The Capital of Dominica, Roseau

Roseau, Dominica

Roseau is the capital city of Dominica and is positioned on the west coast of the island, flanked by the peaceful waters of the Caribbean Sea. The city is home to approximately 27,000 of the 73,757 persons who make up the population of Dominica (read more about Dominica’s People).

Related: Dominica’s Scheduled Cruise Calls 2016/2017

Roseau Dominica is the heart of the country’s commerce and is bustling with business and commercial activities. It is a small and compact urban settlement located within the parish of Saint George.

Roseau Dominica
© 2014 Yuri A. Jones. This is a section of Roseau, as seen from Morne Bruce.

History 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

Shopping in Roseau
© 2016 Yuri A. Jones. Duty-free shopping at Fort Young Hotel in Roseau.

Shopping in Roseau

Roseau is the main shopping area in Dominica. There are no high rise malls but shopping in Dominica is fun. Stores are generally small in size but most carry a bit of everything.

Related: Getting to Dominica

Duty Free shopping is available in a few Roseau shops specializing in jewelry, perfumes, eye wear, wines, liquors and cigars. A few of these stores are: Duty Free Emporium, Jewellers’ International, Bijoux Terner, Coco Chic, Kai K Boutique, Jus’ A Touch and Pirates Ltd.

Cruise Ships in Roseau

Several cruise lines make calls to Dominica and two of the three cruise ship berths are located in Roseau. They are: Bayfront Cruise Ship Berth and the Deep Water Harbour.

If your ship calls to the Roseau area, there are many things to do in and around the capital. Several of Dominica’s unique attractions can be reached from Roseau on a short bus ride. Check out the Things To Do or Cruise Ships Visitors sections for more information.