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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.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form None
Conventional short form Aruba

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

Capital
Name Oranjestad
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)

Independence
None (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

National holiday
Flag Day, 18 March (1976)

Constitution
1 January 1986

Legal system
Civil law system based on the Dutch civil code

Suffrage
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)
Cabinet
Council of Ministers elected by the Staten
Elections
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)
Elections
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
Other 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
Name
"Aruba Deshi Tera" (Aruba Precious Country)
Lyrics/music
Juan Chabaya 'Padu' LAMPE/Rufo Inocencio WEVER
Note
Local anthem adopted 1986; as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, "Het Wilhelmus" is official (see Netherlands)


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  Aruba [ Netherlands ] (Kingdom Of The Netherlands):


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