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 symbols on the flag consist of a red star and two yellow stripes. The red star represents the four points of the compass, with the island having drawn people from around the world. The star also represents the island itself, surrounded by the beautiful blue sea. The horizontal yellow stripes denote the free and separate position Aruba enjoys in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
We celebrate all that the flag and anthem have come to signify with the national holiday of Flag and Anthem Day each March 18, the same day that in 1948, Holland accepted Aruba’s right to autonomous status in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
During the beginning of the Ceramic period (1000-1515 AD), five large Indian villages were founded on the best agricultural soil, producing corn and yucca. Indians buried their dead ceremoniously in different ways, indicating a hierarchical socio-political system. They made coarse pottery as well as finer well-crafted pieces.
In 1513, the entire Indian population was enslaved and taken to work on the Spanish estates in Hispaniola, now the Dominican Republic and Haiti. At the beginning of the Indian Historic Period in 1515, some Indians returned while others arrived from the mainland and lived in small villages in the northern part of the island.
With the return of the Spanish, the Indians were recruited as laborers for cattle and horse breeding. From the 17th century on, the majority of Indians migrated from the South American mainland. Indian preachers were Aruba’s Catholic spiritual leaders well into the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Indians made up about one-third of the island’s 1700 inhabitants, but in 1862, historians believe that Aruba’s last Indian died.