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Cabrits National Park aka Fort Shirley

Cabrits National Park

Cabrits National Park was established in 1986 to protect an abandoned ruins of an old British Shirley Fort those spectacular ruins are mostly covered by a lush Caribbean jungle. It lies on a peninsula that was formed by two extinct volcanoes in the Northeast side of the island just North- West of Portsmouth.

 

 

Location: 20 mi (32 km) North of Roseau  Map

Area: 1,313 acres (531 ha)

Entrance Fee: $ 2.50

Open: 8am-6pm

Established: 1986

Fort Artifacts:

The Shirley Fort began its rebirth in 1986, however most of it didn't see archeological digs. Few items that were found here were accidental. It is prohibited to carry away found objects from the fort. However there is no rangers to prevent it from happening or even check if anyone sneaked a metal detector on the grounds of the park. Just saying.

 

 

 

History of Fort Shirley (Cabrits National Park)

In the 18th century British Empire established Fort Shirley as an observation post. As the time passed they gradually increasing its size and defenses. Fort Shirley ruins are spread out all over the park with cannons overlooking both Prince Rupert Bay on the South side of the peninsula as well as Douglass Bay on the North side. Despite its formidable fortifications citadel was never attacked. The closest it came to battle is merely observance point of the Battle of the Saintes that was fought in April 9- 12 1782 between the French and the English fleets in the straight between islands of Dominica and Guadalupe. The battle resulted in complete British victory.

 

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Diseases that spread from swamps surrounding Fort Shirley situated in the neck of the peninsula eventually forced the British to replace European soldiers with those of African descent. They were better prepared to withstand warm, wet climates and had little rights comparing to their British counterparts. However even they reached a breaking point. Fort Shirley briefly experienced a rebellion in 1802, then soldiers of the 8th West Indian Regiment rebelled against harsh treatment by the governor. A single cannon shot from a British ship ended the standoff. The soldiers surrendered, but further inquiry blamed the governor for using soldiers as slave labor and initiating a revolt. He kept his freedom, but his career was over. Shirley Fort itself was completely abandoned in 1854.

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The name "Cabrits" comes from a Spanish words that means "goat". Spanish sailors who first visited the island had a practice of leaving these animals on a new shores. Durable and resourceful animals usually survived and quickly multiplied on an island. Whenever a ship needed fresh meat they would simply stop and crew would hunt these animals for food. Inexpensive and easy way to keep your food alive without any work on their behalf.

 

Cabrits National Park

Fort Shirley's entrance. The doors are gone, but the hinges are still in place

Cabrits National Park

Powder House

 

Governor's Residence

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