For other uses, see Saba (disambiguation).
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View of Saba from the sea
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Iguana - Booby Hill
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Storm coming - view from Booby Hill

Saba (pronounced "SAY-ba") is a small (13 sq. km) island in the Netherlands Antilles, located at latitude 63.13 degrees West, longitude 17.38 degrees North. It consists largely of the extinct volcano, Mount Scenery (888 m), the highest point of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

There are 1,300 inhabitants. Its current major settlements include The Bottom, Windwardside, Hell's Gate and St. Johns. Despite the island's Dutch affiliation, English is the principal language spoken on the island and has been used in its school system since 1986.

Christopher Columbus is rumored to have sighted Saba on November 13, 1493, but did not land. The island was first colonized in 1640 by the Dutch.

Through the 17th and 18th centuries its major industries were sugar and rum, and later fishing. In 1818 the Dutch took possession of Saba.

The remains of the 1640 settlements can be found on the west side at Tent Bay. Of note in The Bottom are 800 steps carved from stone, to go from Ladder Bay to The Bottom. Everything was carried to the island by hand until the later 20th century.

Saba Lace (also known as "Spanish work") was a major export of Saba. In the 1870s, a young Mary Gertrude Hassell Johnson was sent to a Caracas convent for study - where she learned the craft. The lacework spread through the island. Ladies would copy addresses of businesses off of shipping containers from the United States, and write to the employees. Often they would get orders for the lacework, and it started a considerable cottage industry.

There is one road, simply called "The Road". Its construction was masterminded by Josephus Lambert Hassell who, despite the common opinion of Dutch and Swiss engineers, believed that a road could be built. He took a correspondence course in civil engineering, and started building the road with a crew of locals in 1938. After five years of work the first section of the road, from Fort Bay to The Bottom, was completed. It wasn't until 1947 however, that the first motorvehicle arrived. In 1951 the road to Windwardside and St. Johns was opened, and in 1958 the road was completed.

Driving the road is considered to be a daunting occassion, and the curves in Windwardside are extremely difficult.

The island of Saba is known today for tourism and outstanding scuba diving and hiking. There are few anchorages, and a small airport with service from St. Maarten. There is also ferry service from St. Maarten.

Saba is known as the "Unspoiled Queen". Like the Dutch side of Saint Martin, the island is spotlessly clean.

External links

Template:Maplrde:Saba (Insel) es:Saba eo:Saba fr:Saba nl:Saba pt:Saba tr:Saba


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