Antillean Creole, Papiamentu in Aruba

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Fragments and cave paintings found on the island are widely considered remnants of the island's earliest inhabitants, the Arawak Caquetios Indians from South America, and date as far back as 1000 A.D. The Europeans arrived in 1499, when Spanish explorers found the island. The Spanish then controlled Aruba until the Dutch took over in 1636 and made the island, along with its neighbors Bonaire and Curacao, part of the Netherlands Antilles. Since then, with the exception of a brief period of English possession in 1805, Aruba has remained under Dutch control. (1)

Early on, Aruba became a ranch economy with horse and cattle production supporting crops of mango, millet, coconut, and aloe. In 1824, the discovery of gold set off a short-lived gold rush, which was soon exhausted and later followed by the rise of the Aruban aloe industry. In the 1920s, Standard Oil built a refinery near the town of San Nicolas and became the island's largest employer. This new industry attracted an influx of immigrants from North America, Europe and the rest of the Caribbean, creating a diverse cultural mix. Soon, English was widely spoken, and it remains so today, although Aruba's official languages are Dutch and Papiamento. (1)

Papiamento, the local Afro-Portuguese Creole language, is only spoken in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and dates back some 300 years. Papiamento began as a simple pidgin language and evolved upon an African linguistic structure with a vocabulary made up mostly of variations on Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch words. (1)

What Are Their Lives Like?

Although the first cruise ship arrived in Aruba in 1957, the tourism industry began to develop in earnest at the end of the 20th century and is now the island's primary economy. Today, approximately 100,000 people live on Aruba, an island roughly the size of Washington, DC. The official currency is the Aruban gilder, but US dollars are widely accepted. (1)

Through local foods, architecture, celebrations, and languages one can immediately see the different influences the past settlers had on the island. Today, the Dutch have the most influence upon Aruban society. The Dutch language is the official tongue of the Aruban people and Dutch law is practiced there. Aruba continues to have close ties to the Netherlands.

Aruba began competing in the Summer Olympic Games in 1988. Soccer is popular there also. The arts and music are represented in Aruba and have been doubtlessly influenced by the number and frequency of travelers to the island. The Aruban economy is largely dependent upon tourism and tourism related activities.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Many Arubans whose origins began in Africa and others, who have taken these practices upon themselves from their influence, are involved in numerous religious traditions. Plethoras of rituals are practiced in many aspects of their lives. Some of the rituals are rooted in occult beliefs but others are not clearly linked to a religion.

Fortune telling and gambling are extremely popular in the daily lives of indigenous Arubans. Many rituals govern the 'proper' practice of these vices.

Christianity is practiced in Aruba along with many other religions including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and traditional religions.

What Are Their Needs?

Like any nation, Aruba needs clear, accurate, and consistent presentation of the Bible for evangelism and instruction. Combating the depth and concentration of ritualism and folk beliefs in the local culture will be an on-going struggle for any group seeking the spread God's good news.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Antillean Creole, Papiamentu in Aruba.

* Pray that God will be active in revealing Himself to the Aruban people as well as throughout the world.
* Pray that workers will be sent to this field of opportunity.


(1) Information used by permission of

Profile Source:   Wallace Revels  

People Name General Antillean Creole, Papiamentu
People Name in Country Antillean Creole, Papiamentu
Population this Country 85,000
Population all Countries 289,000
Total Countries 5
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 4
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 5  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names
People ID 10350
ROP3 Code 100390

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Primary Language Papiamentu (85,000 speakers)
Language Code pap   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Papiamentu (85,000 speakers)
Language Code pap   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Papiamentu

Primary Language:  Papiamentu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1884-1987)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1916)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1996-2017)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (Global Recordings Network)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (Faith Comes By Hearing)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Papiamentu
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
General Gospel resources links (Scripture Earth)
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download audio Bible app from Google Play Store
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Papiamentu Bible 2013
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Papiamentu Bible with DC 2013
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations
Text / Printed Matter World Missionary Press Booklets
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Roman Catholic
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 9.93 %)
98.70 %
Ethnic Religions
1.12 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.18 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
3.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
5.5 %
4.8 %
Roman Catholic
86.7 %
Photo Source A. Robles de Medina 
Profile Source Wallace Revels  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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