tour of Saint Lucia has taken us right around the island,
from Gros-Islet in the north to Vieux Fort in the South. the
places we have visited all have one thing in common, they
are on they coast. Now, for a change, we are going to travel
inland to visit the district of Babonneau. On the map, Babonneau
is roughly three miles from Castries. That of course, is as
the crow flies because if you travel by road, it is much further.
The Atlantic is four miles to the East. The Caribbean is just
over four miles West. Seven and a half miles to the North
is the channel that separates Saint Lucia from Martinique.
If you draw a line across the map of Saint Lucia from Coubaril
point to the old air strip on Grande Anse, it will pass through
the centre of babonneau. What does the name Babonneau mean?
Some people believe the place was named after a family who
lived in the area and were called Babonneau. Others think
that the name tells us something about the place. They say
that it comes from the French words, barre-bonne-eau. In English
this would mean 'the ridge where there is good water'. Look
carefully at the map and you will see why this might be true.
Many rivers begin in this area. Some of them join the Marquis
River which comes from the rainforest above Forestiere. Others
flow into the Union and Grande Riviere Rivers.
south is the towering cloud covered mountain, la Souciere.
The rain fall here is very high, it is one of the island's
most important catchment areas. From the pumping station at
Talvern, water is piped to hill 20 just south of Cabiche.
Most of the water for Castries and Babonneau is collected
and treated here to make it safe to use. In the past, Babonneau
had a good water supply from its many deep, clear rivers,
like all other rivers in the island which are fed by the rain
that falls on the rainforest. The rainforest above Babonneau
is disappearing fast. More and more land is being cleared
for cultivation. Unless the forest is protected, the rivers
will eventually dry up.
all the places you might visit on your tour of Saint Lucia,
Micoud is probably richest in Amerindians history. Between
Micoud and Canelles, archaeologists have found evidence of
eight or nine settlements. Remains of cooking pits, tools,
pots and ornaments have been discovered at Troumasse, Micoud
Bay and Anse Capitaine. Artifacts have also been found on
the banks of the river Ger and on the two headlands of the
Canelles River. Why did the Amerindians come to this part
of the island? Was it because the larger rivers full of fish
and crayfish? Was it for the sheltered bays where they could
anchor their boats, or on account of the strong fresh wind
that blew from the sea? Perhaps they stayed because everything
they needed was here in one place. Much of the land north
of Micoud ends in high jagged cliffs. On the West Coast, the
sea is calmer, but heavy forest and bush come right down to
the shore. The Amerindians came to Saint Lucia from South
American mainland. They came from the flat lands at the mouth
of the Orinoco River and the Coastal plains of Guyana and
Surinam. Rivers were their roads and water was a natural part
of their life. The land behind Micoud slopes gently away to
distant mountains and rainforest. They might have thought
the forest were full of wild animals or evil spirits. They
perferred the windy headlands or the river banks. The women
spent their days working in their vegetable patches, grating
cassava or making clay pots. They often decorated the pots
by painting them with dyes made from plants. Also they gathered
grasses which they dried and wove into mats and baskets. The
men fished in the river with bows and arrows or collected
crabs and oysters in the mangroves.
the 17th Century, Spanish, Dutch, French and English ships
sailed the waters of the Caribbean. Saint Lucia with its rivers
and forests, must have looked very inviting to them. Sailors
went ashore to trade for wood, water and fresh meat. Some
of them thought it would be good place to settle and make
a new life. The Caribs did not want this, therefore they attacked
the new settlements. They even got Caribs from Saint Vincent
and Dominica to help them. But their bows and arrows and axes
were no match for the guns that were soon turned against them.
of Saint Lucia's towns and villages have names that tell us
something about them, Gros Islet, Soufriere and Vieux Fort,
for example. others, like Castries, Choiseul, Laborie, praslin,
Micoud and Dauphin were named after Frenchmen who were important
at the time. Dennery was named after the Count d' Ennery, Governor
General of the French Windward Islands from 1766 to 1770. Before
that it had been called Anse Canot. Canoes, carved from the
trunks of large trees like the gommier, were brought down the
river to the coast to be launched. There is still a place at
Dennery called Anse Canot. Behind the village, the wide valley
the stretches back to the forest was known as the Grand Mabouya.
Mabouya is the local name for the harmless little gecko. It
hides during the day and comes out at night to hunt insects.
Mabouya also means evil spirit, in those days, most people believed
in spirits, both good and bad. Perhaps they thought the forested
valley of the Grand mabouya river was a good place for them
to hide. Today, with its open fields, brightly painted houses
and busy roads it hardly seems a place where evil spirits would
hang out! Maybe they all went back to Ravine Tous les Diables,
way up the Dennery River. The French Revolution gave d' Ennery
a new name, le Republican. But as soon as the island became
British once more the village went back to using its old name
again, this time though it was spelt Dennery. In 1850 about
1,000 people lived in the district of Dennery. By 1900 there
village was a busy place with markets where meat, fish and vegetables
were sold. On dark nights the streets were lit by Coleman Lamps
and at Christmas almost every house had a lantern lit by candles
in the window. The water in the dennery river was so clear you
could see the crabs walking on the bottom. Children bathed in
it and women did their washing on its banks. On Sundays and
holidays people came from all around to attend Mass at the church
of Saint Peter. And on Good Friday, all the house wives fried
accras to give to their neighbours. Today, there are more than
10,000 people living in Dennery district, many of them go to
church at la Resource.
For Adventure Tours On The Island
(c) 2000 - 2002 Home-Bounded.
All rights reserved.