Aruba: Small Carribean Netherlands
The island of Aruba is located in the Caribbean Sea at a distance of 40 km north of Venezuela. It belongs to the southern branch of the Little Antilla Islands - Leeward Islands. It is 30 km long and 9 km wide, total area is 180 km². Administrative centre of the island is the town of Oranjestad. Aruba is one of the autonomous countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with an internal self-government.
The island is around 106 thousands of inhabitants, most of them are considered to be Aruban. The population of Aruba is developed through a mix of local Indian tribes with the Hispanic and Dutch immigrants to the 19th century the Indians were fully assimilated. Descendants of this mixed population are 80%, others 20%. Around 81% of the population professes the Roman Catholic faith, 7,8% are Protestants, Jehovah´s witnesses fans will make up 1,5% profess other religions around 6%.
The official language is Dutch, but virtually all inhabitants speak English and Spanish. Most people (around 67%) used in everyday life, Papiamento - a mixture of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English and local Indian languages.
Aruba is a separate administrative unit within the Kingdom of the Netherlands with an internal self-government. Questions of foreign policy and defence are the responsibility of the Dutch government. Royal power is represented by the Governor-General who is appointed for a period of 6 years. The inner self is held in the unicameral parliament of 21 deputies. Parliament is elected by direct universal secret ballot based on proportional representation for 4 years. All laws enacted by Parliament must be approved by the Governor-General. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister.
Aruba is one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands and popular tourist destination.
On the southern coast is located Oranjestad, the capital. It is a picturesque city where everywhere can see the influence of Dutch culture. In the Archaeological Museum are set up exhibitions of the history of Arawak´s culture (Indian tribe). The Museo Aruban (Historical Museum), located in the renovated Fort Zoutman (18th century) is a large collection of pre-Columbus and colonial times. Unique Numismatic Museum is famous for its extensive collection of coins from 400 countries, some of which was found on the seabed in the sunken ships.
A rare natural monument is the Natural Bridge, which was created over many centuries on the influence of tide on the rocky northern coast of the island. At present it is a stone arch thirty seven meters high near the beach Andikuri, Aruban favourite place of rest. Nearby is another natural wonder-tank Conchi surrounded by boulders or Cura di Tortuga with sea water.
Beautiful Arikok National Park is located on the northern coast and the mountains of Arikok and Jamanota. On the territory of 34 km² can be seen a plenty of natural and historical landmarks. There are Arawak petroglyphs in a cave Fontein, the Dutch colonial settlements in Masiduri, old plantations in the Prins Valley and the ruins of gold mines in Miralamar. Quadirikiri Caves are located on the edge of the park is famous for two underground halls, which through holes penetrating rays of the sun and creates a game world and shadows. Long winding tunnels more than 30 meters long are home to several thousand bats and according to legend once were the secret base of pirates.
Text: Maxim Kucer
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