Step back into Dominica’s European Past
You can’t escape history — even on Dominica. But you can escape to Fort Shirley, part of the Cabrits National Park and located on a scenic peninsula just north of Portsmouth. This fortress is most famously known for a revolt by African slave soldiers in 1802, an event which would lead to freeing of all British slave soldiers in 1807.
The fort itself was built within a volcanic crater and served as part of a network of defenses along the Lesser Antilles during international conflicts between Britain and France in the 18th and 19th centuries. These conflicts left behind echoes of a different era and some of the fort’s ruins are being slowly reclaimed by the encroaching forest.
Much of the fort is intact or has been rebuilt, allowing you to see what the area must have looked like back when the fort was operational. Take a moment to climb the walls, look out from a row of cannons, and imagine setting your sight on ships slowly drifting into range.
The Officer’s Quarters has undergone a major renovation and is now home to weddings, receptions, concerts, and other events. Offering stunning views of Prince Rupert Bay, nearby beaches, and the mountains rising behind it, Fort Shirley is a natural lookout on the region. And if you’re planning a visit during May or June, plan ahead so you won’t miss Dominica's Jazz n'Creole Festival that is held here annually.
Home to uprisings, victories, and defeats — Fort Shirley now connects visitors to an island at peace.