Aruba profile

A chronology of key events:

1499 - Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda discovers the island and claims it for Spain.

1636 - Aruba is colonised by the Dutch and forms part of the Dutch West India Company.

1816 - Island is returned to the Netherlands after coming under British rule during the Napoleonic Wars.

1929 - Oil refinery is established at San Nicolaas.

1954 - Aruba becomes part of the autonomous federation of the Netherlands Antilles.

1971 - People's Electoral Movement party (MEP) is founded and begins its campaign for independence and separation from the Netherlands Antilles federation.

1977 - March - Referendum: 82% of voters support independence and withdrawal from the Antillean federation.

1983 - Dutch and Netherlands Antilles governments agree that Aruba should receive separate status from 1986, aiming for independence by 1996.

1986 - 1 January - Island obtains autonomous status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

1991 - Oil refining resumes.

1994 - At a convention in The Hague, the governments of Aruba, the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles postpone indefinitely Aruba's transition to full independence.

1996 - Aruba is included on US list of major drug-producing or transit countries.

2000 - Aruba is named as one of 35 "non-cooperative tax havens" by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is later removed from the list having promised greater openness.

2003 - Aruba, US agree to exchange tax data to help combat money-laundering.

2009 October - Mike Eman becomes prime minister after his Aruba People's Party wins a parliamentary majority, ousting the People's Electoral Movement government of Nelson Orlando Oduber.

2013 October - Mr Eman starts his second term as premier.

2014 July - Aruba detains and then releases top Venezuelan official Gen Hugo Carvajal, wanted by the US on charges of assisting Colombian Farc rebels in their drug trafficking activities.

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