Sunday, 20 March 2016

Dominica Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time to cast my net a little wider. This time Dominica and a look at some of its largest settlements, there are no cities on this island, and most interesting names.

Salisbury takes the name of the British politician Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, who served as prime minister for three terms over a period of thirteen years. The local Creole name for the town is Barroui - pronounced bah wee.

Grand Bay and its alternative English name of South City need no explanation. The village's local name is Berekua or Berricoa.

Calibishie gets its name from the native Arawakan language spoken by the Kalinagos people later known as the Caribs. In this language cali means 'net' and bishie 'reef' and thus describes 'the reef of nets' and gives some indication of how the people gathered protein from the sea to supplement vegetable matter from the forest, the latter also providing building materials.

Wesley, during the 1860s Wesleyville, was named for the Wesleyan missionaries who settled here.

Roseau is the capital and is named after the Roseau River, itself named by the French in the 16th or 17th century for the 'reeds' growing along its backs.

Delices is from the French word delices 'delights' or perhaps better seen as delice 'a delightful thing'.

Massacre is an ominous a name as it appears, this the massacre of the Carib locals by Europeans in 1674.

Paix Bouche is derived from the local Creole language, quite literally this means 'shut your mouth'.

Petite Savanne is from the French for 'little savannah'.

Scott's Head is named after Colonel George Scott, who helped the British secure Dominica from the French and later became lieutenant governor of the island for three years from 1764.

Vielle Case is a local French name meaning 'old house'.

La Vie Douce is a farming area aptly named as this means 'the sweet life'.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.

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