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Duncan Town

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Hilltop in Duncan Town overlooking the creek
The land-locked shallow harbor in Duncan Town
The Salt Ponds in Duncan Town
A street scene in Duncan Town

Duncan Town, the capital of Ragged Island, is the only settlement on the island; it sits on a breezy hill overlooking a land-locked shallow harbor. The town is just over one mile long, with three main streets running north and south, the whole length of the town, with many cross streets connecting them.

It was named for Duncan Taylor,  who together with his brother Major Taylor, came from Long Island and settled here in the 19th Century. They developed the island's salt industry, remnants of which can be seen in the salt ponds still providing a smaller scale export commodity for locals today. Narrow, winding shallow channels, together with the summer droughts, made ideal conditions for the production of salt.


Little is known about the early days of the Ragged Island chain, but the great island is believed to have been a pirates' lair at some point, in addition to a fortress for the Spanish.

Cannons were once located at Gun Point and Salt Cay, which guarded the two main entrances of the harbor. On the western coast of the island, Blackbeard's Bay and Blackbeard's Well signify that the pirate may have established his headquarters near the well because of its unique location on a hill where he could overlook nearly the entire island.

It is also strongly believed that Christopher Columbus dropped anchor in the island chain on October 26, 1492, during his initial voyage to the New World.

For More Information, Contact:

Administrator's Office-Ragged Island
General Delivery, Duncan Town, RI
(242) 344-1508

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of the National Geographic.

Latitude: 22.197721000
Longitude: -75.725359000
Elevation: 18 FT (5 M)
Meet the Contributor:
Averi Cleare
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