Red Sail Sports

History of Aruba

Aruba's path to the present day is marked by the mystery of ochre-colored rock drawings left behind by island shamans, the enterprising spirit of European adventurers and settlers and the diverse experiences and traditions brought by the many nationalities that have since sought out the island as either a new home or temporary resting place. The look of the people, the languages they speak and the innate hospitality that manifests itself in the Aruban psyche is the result of a multi-cultural mix that reflects a rich past.

The arrival of the Caquetios Indians, of the Arawak tribe, from South America were Aruba's first inhabitants. Fragments of the earliest known Indian settlements date back to about 1000 A.D, as do the ancient painted symbols still visible on limestone caves found at Fontein, Ayo and elsewhere. Pottery remnants and other artifacts can be viewed at the Museum of Archaeology.

Some centuries later, the first European landed on Aruban shores. Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda is thought to have arrived about 1499. The Spanish promptly exported the Indians to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where they were put to work in the copper mines. In 1636, near the culmination of the Eighty Years' War between Spain and Holland, the Dutch took possession of Aruba and remained in control for nearly two centuries. In 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars, the British briefly took possession of the island, but it was returned to Dutch control in 1816. Today, Aruba remains a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but functions independently with its own government apparatus.

Signs of Aruba's past and its burgeoning present can be appreciated during a walk or drive down city streets,with sites including colonial-style houses sitting next to buildings boasting contemporary architectural designs. Take the opportunity to breakfast on a "pastechi" pastry and later dine on a multi-course meal of haute cuisine, or appreciate the mix of natural masterpieces of beach and coastline together with more modern landscapes detailing today's island industries and thriving intellectual pursuits.

Redsails Aruba Resort ruins

Aruba has a rich heritage and history
Photo: Red Sail Sports

Redsails Aruba Resort history

Many historical landmarks to explore
Photo: Red Sail Sports