Aruba is an island in the Caribbean Sea, just a short distance north of the Venezuelan Paraguaná Peninsula, and it forms a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, it has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism, because visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather.
The island broke off from the
Netherlands Antilles in 1986, hoping to gain its independence by 1996. In 1990, that effort stopped at the request of the island people.
Aruba is one of the four countries that form the
Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other nations are the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The citizens of these countries all share a single nationality: Dutch.
About three quarters of the Aruban
gross national product is earned through tourism or related activities. 
The island came into the news after U.S.
high school student Natalee Holloway disappeared on a graduation trip on May 30, 2005.
Aruba is a generally flat, riverless island. It is in the southern part of the
Caribbean Sea. The western and southern beaches have white sandy beaches. They are generally protected from the ocean currents. This is one of the reasons Aruba is a popular tourist location.
Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms a group referred to as the ABC islands. Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.
Aruba has no administrative subdivisions. For
census purposes, it is divided into eight regions. Its capital is Oranjestad.