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Historical facts about Ayo

Welcome or welcome back to the second blog in this series. I’ve been learning more about the history of Ayo in the past few months

When I was young, I must have been told stories and facts. Any information other than basic information, such as how old the formations and the rock paintings are, is what I wanted to look for.

Finding information on the local history of Aruba can sometimes be very difficult even if you speak five languages. Not everything is documented and if it is documented that information is not always accessible to everyone, especially when looking online. Just searching around I found the Collection Aruba website, which I had heard things about but never looked at before. On the website, they are uploading collections of documents, images, videos, and sounds online from different partners such as Archivo Nacional Aruba, Biblioteca Nacional Aruba, and a few other partners.

Searching Ayo on the website resulted in very interesting items to look at. Photos, old maps, and old documents related to Ayo were the items I looked at. The first one was the picture that is from 1927 is very interesting to me as it is now almost a hundred years since that photo was taken. Comparing the 1927 image with a postcard with an image of Ayo from 1964 and with my pictures from the late nineties, while there are changes in the surrounding area the boulders are striking as they stay unchanged over the years. While rock formations take millions of years to form, they can withstand a lot over many lifetimes is amazing. There are certain factors that change the landscape over time that are changing that the threat of the effects of global warming. Changes in wind and rain patterns make it more necessary to protect this natural and cultural heritage site.

The second item I looked at for more information was one of the old maps from 1954 showed that at some point prior Ayo was spelled Ajo. The interesting document that is found on the site is from 1959 does spells the location the same as the current way. This document from 1959 is fascinating because it is a folder about making the area into a botanical garden. It was to be an attraction for tourists to visit, as the first luxury hotel was going to be opened soon and the tourism commission at the time wanted to develop the natural attractions on the island. This explains a bit why there are some non-native plants growing on the grounds in Ayo. I have heard stories from residents who have lived in the area from when they were young there were a few fruit-baring trees in Ayo that they used to take care of the location as a community and would come by as children to eat the fruits, but now those have disappeared over the years.

The idea of changing a local landmark in such a large way as becoming a botanical garden is unusual to me, as the trend I learned in my studies is that heritage is to be preserved and protected. Smaller changes to benefit learning about heritage match more with the idea I have in connection to heritage conservation. Learning unexpected information about Ayo was very fascinating such as possible explanations to why there are not native plants growing in that area. There is more to learn about this location and others in Aruba. There are two more blogs after this one coming, please come back to find out more about the project I am a part of.

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