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Local History, Rosalie

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3 Rivers is set in The Newfoundland Estate, which was itself formed on part of the old Rosalie Estate.

The Rosalie Estate is situated on the East Coast, from Rosalie Bay, up the banks of the Rosalie River.
It was one of the largest estates on the island, totaling 2,081 acres.

For Dominica, late twenties, was major time in history change, as mulattos, whites and blacks jostled for their place in society.
Vibrant local communities were then established around former estates .
A noted community was springing up around the Rosalie estate, which for years had provided some means for the surrounding local villagers whose forebears had worked as slaves on this estate.

The Rosalie Bay Estate, where the school, church and police station were located, was a-buzz with activities.
Quite a sizeable population of estate workers lived in houses provided by the owner of the Rosalie Estate, Miss Johnson, a white heiress, who later married Mr. Gerard Winston, a native mulatto.

History says Rosalie rum was the best rum manufactured in Dominica, and people came from all over the state to buy it.
They transported the rum in barrels by boat, and in five gallon demi-johns by head, often across the island via the Chemin De Letang, which starts close to 3 Rivers.
This was done almost daily, but more so on Saturdays, and especially at Christmas time.

On Sundays, the villagers of Morne Jaune, Rivière Cyrique and Grand Fond joined with the residents of Rosalie Bay for Holy Mass.

Since the 1960s, much of it has been sub-divided and sold off.
It produced sugar, cocoa, limes, bananas and coconuts at various times in its history.
The first British owners included Governor William Stuart and in the 19th-20th century the Johnson family.
One of the leading maroon chiefs of the 18th century, recorded as “born in Guinea”, was the chief of a maroon camp in the centre of the island near Bells, who became famous for leading an attack on Rosalie Bay Estate in December 1785.
He was betrayed by a fellow slave of Belfast Estate and shot by a squad of Black Rangers in 1786.
He was brought to Roseau and exposed on a gibbet, where he took a week to die.
This event was the inspiration for the song at the time “Balla mort, bois gatay”, ( Balla is dead, the woods are spoilt ).

After emancipation, a village developed around the estate yard, but when new owners, Messrs. Leach and Tabor, took over in the 1950s, the land was reclaimed and the villagers were evicted, forced to dismantle their houses and disperse to the settlements at Grand Fond and Rivière Cyrique.
The church was abandoned and fell into ruin, but in the 1990s, it was restored and is now the site of the Diocesan Retreat Centre.

Today, the old Rosalie estate is an incredible area of Dominica to visit, with plenty of its history still visible.
The ruins of an aqueduct and sugar works are still standing, and the site of the old estate house can be seen on the hill above the works, near the modern estate house.
The beach itself is one of the most picturesque in Dominica, and as well as being a popular nesting ground for all kinds of sea turtles, is also great for serious expert surfing. The under currents can be strong though, so swimmers beware!

Guided history tours of the area are available as part of our community life activities.

Visit the website created by the villagers from one of our local villages, Riviere Cyrique, to learn more about our local area at RavineCyrique.com