Aruba is a 32-kilometre (20 mi)-long
island of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea.
It is in the Realm of Kingdom of the Netherlands. Unlike much of the
Caribbean-American region, Aruba has a dry
climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism
as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm sunny weather. It has a land
area of 193 kmē and lies outside the hurricane belt.
Aruba was colonized by Spain for over a century, and has
been under Dutch administration since 1647. Britain
occupied Aruba from 1799 to 1802,
and from 1805 to 1816. During World War II, its refinery was one of the largest
in the region, and the main supplier of oil to the Allies. Aruba became a
British protectorate from 1940 to 1942 and a US protectorate from 1942 to 1945.
In August 1947, Aruba presented its first "Staatsreglement",
for the status of a completely autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands,
under the authority of the Dutch crown. Aruba gained independence from the
Netherlands Antilles on January 1, 1986, as an autonomous, self-governing
member state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.