Indian Company developed these islands into agricultural colonies.In Aruba they started breeding horses and especially goats.Because of the large amount of goats the island was also known as "Goat island".Because of the lack of African slaves, The Arubians kept their Indian characteristics more than on the other islands.African slaves came to the island after 1770 and on a very limited scale.The many wars between the Dutch and the English had their consequences for Aruba.In 1806 the English invaded the island until 1816 when they gave it back to the Dutch.In 1824 gold was found and phosphate in 1859.Hundred years later gold mining was stopped and later the mining of phosphate.

The most radical event in the modern history Of Aruba was the Lago Oil and Transport Company coming to the island.The establishment of this refinery brought many changes on the island and for its people. There were not enough laborers on the island, so people from other English speaking islands crowded the island.The cocequence was that it became very interesting for other companies and financial institutions.The standard of living sky rocketed which was unknown for such a small island.During WW 2 Lago was a major supplier of fuel for the Allies (they helped to win the war !!!!!).The refinery however was forced to close down in 1986.



In 1951 Aruba and the other Dutch Antilles became more independent from Holland.In the 70's a movement was formed which wanted Aruba to separate from the other islands.This wish was honored in 1983 and became known as 'De Status Aparte" which simply means "Separate Status".This was supposed to lead to a total independence in 1996.Aruba decided in 1991 not to become totally independent.



Where does the name Aruba comes from?Historians till today don't know.

Some theories are:

A combination of oro and ouboa which stand for shell and island the "Shell Island".

The Guarani Indians called the island Oirubae which means companion.Aruba was supposed to be the companion of the larger Curacao.

From the Spanish words "oro hubo","Once there was gold"

From the bay in the lake Maracaibo in Venezuela called "Ouruba"The Indians who lived there were from the same tribe as those living in Aruba.

From the word "Uru" which means canoe. Aruba was the canoe island because the Indians could only reach it by canoe.

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