Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. Aruba seceeded from the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire and Curacao, the ABC-Islands)in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.
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