Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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 major settlements include The Bottom and Windwardside. Despite the island's Dutch affiliation, English is the principal language spoken on the island and is now used in its school system.
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 Josephus Lambert Hassell who, despite the common opinion of Dutch and Swiss engineers, believed that a road coul 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 however until 1947 that the first motorvehicle arrived. In 1951 the road to Windwardside and St. Johns was opened, and in 1958 the road was completed entirely.
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. 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.
- Official site of the Island Government
- Official Tourism Site
- Lonely Planet on Saba
- Saba (N.A.): Bos en nationale parken. 54pp.
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