Colonization by the English and the founding of Portsmouth as the capital.

It lasted until the second half of the 18th Century before Dominica was finally colonized by a European nation. The English conquered part of Dominica and with a small exception stayed in power until the island became independent on November 3rd, 1978.

They founded Portsmouth in Prince Rupert Bay as the capital next to the Indian River. A square street plan was laid out that is still in use today.  A small Fort was built on the peninsula on the north side of the bay. This Fort was gradually enlarged and got the name Fort Shirley. Now it is a beautifully restored landmark.

Within twenty years the occupants of Portsmouth knew that it was an unhealthy place to live. What they did not understand at that time was that the swamp on the peninsula next to town was a breading place for mosquitos that carried malaria.   At the end of the 18th Century the capital was moved to the much healthier town of Roseau. Portsmouth lost its importance and became the small secondary town of Dominica.

The peninsula not only consists of the swamp but also of two steep hills called the Cabrits; the goats. The center of Fort Shirley is situated between the two Cabrits.

By Bryan S. Horne