Portsmouth is the second largest town in Dominica, with 2,977 inhabitants. It lies on the Indian River on Dominica's northwest coast, in Saint John Parish. Cabrits National Park is located on a peninsula to the north of town. Portsmouth has its own sea port in Prince Rupert Bay. Portsmouth was initially chosen as the capital of Dominica, but only served in that capacity in 1760. After malaria broke out there the same year, the capital was moved to Roseau, where it remains.
The Ross University School of Medicine, which has over 1,000 students mainly from the United States and Canada, is located near Portsmouth, in Picard. The school's presence is a major economic resource for the local people. A farmer's market runs Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the city. The area is the birthplace of local politician Roosevelt Douglas. The area has many plans for tourism and employment in general. The Japanese Government is currently funding and constructing a fish processing plant in Portsmouth.