Geographic and Governmental Profile of Aruba

Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.
Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates
12 30 N, 69 58 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Central America and the Caribbean
180 sq km
180 sq km
0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than Washington, DC
Land boundaries
0 km
68.5 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation
flat with a few hills; scant vegetation
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point:
Ceru Jamanota 188 m
Natural resources
NEGL; white sandy beaches
Land use
arable land:
permanent crops:
89.47% (2005)
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Irrigated land
NA (1998 est.)
Natural hazards
hurricanes; lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened
Environment - current issues
Geography - note
a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
Country name
conventional long form:
conventional short form:
Dependency status
constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Government type
parliamentary democracy
geographic coordinates:
12 31 N, 70 02 W
time difference:
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
National holiday
Flag Day, 18 March (1976)
1 January 1986
Legal system
civil law system based on the Dutch civil code
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980); represented by Governor General Fredis REFUNJOL (since 11 May 2004)
head of government:
Prime Minister Michiel "Mike" Godfried EMAN (since 30 October 2009)
Council of Ministers elected by the Staten
the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for four-year terms; election last held in 2009 (next to be held by 2013)
election results:
Mike EMAN elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA
Legislative branch
unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
last held on 25 September 2009 (next to be held in 2013)
election results:
percent of vote by party - AVP 48%, MEP 35.9%, PDR 5.7%, other 10.4%; seats by party - AVP 12, MEP 8, PDR 1
Judicial branch
Common Court of Justice, Joint High Court of Justice (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders
Aliansa/Aruban Social Movement or MSA [Robert WEVER]; Aruban Liberal Organization or OLA [Glenbert CROES]; Aruban Patriotic Movement or MPA [Monica ARENDS-KOCK]; Aruban Patriotic Party or PPA [Benny NISBET]; Aruban People's Party or AVP [Mike EMAN]; People's Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Nelson O. ODUBER]; Real Democracy or PDR [Andin BIKKER]; RED [Rudy LAMPE]; Workers Political Platform or PTT [Gregorio WOLFF]
Political pressure groups and leaders
environmental groups
International organization participation
Caricom (observer), FATF, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITUC, UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US
none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - Mr. Henry BAARH, Minister Plenipotentiary for Aruba at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Diplomatic representation from the US
the US does not have an embassy in Aruba; the Consul General to Curacao is accredited to Aruba
Flag description
blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner; the star represents Aruba and its red soil and white beaches, its four points the four major languages (Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, English) as well as the four points of a compass, to indicate that its inhabitants come from all over the world; the blue symbolizes Caribbean waters and skies; the stripes represent the island's two main "industries": the flow of tourists to the sun-drenched beaches and the flow of minerals from the earth
National anthem
"Aruba Deshi Tera" (Aruba Precious Country)
Juan Chabaya 'Padu' LAMPE/Rufo Inocencio WEVER
local anthem adopted 1986; as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, "Het Wilhelmus" is official (see Netherlands)
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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