Roseau, Dominica

Reference work entry


Roseau, at the mouth of the River Roseau on the southwestern coast of Dominica, is the national capital and its main port.


The town was settled by the French in the mid-1700s. They called it Roseau after the French word for reeds, which grew in abundance. A subject of dispute between the French and English during the eighteenth century, it was devastated by two hurricanes and a massive fire during the late 1770s and early 1780s. In 1783, along with the rest of Dominica, the city was ceded to the British. Agriculture was a mainstay of the economy but Roseau also became the centre of a thriving slave trade in the early nineteenth century.

In 1978 Roseau became capital of independent Dominica but it was virtually destroyed by Hurricane David the following year. It has subsequently undergone major reconstruction and development.

Modern City

The local economy relies on the activities of the deep-water port. Leading exports include Vegetables, spices, limes and essential...

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