75 sq mi (193 sq km)
Population (2008 est.):
Capital and largest city (2003 est.):
GMT-4 (no daylight saving time adjustments)
110 AC (North American standard)
Aruba island is an autonomous part of the Netherlands
, in the Lesser Antilles, 24 km (approx. 15 miles) off the coast of Venezuela
. Oranjestad is the capital and main port. The population is largely of mixed European and indigenous Caribbean descent. Roman Catholics make up more than 80% of the island's population. Dutch is the official language, but many Arubans also speak Papiamento (a Spanish-based creole with Portuguese, Dutch, and English elements) and English. Tourism, oil refining, and offshore banking are the economic mainstays of the island, although Aruba's refinery was closed from 1985 to 1993. Aruba was part of the Netherlands
Antilles until 1986 and is still linked with them economically.
Approximately 90,000 people live in Aruba and speak the official language of Dutch. English and Spanish are also widely spoken. The mother tongue of Aruba, however, is Papiamento.
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