Aruba Past and Present: From the Time of the Indians until Today

By Johan Hartog; J. A. Verleun | Go to book overview

NINTH CHAPTER
ARUBA'S DEVELOPMENT

IT TOOK US SOME TROUBLE TO GET THROUGH THE NARROW entrance in the coral-reef off Oranjestad", wrote Van Kol, on visiting Aruba in 1902 on board the comparatively small schooner Van den Brandhof. When on 17th January 1911 the Prinses Juliana for the first time puts into Horses' Bay, it turns out that this ship cannot get alongside the landing-stage constructed some years before for the Christiansted. We have this information from the Lieutenant-Governor's Journal of that day.

In the quarter of a century covered by this chapter in which, however difficult a task it may be, we will attempt to draw a picture of contemporaneous history, Aruba got three up-to-date harbours. The oil companies established themselves here. The Wagemaker-Kwartsz epoch, for which Jan Frederik Quast prepared the way, commenced.

Quast, a self-made man, the son of the Curaoçao government teacher, was first taught at home for lack of any better educational possibilities and only later attended the government school founded in 1885, the present Hendrik School. He became a humble clerk in a merchant's office. Few could have expected that he was in times to come to confer with world-concerns as Aruba's first magistrate.

Wagemaker was a government official trained in the Netherlands who gained experience in the Dutch East Indies.

Kwartsz, a native of Aruba, led the emancipation of the island of his birth, and steered it towards the independence made possible by the Island Regulation (Chapter X).

Lieutenant-Governor Quast assumed office as Aruba's highest official on 23rd November 1920, a little before the period dealt with in this chapter. Jan Frederik ("Frits") Quast was born on Curaçao at San Fuego on 13th November 1875, that is at the spot where now part of St. Elisabeth Hospital stands. In May 1895 he entered the service of the government as an 'employee', a rank equivalent to the present one of clerk. He passed through all ranks, holding among other functions the post of collector of Aruba from 1906 to 1910, and when engaged as a chief clerk at the Cura-

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