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Saint Sauveur
Saint Sauveur

This is a village situated on the shores of Grand Marigot Bay. It is the only bay on the east coast that is partially protected by a coral reef. This provides a protected landing place for fishing boats. An Amerindian village existed here from 2000 years ago on the site of the present government school and playing field. Arawak-speaking travelers from South America settled here. The last group to live in the area was the Kalinago/Caribs and many families in Good Hope, Saint Sauveur and Petite Soufriere are descendants from these first people who mixed with French and Africans who arrived later.

The people who lived at Saint Sauveur before Christopher Columbus lived entirely off the land; their food, clothes, tools and building materials all came from the surrounding sea, forests and rivers. Small pieces of pre-Columbian clay pottery can still be found in the area and a rock in the river shows evidence of grinding holes for the making of stone axes. A large rock with strange markings called petroglyphs once stood along the shore, but was covered by bulldozing during the construction of the motorable road in 1964-65.

The Grand Marigot estate was established here from the 1770s and the foundations and the stone entrance stairway of the old estate house are still standing. However the watermill and sugar factory across the river were destroyed by hurricanes and decay long ago and the village health center now stands on the spot. All the surrounding hillsides were planted in fields of sugar cane. The cane was crushed in a mill powered by water from the river. For some seventy years processed sugar, rum and molasses was shipped from the estate aboard sailing vessels that anchored in the bay to collect the produce.

Between 1770 and 1807 enslaved people from Africa were brought to the bay to work on the estate. After emancipation in 1834 many of them remained in the area and farmed small plots of land in the surrounding hills. In 1861 it was still called Grand Marigot Estate and was owned by the heirs of William Davies. By 1869 it was owned by the Bishop of Roseau and was renamed Saint Sauveur Estate. The church sold off or rented many small plots of land to the people in the area. In 1924 the estate still had 447 acres and was owned by the heirs of A.C. Mondesire; later in the 20th century it belonged to the Shillingford family.

The village gets its name from the establishment of the Roman Catholic parish of Saint Sauveur (Saint Savior’s) that was founded by Bishop Poirier in 1866. The parish of Saint Sauveur extended from the Rosalie River but included Grand Fond, and went as far north as the Madjini River on the boarders of what was then called the Carib Quarter. The first priest of the parish, Fr. Ronard (FMI), was installed on 3 March 1872.

Although the name of the parish was French, it was often written as it was pronounced in Creole: San Sauveur, and this spelling has become increasingly accepted, even in official matters. A motorable road reached Saint Sauveur in 1965 and other facilities such as telephones, piped water and the construction of a new school followed soon afterwards.


 

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