Aruba: Country and Foreign Investment
History, Population, Language and Culture
This page was last updated on 19 Feb 2019.
The island of Aruba was discovered in 1499 by the Spanish, who soon transported the peaceful native inhabitants, a tribe of Arawak Indians to nearby Hispaniola. In 1642 Aruba fell to the Dutch. The English took Aruba briefly in 1805 but Dutch rule was restored in 1816. Aruba then became part of the Netherlands Antilles, remaining so until 1986, when, reacting to Curaçaoan domination, the island left, becoming a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in its own right.
The population of Aruba is approximately 105,900 people (2019 est). About 75% of the population is mixed black, European and indigenous and a further 15% is black. In terms of nationality, about two-thirds are ethnic Arubans, 9% are Colombian, 4% Dutch and Dominican and 3% Venezuelan.
There are two official languages. More than two-thirds of the population speak Papiamento, an Afro-Portuguese creole with Spanish influence. Dutch, though it has fewer speakers, remains the sole language used for official purposes. Most Arubans are also fluent in Spanish and English. About 80% of the population is Christian, the vast majority of which are Roman Catholic.