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Country Facts About Aruba for Kids
Aruba is a country located in the Caribbean Sea. It is part of the continent of North America.
Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is located in Europe. Aruba is a parliamentary democracy. People vote for the members of the parliament. The parliament makes the laws. Laws are the rules people have to follow.
The Dutch monarch, currently Queen Beatrix, is the head of state. A monarch is a queen or king. Queen Beatrix is represented by a governor. Aruba’s airport is called Queen Beatrix International Airport. The capital city is Oranjestad.
Aruba has a population of about 106 thousand people. The people are called Arubans. Dutch is the official language of the country but locals often speak a dialect called Papiamento. Papiamento is a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and English. A dialect is a variation or different way of speaking a language. English is also widely spoken.
Most Arubans are of mixed white and Caribbean Amerindian ethnicity. Roman Catholics make up about 80 percent of the population (8 out of 10 people). Protestants make up much of the rest. However, church attendance is low. Most of the population is literate, which means they can read and write.
Way of Life
Extended families are important in Aruba. Related families typically lived close to each other in settlements. However, with increasing urbanization and shortages of land this is becoming less common.
Aruba has an excellent educational system based on the system used in the Netherlands. Children start school at age 4. Schools are taught in Dutch but children in the elementary grades also learn English and Spanish. French or German are taught in later grades.
While Aruba is mainly Roman Catholic, some islanders still maintain a native belief called Brua. Brua is based on beliefs in magic, lucky charms, spirit possession and fortune-telling. A hacido di brua is like a sorcerer, who can use magic to do good or harm.
Every year, Aruba celebrates a two-week festival called Carnival. This includes events like parties, parades, and music. It begins with festivals and parades for children. A Carnival Queen competition is held in Oranjestad. The Grand Carnival Parade features floats, costumes, and Aruban music and dance. The Old Mask Parade and the Burning of King Momo, who represents evil, bring the festivities to an end.
Aruba is in the tropics, an area that runs along the equator between lines that are known as the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The tropics have warmer weather all through the year and a lot of humidity.
Aruba has warm or mild weather all year long. The island only has about 20 inches of rain each year. Rainfall usually occurs between the months of October and January.
Hurricanes rarely hit Aruba because it is south of the path they usually take through the Caribbean.
Aruba is a small country. It is about 20 miles in length and 6 miles in width. It is part of a group of islands known as the Lesser Antilles. The Lesser Antilles are part of a larger group of islands called the Antilles, which are part of a larger group called the West Indies.
The coast consists of sandy beaches, while the interior or middle of the island is like a desert. Aruba has trees called watapana or divi-divi, which are bent toward a southwest direction by constant winds. Aruba is mostly flat with no rivers.
Tourism is the most important part of the economy. About 1.5 million tourists visit the island each year. Most tourists are from the United States. Banking is another important industry.
Only a small amount of Aruban land is used for farming. Fruits and vegetables grown in Aruba are mostly used for domestic consumption but livestock are an important export.
The country exports live animals, animal products, art and machinery. Imports include food, machinery, crude oil and chemicals. Aruba refines crude oil and re-exports it. Refining turns oil into products like gasoline and heating oil.
Aruba’s currency is called the florin.