Known as “The Nature Island,” Dominica’s tropical rainforests cover two thirds of the island. This sparsely populated island is an adventurer and nature lover's paradise and a growing tourism destination.
Dominica is an island nation located in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea. Dominica comprises 290 square miles and is inhabited by approximately 72,000 people. On 3 November 1493 Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he discovered it – a Sunday – dominica in Latin. According to data from the World Bank, Dominica’s GDP (2013) reached US$504.8 million.
Dominica is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations and, since 1979, a member of La Francophonie. The president, the country’s Head of State, is elected by the House of Assembly and the executive power rests with the cabinet and headed by the prime minister. Head of State – His Excellency, The Honorable Charles Savarin.The country is a participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
After Christopher Columbus’ discovery in 1493, Dominica remained relatively undisturbed for more than 100 years. Caribs (pre-Columbian native) slowly started to settle in the island as they were being driven from surrounding islands, as European powers entered the Caribbean region.
The French claimed Dominica in the early 17th century and ruled over it till the mid-18th century when France ceded the island to the British under the Treaty of Paris (1763), following the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War.
Under the British in 1838, Dominica became the only British Caribbean colony to have a legislature with a majority of ethnic African members. It attained independence from Britain on 3rd November 1978 and is now known as the Commonwealth of Dominica.
The country has a population of 72,000 people. The official language is English. However, because of its historic French occupation during different times in history, Antillean Creole, based on French, is spoken by many people on the island. Dominica welcomes all faiths and creeds including Catholics, Anglicans and Muslims.
Like all Caribbean islands, music and dance are important facets of Dominica’s culture. The Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year as does the annual carnival, locally referred to as “Mas”. Gordon Henderson founded the group Exile One and an original musical genre, which he coined “Cadence-lypso”. This paved the way for modern Creole music.
Dominica’s economy is primarily driven by agriculture, with bananas the primary product. The Government has encouraged the diversification of the agricultural sector by promoting the production of coffee, patchouli, aloe vera, cut flowers and exotic fruits such as mango, guava, and papaya.
Tourism is a major growth sector. The government has already invested in modernization and development of docking and waterfront facilities. This has resulted in growth of tourist visiting Dominica. In the year 2013 over 325,000 tourists visited Dominica.
These Government initiatives have resulted in international accolades for Dominica:
- Recipient of the 2013 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Island Award
- The city of Roseau, Capital of Dominica was named among the top eight Caribbean towns by CNN & Lonely Planet
- Topped the list of the Caribbean Top 25 Snorkel spots from Caribbean Travel & Life