- In 1648, by the treaty of Westphalia, Holland took control of the Caribbean island of Aruba from Spain, which was grouped with the nearby islands of Curacao and Bonaire to form the Netherlands Antilles. Raising horses and cattle became the dominant industry, rather than plantation agriculture, and the need for slave labor never developed as it did elsewhere in the region. People of African heritage constitute some 12 percent of the island's population. It separated from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986, but remains a Dutch dependency.Erom its pre-Dutch days, a majority of the islands residents (over 80 percent currently) have been Roman Catholic. The Dutch introduced the Reformed Church, which is still the largest Protestant body, and the United Protestant Church of Aruba (having absorbed the small Lutheran movement that also came to the island from Holland).A spectrum of Protestant and Eree Church groups arrived in the 20th century, mostly after World War II. Of these groups, the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Assemblies of God (a Pentecostal body) are the only groups to attract as many as 1,000 members.See also Caribbean.Further reading:■ David Barrett, The Encyclopedia of World Christianity, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)■ Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World, 21st Century Edition (Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K.: Paternoster, 2001).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.