A small island some 29 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is one of the Caribbean's driest islands. Though initially colonized by the Spanish during the conquests of the 16th century, the island would eventually find itself under Dutch control in 1636. Ever since, it has been considered part of the Dutch Caribbean. The remarkably warm and dry climate has helped Aruba develop a large tourism industry - three quarters of Aruba's economy comes from tourism or related activities. The turquoise waters and white sand are typical of an island paradise in the Caribbean, but for many who visit, the guarantee of warm sunny weather year round is the reason to return to Aruba.