A chronology of key events:
1499 - Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda discovers the island and claims it for Spain.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is head of state
- 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.