Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao: History, Culture & Economy

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Aruba (pronounced /əˈruːbə/ ə-ROO-bə) is a 33-kilometre (21 mi)-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southernCaribbean Sea, located 27 kilometres (17 mi) north of the coast of Venezuela. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles, the southern island chain of theLesser Antilles.

Aruba, which has no administrative subdivisions, is one of the three countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles. Aruban citizens hold Dutch passports. Unlike much of the Caribbean 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 square kilometres (75 sq mi) and is densely populated with its estimated 103,000 people. It lies outside the hurricane belt.

The Island Territory of Bonaire (pronounced /bɒˈnɛər/; Dutch: Eilandgebied Bonaire, Papiamento: Teritorio Insular di Boneiru) is one of five island territories (Eilandgebieden) of the Netherlands Antilles, consisting of the main island of Bonaire and, nestled in its western crescent, the uninhabited islet of Klein Bonaire.

As part of the Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire is also a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The structure of the relationship between Bonaire, the Netherlands Antilles and the Kingdom is planned for change under proposed legislation. The Netherlands Antilles is scheduled to be dissolved as a unified political entity on 10 October 2010, so that the five constituent islands would attain new constitutional statuses: Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become special municipalities of the Netherlands, while the islands of Curaçao and Sint Maarten will become independent states within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Curaçao (pronounced /ˈkjʊərəsaʊ/; Dutch: Curaçao, Papiamentu: Kòrsou) is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Island Territory of Curaçao (Dutch: Eilandgebied Curaçao, Papiamentu: Teritorio Insular di Kòrsou), which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao(“Little Curaçao”), is one of five island territories of the Netherlands Antilles, and as such, is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its capital is Willemstad.

Curaçao is the largest and most populous of the three ABC islands of the Lesser Antilles, specifically the Leeward Antilles. It has a land area of 444 square kilometers (171 square miles). As of 1 January 2009, it had a population of 141,766.

Curaçao has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean, with a GDP per capita of US$ 20,500 (2009 est.) and a well developed infrastructure. The main industries of the island include oil refining, tourism and financial services. Shipping, international trade and other activities related to the port of Willemstad (like the Free Zone) make a contribution to the economy. To achieve the government’s aims to make its economy more diverse, significant efforts are being made to attract more foreign investments. This policy is called the ‘Open Arms’ policy with one of its main features to focus heavily on information technology companies. For its size, the island has a considerably diverse economy which does not rely mostly on tourism alone as is the case on many other Caribbean islands.

Notes from Wikipedia

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