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.
The flourishing of the aloe culture in Aruba was under Commander Jan Helenus Ferguson (1866-1871). That's why the road that leads from down town through the aloe fields was named after him. In the 19th century, an aloe plantation was also constructed in Socotoro; Socotoro has probably been named after the island of Sokotra or Socotora, at the time a British island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Yemen. That island lies on the same degree of longitude as Aruba and aloe is grown there too. The legend says that Alexander the Great, on the recommendation of Aristotle, conquered this island for the aloe that he used to cure the wounds of his soldiers.
On the aloe plantation Mon Plaisir, owned by the Frenchman Louis Bazin, a for its time modern steam driven cooking installation was installed, in the beginning of 1900.
In the 19th century, Aruba was the main supplier of aloin resin that was mainly used for the production of laxatives. The aloin was exported abroad, mainly to New York, but also to Hamburg and to Londen. The resin from the Antilles (called `Curaçao resin’ at the time) was one of the best in the world and more expensive than the other types on the market. Aruba’s share in the export of `Curaçao resin’ was over 90%. In the economy of that time, before the arrival of the oil industry, aloe meant a reasonable source of income, in particular for the small 'cunucero' (farmer). In times of unemployment – de dry season – the aloe culture was a good source of existence.
In the beginning of 1900, the first scientific research is done on the aloe plant. This confirmed clearly the healing effect of aloin on sunburn and other burns.
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