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The island territory of Saba is the smallest inhabited island of the former Netherlands Antilles. Saba is located at 30 kilometers south west of St. Maarten. It is about 4.5 kilometers in diameter and the total area is 13 km². Saba consists of a dormant volcano with four lava domes. The slopes descend steeply to the sea and the coast is rocky. The Mount Scenery volcano with its 877 meters is the highest point of the island and of the whole Dutch Kingdom. Saba has approximately 1400 inhabitants, of which the majority lives in the capital The Bottom. Saba’s nick name is ‘the unspoiled queen’. Saba lives of tourism and has a medical faculty since 1988, the Saba University School of Medicine, which attracts many students from the United States.


Saba was discovered by Columbus in1493; at the time there were Indians living there. Columbus named the island San Cristóbal. A possible explanation for the name Saba is that it was abbreviated as S.†bal and was read as Saba. It became Dutch property in 1632. In 1635 an English vessel shipwrecked at Saba; the survivors were presumably the first European inhabitants. Furthermore, the population descends of African slaves, Scots, Irish and natives of Zeeland. It is remarkable that one fourth of the inhabitants are named Johnson or Hassell. Saba changed oftentimes of ‘owner’. It was in possession of France, Spain, The Netherlands and of the British. In 1816 it finally became of the Netherlands. In 1960 a small airport was constructed on the northern point of Saba (Flat-Point). It has the shortest runway for commercial air traffic in the world (400 meters).

The Saba flag

The Saba flag has the colors red, white, blue and (yellow) gold. The upper half consists of two equal red triangles; the lower half of two equal blue triangles. The diamond in the middle is white and contains a five pointed golden star. This color was chosen to symbolize the wealth of the island and the hope for a great future. The star represents the island; the colors red, white and blue symbolize the ties with the Netherlands. Furthermore, red symbolizes courage, union and decisiveness; white peace and blue the sea.

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