Dominica: Fort Shirley

Fort Shirley was built on the Cabrits, originally an island close to shore, to which a permanent causeway was built. It borders the natural Prince Rupert harbor on the north, with guns commanding the harbor and its town of Portsmouth.

No battle ever took place at this fort, although the British colonial government once withdrew to it as the French fleet took Roseau, the capital, 25 rugged miles southward along the wesern (Caribbean) coast. From the fort, the British-French sea "Battle of the Saints" off Isle des Saintes (part of Guadaloupe) could be seen. Fort Shirley was also the site of a British West Indies troop mutiny.

In addition to cannon, which were more accurate and had greater range, mortar (the squat barrel behind the cannon) at Fort Shirley could rain huge projectiles down upon an enemy.

Muskets could command a field of fire against a land assault.

Fort Shirley is just out of view in trees to the right. One can see Guadeloupe to the north from the Cabrits. The government has built a dock at the Cabrits which is used by Caribbean sailing tours; one such ship can be seen tied up there in this photo. Large cruise ships, however, dock at Rouseau. Fort Shirley is now a national park.

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