Oranjestad is the main capital of Aruba. In the local language, Papiamento, Oranjestad is often referred to simply as “Playa”.
The town was built around Fort Zoutman shortly after it was built in 1796 . At first the town was known as the town on the Bay of Horses (Paardenbaai in Dutch), a place from which horses were raised and exported to neighboring Curaçao.
The city is named after the first King William I of the Netherlands. The name was conferred on the city in 1824 when interest in Aruba increased due to the discovery of (alluvial) gold deposits.
Small portions of the city are formed from a series of man-made expansions of land into the sea. Present-day Renaissance Marketplace (formerly Seaport Marketplace), as well as the adjacent Queen Wilhelmina Park, lies within part of this expansion.