The island nation of Aruba rests roughly 12 degrees north of the equator and 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela in the south Caribbean. The island occupies 75 square miles. It has an estimated population of 101,000, with the capital of Oranjestad situated along the northwestern coast. .
Along with the Netherlands, Curacao and Saint Maarten, Aruba belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands first claimed the island in 1636, and again in 1816 after a brief British rule. While defense and foreign affairs are controlled by the Kingdom, all internal affairs are handled by an island government.