Nelson marina - 300+ years of history

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Today, all the yachts participating in RBC's Caribbean Week made the transition to Nelson's Dockyard, one of the oldest and most beautiful marinas in the area. The history of this place goes all the way back to 1671 when the British yacht Dover Castle found shelter from a hurricane here.

Colonel Stroud, the then Governor of the Naval Islands, was in the process of finding a safe haven for British ships in the event of a storm. And it was on board this very yacht. By the way, the hurricane that occurred gave the governor the answer - Dover Castle survived, all the ships in all the other harbors Antigua sunk. To the catcher and the beast, as they say...
The matter was resolved: the bay was dubbed English Harbour, and they began to cut through it a window to the Caribbean Sea. However, the progress was not quick - the remoteness from the metropolis, and the congenital inability of local people to move quickly had an impact. As a result, the first fort at the entrance, named Fort Berkeley, appeared only in 1704. Almost the same age as St. Petersburg!

The second important moment in the development of the harbour was in 1725, when the first shipyard with a dock was built. It served for 15 years, then was demolished, and now there is a slip for yachts in its place.
But the main thing in the development of Antigua and the naval base in English Harbor was the creation of a water supply system for ships arriving in English Harbor. This allowed ships to linger in the harbor for long periods to guard and defend it, which was a very significant strategic move by England in these waters. This event dates back to 1732, at which time Fort Berkeley was fully completed.
The next serious historical episode was the stay from 1784 to 1787 of Horatio Nelson in English Harbor. He performed a task not quite politically correct from today's point of view - he used military force to enforce the Navigation Act, a document that forbade any form of maritime trade with the United States, which had just declared its independence from «the mistress of the seas».
After this major battle, life in the harbor gradually began to falter. For a hundred years no significant events occurred in or around it. With the appearance of steamships and especially of economical double-expansion steam engines the harbour started to lose its importance. As a result, in 1899 the British fleet abandoned the harbor, which was transferred to the civil authorities of the island in 1906.
But it was not until 1950 that the harbour began to be transformed into a civilized civilian yacht marina. However - due to the already described characteristics of the local population - this process was extremely slow: only in 1961 English Harbour welcomed the first yacht.

But the full restoration process took a long time: it took almost a quarter of a century before the marina took its present form and became the Nelson's Dockyard National Museum Park


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