A History of Delices

Delices is a village in the south east of Dominica, in the parish of St. Patrick. It was named by early French settlers with the French word for "delight", probably because of its beautiful site high upon a group of ridges overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The village is situated on one of the oldest geological sections of Dominica dating from 5 to 7 million years ago. The rocks in the valley and the hills behind are of a younger period, dating from 1.8 million years ago. This volcanic activity has resulted in the rocky nature of the land and the amount of ‘tarrish’ that is available in some areas.

Amerindian people, the ancestors of today's Kalinago/Caribs, lived along the Riviere Blanche by the bay and some of the remains of their pottery have been found there. They landed their canoes at the end of the beach below Savanne Mahaut and this was the main landing and shipping place for the people of Delices for hundreds of years.

The Sorhaindo family, under landowners Michel and Jason, led French occupation from Martinique. From about the 1720s enslaved people from Africa were brought to work on the estates surrounding Delices. When the British took over Dominica in 1763, the land at Delices was surveyed and divided for sale. All legal land holding in Delices dates from this time. The land where the main part of the village stands today was bought by Pierre Hirriatt, the land of Pointe Mulatre was owned by Pierre Dubocque and the Belvedere lands were bought and named by Antony Bertrand.

The people of this community are a mixture of Kalinago/Caribs, French and African. After slave emancipation in 1838, the former slaves on Point Mulatre Estate (201 slaves) and Belvedere Estate (150 slaves), on either side of Delices, came up to occupy the abandoned lands on the edges of the estates including the areas of La Roche and Victoria which lay between the two estates. Victoria was named after Queen Victoria of England.

Both the earliest school and police station were located in buildings on Belvedere Estate. One of the most famous owners of Pointe Mulatre Estate was Judge Sholto Rawlins Pemberton. His son, Victor, sold the estate to Eland Blomqvist in the 1950s and this started a period of arrival of Swedish settlers and increased interest in the area by tourists and others from overseas.

Delices is an area of cassava and bay leaf processing. It was connected by motorable road to Roseau in 1966 although some people such as Mr. Blomqvist took their jeeps and motorcycles on the old walking track before it was properly constructed as a motorable road.

By Lennox Honychurchb

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