Roseau

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This article is about the capital city of Dominica. For a type of common reed, see Phragmites. For other uses, see Roseau (disambiguation).
Roseau
Town
Panorama of Roseau from Cruise ship
Panorama of Roseau from Cruise ship
Nickname(s): Town
Roseau is located in Dominica
Roseau
Roseau
Roseau
Coordinates: 15°18′05″N 61°23′18″W / 15.301389°N 61.388333°W / 15.301389; -61.388333
Country Dominica
Parish Saint George
Government
 • Type Local Government-Roseau City Council est 1890s
 • His Worship Mayor Cecil Joseph
 • MP - Roseau Central Hon. Norris Prevost
Elevation 141 ft (43 m)
Population (2007)
 • Total 16,582
Time zone ECT
Area code(s) +767

Roseau (Kwéyòl: Wozo) is the capital and largest city of Dominica. With a population of 16,582. It is a small and compact urban settlement, located within the Saint George parish and surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Roseau River and Morne Bruce. Built on the site of the ancient Kalinago Indian village of Sairi, it is the oldest and most important urban settlement on the island of Dominica.

It is located on the west (leeward) coast of Dominica, and is a combination of modern and colonial (French Style) architecture.

Roseau is Dominica's most important port for foreign trade. Some exports include bananas, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges, and cocoa. The service sector is also a large part of the local economy.

There is a prominent diocese called Roman Catholic Diocese of Roseau.

History[edit]

Aerial photo of Roseau

The city of Roseau sits on an alluvial fan formed hundreds of years ago as the river after which it was named meandered across the area from what is now known as Newtown to its current location. Over the last two thousand years, Amerindians migrating through the islands settled the area attracted by the nearby river. With the arrival of the Europeans on the island in the 16th and 17th centuries, a small settlement was established by the French who in their tradition of naming places after what they found there named the settlement with their name for the river reeds which grew along the river banks. A plan was created for the settlement which mirrored examples in France where streets extended from a central point at what is today the Old Market and extended out to the rest of the settlement.

Conflict raged between the French and the British over the area on several occasions. Finally, the British gained a stronghold and by the late 18th and early 19th centuries set out plans for the city which included fortifications and government structures, the grid road street system and blocks and new urban areas to the north and south known today as Potter's Ville and Newtown. Goodwill was established in the 1950s and Bath Estate in the early 1980s. Since then several new semi-urban settlements — such as Stock Farm, Castle Comfort, and Wall House — have been constructed around the existing ones. Some older settlements like Fond Cole and Canefield nowadays belong also to the semi-urban area that lies around Roseau.

The French influence can still be seen today, however, in its architecture, and crooked streets which extend from the Old Market Plaza. Examples of the English influence is also evident in architecture and street names.[1]

Climate and scenery[edit]

Roseau's Bay Front area

Roseau's nearby scenery (mostly in its so-called valley) includes Boiling Lake, 10.5 km (6.5 mi) east, in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, waterfalls, thermal springs, and scenic plateaus.

Morne Bruce provides panoramic views of most of downtown Roseau and northwards toward Woodbridge Bay deepwater port and Fond Cole. From Morne Bruce there are also views of the Botanic Garderns at its base as well as the Caribbean Sea which look quite spectacular on cruise ship days when several cruise liners are in port.

Roseau's climate is a tropical rainforest climate Roseau features relatively constant temperatures throughout the course of the year with average high temperatures generally between 28 and 31 °C (82 and 88 °F) and average low temperatures between 19 and 23 °C (66 and 73 °F). Rainfall is common throughout the course of the year, with the city seeing on average nearly 2,000 mm (79 in) of rain per year. Roseau features a noticeably drier stretch from February through April, though each of these months on average still sees at least 100 mm (4 in) of precipitation.

Climate data for Roseau
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33
(91)
34
(93)
36
(97)
36
(97)
36
(97)
36
(97)
35
(95)
35
(95)
35
(95)
37
(99)
35
(95)
34
(93)
37
(99)
Average high °C (°F) 28.0
(82.4)
28.0
(82.4)
28.4
(83.1)
29.1
(84.4)
29.6
(85.3)
30.1
(86.2)
30.2
(86.4)
30.5
(86.9)
30.4
(86.7)
29.0
(84.2)
29.6
(85.3)
28.6
(83.5)
29.3
(84.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 24.9
(76.8)
24.8
(76.6)
25.1
(77.2)
25.8
(78.4)
26.6
(79.9)
27.3
(81.1)
27.4
(81.3)
27.4
(81.3)
27.1
(80.8)
26.1
(79)
26.2
(79.2)
25.4
(77.7)
26.2
(79.2)
Average low °C (°F) 22.8
(73)
22.8
(73)
23.8
(74.8)
23.5
(74.3)
24.7
(76.5)
24.5
(76.1)
26.6
(79.9)
26.3
(79.3)
25.8
(78.4)
24.2
(75.6)
23.8
(74.8)
22.2
(72)
24.25
(75.64)
Record low °C (°F) 16
(61)
17
(63)
17
(63)
18
(64)
19
(66)
20
(68)
21
(70)
21
(70)
20
(68)
18
(64)
18
(64)
17
(63)
16
(61)
Precipitation mm (inches) 159
(6.26)
107
(4.21)
135
(5.31)
122
(4.8)
220
(8.66)
162
(6.38)
181
(7.13)
243
(9.57)
298
(11.73)
334
(13.15)
374
(14.72)
240
(9.45)
2,575
(101.38)
 % humidity 71 68 65 64 64 67 72 73 71 73 74 72 70
Mean monthly sunshine hours 198.9 200.6 227.3 244.9 243.2 227.7 231.2 240.4 212.2 219.5 194.0 189.5 2,629.4
Source #1: NOAA[2]
Source #2: BBC Weather [3]

Architecture[edit]

The central district of Roseau is tightly packed with small and large houses and even larger modern concrete structures. There is little green or open space situated within the city, and this is even more so today, as many of the courtyards which was once commonplace within the city are giving way to office space. The district is, however, framed in every direction by natural elements. The sea and the river provide water element while the Botanical Gardens and the Government House gardens frame the city with green space. Both these elements are rare in the Caribbean. No other centre in the region has such extensive botanical gardens with such central location, and the Roseau River is amongst the largest rivers that flow through any Caribbean capital.

The urban structure of Central Roseau is based on an irregular grid system of miniature proportions, making it a highly illegible city. Even though the grid area is not very extensive, it is relatively easy for a visitor to get lost there. The grid area has some 80 blocks in the area of 30 hectares (74 acres). In comparison, the grid areas of Kingstown and Castries — capitals of Saint Vincent and Saint Lucia — have some 50 and 60 blocks in the areas of over 40 ha (99 acre). The average block size in Central Roseau is thus some ⅓ hectare (1 acre), i.e. about half of the figure of Central Kingstown.

There are some fine examples of West Indian architecture in Roseau. The ones that stand out the most are the French Colonial style and the vernacular form. Much of the French influence can be found along King George V Street. Around the city you will come across some good examples of the English influence in the form of large colonial town houses and colonial public/government buildings.

Roseau's French Quarter

The churches in Roseau are fine examples of Europe in Dominica with a bit of creolisation. The Roman Catholic Cathedral stands prominent in Gothic Romanesque revival and the Anglican Church on Victoria Street in Georgian style. Amongst these buildings you will find much of the urban vernacular squeezed in between larger colonial and more modern buildings.

City life[edit]

Video showing activity at Farmers Market in downtown Roseau, from here

Because of the suburban sprawl, few people live in Central Roseau, but more of them commute daily. Motorised vehicles pour into the central district thus introducing a mode of point-to-point interaction in an environment that was created for multiple use. As elders said, first there were no streets but just a space between the buildings. The streets of Roseau, and especially those of its central district, are not only ways to move from place to place but they are places themselves. They are used as gardens, playing fields, and social meeting places.

Street scene in Roseau

The Botanical Gardens on the fringes of the central district are mostly used by children.

Sports and recreation[edit]

Within the city of Roseau, there are many opportunities for recreation. Many persons seek out the tranquility and cool of the Botanical Gardens as a getaway on Sunday afternoons and at lunch. As well, it is a popular venue for local cricket matches and sports training. Football is a popular sport; there are several pitches throughout the city area (at Newtown, Potters Ville, and Bath Estate), as well as in the sports stadium at Windsor Park.

Windsor Park

Sporting facilities and infrastructure[edit]

There are dedicated sports facilities around the city. Private tennis courts are located on High Street; netball and basketball courts also abound in the city's major high schools. These are complemented by community facilities at Goodwill. A dedicated netball and basketball stadium is located at Stockfarm near the Dominica State College.

In 2007, Windsor Park, also home to the Dominica national football team, was completed with a donation of EC$33 million from the government of the People's Republic of China.

Elsewhere in the city it is not uncommon to find that a section of the street, sidewalk or even the beach has been adapted to makeshift games of cricket or football.

Popular sports include netball, basketball, rounders and (to a much lesser extent) tennis.

Accommodations and Infrastructure[edit]

There are no world famous hotel chains in the city. The most famous hotel is the Fort Young Hotel.[4] In addition there are several small family owned establishments within and on the outskirts of the city.

Dominica Broadcasting Corporation, the national radio station, and two other private radio stations are located in the capital.

Non Governmental Organizations[edit]

Roseau is home to service clubs including, Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions. There are other organisations such as the local humane society and conservation society. ChildFund International USA has an office in Roseau from where it runs its child centred development programs for Dominica and Saint Vincent.

The Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce, Waitukubuli Eccological Foundation, Dominica Tourism Association and others are based in the city.

The city is also home to several labour organisations including the Dominica Amalgamated Workers' Union, the Dominica Public Service Union, the Dominica Trade Union, the National Workers' Union and the Waterfront and Allied Workers' Union

Transportation[edit]

As the most important town on the island and hub of all business activity, the city is a central point of the road networks on the island. It is an important link between northern, eastern, and southern bound traffic.

The city is served by Canefield Airport, a nearby small aircraft airport which provides direct links to nearby islands, as well as the larger Melville Hall Airport to the north. The ferry terminal provides direct links to the neighbouring Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique and St. Lucia to the south.

There are no rail or subway systems.

Education[edit]

Roseau has been the historical centre of education on the island. There are six secondary schools located in the city as well as eight primary schools. A community college - The Dominica State College is also located in Roseau. A private medical school, All Saints School of Medicine, also calls Roseau home.

Embassies and consulates[edit]

Several embassies are also located in the city. Among them include the Brazilian Embassy, the Chinese, the Cuban embassy, and the Venezuelan Embassy, with a couple of other consulates located around the city.

Notable people[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Niko Lipsanen, Naturalistic and existential realms of place in Roseau, Dominica. University of Helsinki, Department of Geography 2001.
  2. ^ "Climate Normals for Melville Hall Airport 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Average Conditions Roseau, Dominica". BBC Weather. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ Fort Young Hotel

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 15°18′05″N 61°23′18″W / 15.30139°N 61.38833°W / 15.30139; -61.38833