Saba

Saba is a small island (13 sq. km) 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 (867 m), the highest point of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

There are 1,300 inhabitants. Its major settlements include The Bottom and Windwardside.

Christopher Columbus is rumored to have sighted Saba on November 13, 1493, but did not land. Saba 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 posession 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 latter 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 - there she learned the craft. The lacework spread through the island. Ladies would copy addresses of businesses from 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, called simply "The Road". Its construction was masterminded by Lambert Hassell, who learned civil engineering from a correspondence course. It was completed entirely by hand in 1958. It is a daunting drive, and the curves in Windwardside are extremely difficult.

The island of Saba is known today for tourism and outstanding SCUBA diving. There are very little anchorages, and a small airport with service from Saint Martin. There is also a ferry departing from Saint Martin.

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

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