Portsmouth, Dominica

Coordinates: 15°34′06″N 61°27′23″W / 15.56833°N 61.45639°W / 15.56833; -61.45639
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Prince Rupert Bay
Prince Rupert Bay
Portsmouth is located in Dominica
Location in Dominica
Coordinates: 15°35′N 61°28′W / 15.583°N 61.467°W / 15.583; -61.467
Country Dominica
ParishSaint John Parish
141 ft (43 m)
 • Total3,630
Time zoneECT

Portsmouth is the second largest town in Dominica, with 3,630 inhabitants.[1][2] It is located on the shore of a natural Harbor, Prince Rupert Bay, in Saint John Parish on the north-west coast of Dominica. The area was called Ouyouhao by the Kalinago and Grand Anse by the French. The Indian River is Portsmouth’s southern border and Cabrits National Park is located on a peninsula to the north of town.[3][4]


Portsmouth was initially chosen as the capital of Dominica, but only served in that capacity temporarily. Royal Engineer, John Simpson surveyed and laid out the area in 1765. It was laid out with a grid design of streets around a central square (now part of Benjamin's Park). The House of Assembly, Court House, and government offices were supposed to be located on the east side of the central square. Portsmouth was named after the important naval seaport of Portsmouth in the south of England. The town’s streets were named after some notable British people of the time period: Egremont, Queensborough, Rodney and others. However, due to the surrounding swamps the settlement proved to be unhealthy due to outbreaks of malaria and yellow fever. The capital was moved to Roseau, where it remains today.[3]

The Ross University School of Medicine, was located near Portsmouth, in Picard, but was relocated to Barbados, after Hurricane Maria caused extensive damages in 2017.[5][6]

Portsmouth has its own sea port in Prince Rupert Bay. A farmer's market runs Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the town. The area is the birthplace of Exile One's Gordon Henderson, and former Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Douglas.

Benjamin's Park is the primary sporting venue and has hosted first-class cricket. The Japanese Government is currently funding and constructing a fish processing plant in Portsmouth.[7]


  1. ^ Commonwealth of Dominica, Population and Housing Census — 2001. Roseau, Dominica: Central Statistical Office, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Kennedy Avenue, 2001.
  2. ^ "Dominica: country data and statistics". Worlddata.info. Retrieved 2023-06-08.
  3. ^ a b "Lennox Honychurch's A-to-Z of Dominica's Heritage: Portsmouth". Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2023-06-08.
  4. ^ "Portsmouth, a Caribbean Jewel". www.caribbeancompass.com. Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  5. ^ Admin (2018-08-03). "BREAKING NEWS: Ross announces move to Barbados". Dominica News Online. Retrieved 2023-06-08.
  6. ^ "DOMINICA-Ross University official defends decision to relocate to Barbados". Antigua News Room. 2018-08-17. Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  7. ^ Admin (2011-06-03). "New fishing complex for Portsmouth". Dominica News Online. Retrieved 2023-06-09.

External links[edit]

15°34′06″N 61°27′23″W / 15.56833°N 61.45639°W / 15.56833; -61.45639