Aruba's vistors will be struck by the island's peace and tranquility. The laid-back atmosphere that contributes to vacationers' relaxation and accounts for the island's wide popularity has prevailed throughout Aruba's history.
Aruba is located in the area of the Caribbean Sea known as the West Indies, part of the Lesser Antilles Islands. The island has a total area of 75 square miles, comprised of mainly flat, rugged terrain and little vegetation. In fact, European colonizers barely touched the island, deterred by its desert and unaware of the riches it possessed. Thus, when the Dutch gained control of the island from the Spanish, it was a peaceful takeover. The British also occupied the island for about a decade.
Food..a great indicator of local culture...
The peaceful transfer of hands several times over helped to create an Aruban culture in which one can see the influences of other countries. The official language of Aruba, for example, is Dutch, but many of the over 105 thousand permanent residents also speak English or Spanish. Food, typically a great indicator of local culture, is an infusion of locally caught seafood and international spices and flavors.
Aruba functions as an independent island within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has a government based on western principles, with its own constitution, but a governor appointed by the Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Laws are created by the 21-member parliament which is voted for by the people of the island, and is presided over by a Prime Minister.
In the past, Aruba has struggled through economic hardships, especially after the gold rush and oil boom, but now tourism is the main source of Aruba's income. Many of the island's inhabitants make their living working in the tourism and service industry; running shops, rental businesses, food services, or working in hotels. Visitors who arrive via cruise ships are especially important for the economy, because they are more likely to spend money on souvenirs and sampling food in local restaurants.
Considering everything the island has been through, the Aruban spirit has remained calm, and now offers travelers a warm welcome.
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