The former possession of the Netherlands, Aruba is located on the westernmost island in the ridge of the Lesser Antilles. It was established as a result of the transformation of the Netherlands' colonies in the Caribbean Sea. The latter wished to maintain their relationships with the former metropolis. In 1954, the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was adopted, according to which parts of it became the Netherlands itself - a state in Western Europe, another part being former colonial possessions referred as “countries”. Among the latter - the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean, which included Aruba. In 1985, Aruba, however, seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and was granted the status of a separate autonomous entity ("country") within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The standard of living in Aruba is one of the highest in the region and comparable to the European one. The main industry is tourism; oil refining also remains a source of revenues.
The Aruban population is a mix of South American Indians, Europeans, and Africans (albeit to a much lesser extent than the rest Antilles). 66.3% of Aruba's population speak Creole in Papiamento, which belongs to Ibero-Roman family. Most Arubans know several languages . Since March 7, 2007, Papiamento in addition to the Dutch has been proclaimed the official language of Aruba.
Aruba is one of the few examples of the former colonies of European powers, whose people and authorities abandoned the previously proclaimed idea of achieving political independence in favour of an autonomous status.