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Cabrits, Dominica

Cabrits is a promontory on the northern end of Dominica, consisting of two hills that are remnants of an extinct volcano. It was originally separate from the island but is now connected by a causeway between Prince Rupert Bay and Douglas Bay. The peninsula comprises Cabrits National Park, a 1,313-acre enclave encompassing coral reefs, tropical forest, wetlands and the historic site of Fort Shirley. A ship berth and terminal have been constructed in conjunction with the park. The peninsula gets its name from the Spanish word cabras, or goats, which were stocked on the island by early visiting sailors, to provide a source of meat during subsequent calls. The national park is also the northern terminus of the Waitukubuli Trail, the Caribbean’s first long-distance hiking trail, which stretches 115 miles (185 km) from Scott’s Head on the island’s southern shore to the park. The trail’s 14th and final segment is a 6.7-mile (10.8 km) moderate trek from the village of Capuchin. Fort Shirley was one of the most impressive Georgian military outposts in the region, started in 1765 by the British and expanded during the French occupation between 1778 and 1784. The outpost eventually numbered over 50 buildings and housed as many as 600 men. The fort was the site of a mutiny by the West Indian Regiment in 1806 that freed nearly 10,000 slave soldiers, the first act of mass emancipation in the British Empire. The fort was abandoned in 1854. Restoration began in 1982 and several buildings including the Officer’s Quarters are restored. Others remain scenic ruins scattered through the surrounding forest.