Home arrow Aloe, Gold, phosphate
Aloe, Gold, phosphate

The aloe plant has been grown on Aruba since the mid-1800. The climat and the dry soil are particularly suitable for the aloe culture.  The plant flourishes well here: the Aruban aloe has an aloin content of 22 %, while the content al aloin in the rest of the world is 15% at the most.


In 1725, the first exploration was done to the presence of mineral ores on Curaçao and the `dependent islands of Bonaire and Aruba’. The Amsterdam Chamber, the Head Office of the Dutch West India Company, sent out a certain Paulus Printz to the islands, who was to perform soil research under the title of director-mountain worker. After searching in vain on Curaçao and on Bonaire, he headed to Aruba and searched on the Kristalberg, dug a subterranean passage in Seroe Colorado and sent some barrels of stone and ore as samples to Amsterdam. Only a minimal amount of gold and silver was found in those, so the decision was taken to discontinue the efforts by Printz. After three years of thrudging through the rock-hard Aruban soil, he left Aruba again.


In the 19th century another natural product, besides gold, was found to be fit for exploitation. On Seroe Colorado, at the utmost south-easterly tip of the island, guano was found. This limestone, containing phosphoric acid, originates from bird droppings, in this case sea gulls. There was a broad world market for phosphate that was used as a fertilizer.

The discovery of guano is being credited to J. H. Waters Gravenhorst in 1874, but it seems that in 1859 already an American, S. R. Kimball, who was digging guano on the Aves islands, had applied for a permit for exploitation. If it actually has come to that, remains unknown.


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