Topic: Welcome To Saba Posted: 21 Apr 2008 at 12:05am
Welcome To Saba
History & Culture
What is the history of the island?
Christopher Columbus sighted Saba during his second voyage to the west on 13 November 1493. The island fell under Spanish rule for almost 150 years, although according to Spanish records, there is no indication that colonization was ever attempted. It is assumed that during the years of Spanish rule, ships passing Saba may have landed from time to time to explore the island. In 1632, a group of Englishmen who shipwrecked on Saba claimed that they found the island uninhabited. A Frenchman claimed the island for the King of France in 1635 and around the year 1640, Holland sent some Dutch from the neighbouring island of St. Eustatius to take up residence on Saba. The island changed nationality several times until Holland finally took possession of Saba in 1816.
It is believed that many Sabans of European ancestry are descendants of Jamaican pirates, who had captured the island in 1665. During the Reformation, England underwent both religious and economic transformation and transported the unemployed and 'undesirables' to settle the colonies. The West Indies was considered the most favourable depository for these outcasts, and most were deported to Jamaica. Later, African slaves proved to be more abundant and productive and gradually replaced the outcasts. Consequently, many European indentured servants turned to piracy for survival.
For many years, Saba served as a refuge for the spoils of the pirates driven there from other islands by the colonists. The legacy of the pirates served Sabans well in later years as they continued to make a living from the sea. They engaged in legitimate trade that put them in contact with other islands. This resulted not only in trading relations, but also in marriages. Wives and husbands were constantly sought from overseas. As St. Eustatius grew into an important commercial centre, Saban men found employment as sailors and captains on both locally owned and foreign schooners. In the early 1900s, Saban men spent long periods at sea and the island became known as the 'Island of Women' during this period.
In the early days of navigation, boats were built on Saba at Tent Bay and Wells Bay. Some weighed as much as 60 gross tons. Saba also had a navigation school, founded by Capt. Frederick Simmons that started in 1909 and lasted until 1922. Schooners were later purchased in the United States and sailed back to Saba to pursue the Caribbean trade. Later, Saban vessels carried many Caribbean island workers to employment at the oil refineries in Curaçao and Aruba. This trade proved to be very profitable, and owners of these vessels became very wealthy.
Saba has seen many changes since it was first settled by the Europeans in the 17th Century. Saba remained quite isolated until the development of reasonable harbour facilities and 'The Road' was built. In recent years, it has developed very quickly both socially and economically. The completion of the island's 400 metre (437 yard)-landing strip in 1963 launched a regular air service to St. Maarten.
The establishment of the Saba National Marine Park in 1987 enhanced the island's diving business, which has become a major source of tourism income contributing to an improved island economy. Conservation efforts have successfully protected Saba's virtually unspoiled resources, resulting in a perfect destination for Caribbean travelers looking for unique land and sea adventures.
Geography Saba is a five square mile island in the northeastern Caribbean, 28 miles south of St. Maarten. Together with Statia, these three islands form the Windward Islands of the Dutch Caribbean which is part of the Dutch kingdom.
Known as the "Unspoiled Queen," Saba earns this reputation from her rich, tropical, natural, beauty. At 2,864 feet above sea level, a dense rain forest often peeks out from a light, cool cloud of moisture.
Coordinates: Latitude - 63.13 West ~ Longitude - 17.38 North.
I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.
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