Just after sunrise on April 12, 1782, sixty-six French and English ships engaged in the last sea battle of the War of American Independence. Sailing north from the lee of Dominica, Admiral Rodney engaged French Admiral de Grasse, an ally of the colonies, on the opposite tack. As the wind shifted toward the southeast, the British gained a significant advantage over their adversaries, who could no longer maintain their conventional line of naval combat. Sailing through the disorganized enemy, Rodney caused havoc and inflicted heavy damage. By sunset, five French ships had been captured.
Rodney's successful tactic of sailing through the enemy, as opposed to fighting in lines, was adopted in the Royal Navy Fighting Instructions and changed the architecture of future battles.
In spite of the fact that the sea surrounding Dominica was controlled by foreign naval powers, the island itself was the last stronghold of the fierce Carib Indians. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the French and English agreed to let the Indians control the rugged island. But the planters of both countries, still drawn to the fertile soil and abundant rainfall, continued to cultivate land near the coast and the fighting continued.
Dominica is a rich blend of its French and English heritage. Seventeenth century French emperors considered the spirit made from sugar cane grown in this rich, volcanic soil to be unique. Today, none of the rum bottled on this island is exported but conditions still exist to produce exceptional cane spirits.
Dominica grows a lot of the fruit and vegetables sold on the other Caribbean islands. The market in Roseau is always bustling, but don't miss the Saturday morning market in Portsmouth. Everything in season is on sale here. Flowers, hand-woven baskets, fresh bread, fish, even hot fresh-fried crab cakes can be found.
West Indian markets start early, if you aren't ashore by 7:00a.m., you have already missed a lot of the day's bargains.When you finish, stop in at the Market Street Bar to quench your thirst.
As the cruise ship dock in this sleepy town becomes more active, Portsmouth will change, but, until then, don't miss this typically West Indian town.
- There are 2 sugar cane spirit distillers in this database from Dominica.
- Belfast Estate Limited
- Shillingford Estates Ltd