Brief History of Calibishie
Pre-Columbian and later Carib settlements existed in the area known as "The Bay" and at Point Baptiste where one hundred Caribs are recorded as being resident as late as the 1760s. A major natural feature is the off shore rocks known as Port D'Enfè, the Gate of Hell, or Mayanbaccali in Carib. After the Carib period, the present village grew from an area of free peasant farmers that developed between the boundaries of Hampstead Estate to the west and Hodges Estate to the east. Family names such as Warrington, Joseph, George, Cyrille, Nixon, and Celestine have long been associated with the area.
A map showing 'Calibishri'. Made by British map-maker Thomas Jeffreys c1765.
The beautiful village of Calibishie is situated along the seashore protected
by the only barrier reef in Dominica. This mile-long coral reef takes the force
of the sea swells from the Atlantic Ocean and provides a
Here in this village the indigenous people built their canoes and their big Karbay or Taboui houses on the sandy flat where the village stands today.
It was an excellent place for them to live: The reefs provided them with conch (lambi) and lobsters as well as cong and other fish. There were small streams for water and land on the ridges behind for growing their manioc to make kassav and farine, as some people in Calibishie still do today. The forest behind the village provided them with a wealth of material for their everyday lives, from medicinal plants to wood for their houses.
All of this changed after the first French settlers arrived from Guadeloupe
as the Caribs moved away from the area towards Salibya. But as late as 1765
there were some one hundred Caribs living at Calibishie. The French gave the
village names such as Savanne Paille, Crete Coco, and Riviere Salee.
When the British took over the island of Dominica in 1763 they established the large neighbouring estates of Hampstead and Hodges and the West African people who were brought to work these estates eventually settled here and began to establish the village as we know it today. The fishermen and small farmers were the backbone of the community and we must always respect the memory of these ancestors in providing the foundation of your present community. There are many older people in this community who can provide a detailed oral history of your village and I want to encourage your young people to go out and write down the memories of your older folk so that everyone may learn from their experiences and knowledge. It would be a useful exercise to do.
They will tell you about the days when the road to Portsmouth was only covered
in Macadam; when they had to walk all the way to Hampstead Methodist Church
to go to school and that to get to Roseau they had to go
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