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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commonwealth of Dominica
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Après Bondie, C'est La Ter"  (Antillean Creole)
"After God is the Earth"
"Après le Bon Dieu, c'est la Terre"
AnthemIsle of Beauty, Isle of Splendour
(and largest city)
15°18′N 61°23′W / 15.3°N 61.383°W / 15.3; -61.383
Official language(s) English
Ethnic groups  86.8% African, 8.9% mixed, 2.9% Carib, 0.8% white , 0.7% other (2001)[1]
Demonym Dominican
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Nicholas Liverpool
 -  Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit
Independence from the United Kingdom 
 -  Date 3 November 1978 
 -  Total 754 km2 (184th)
290 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.6
 -  July 2009 estimate 72,660 (195th)
 -  2003 census 71,727 
 -  Density 105/km2 (95th)
272/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $727 million[2] 
 -  Per capita $10,132[2] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $364 million[2] 
 -  Per capita $5,082[2] 
HDI (2007) 0.814 (high) (73rd)
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Time zone (UTC–4)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .dm
Calling code +1-767
1 Rank based on 2005 UN estimate.

Dominica, (French: Dominique) officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. To the north-northwest lies Guadeloupe, to the southeast Martinique. Its size is 754 square kilometres (291 sq mi) and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of 1,447 metres (4,747 ft). The Commonwealth of Dominica has an estimated population of 72,500. The capital is Roseau.

Dominica has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its seemingly unspoiled natural beauty. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world's second-largest boiling lake. The island features lush mountainous rainforests, home of many rare plant, animal, and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall can be expected inland. The Sisserou Parrot (also known as the Imperial Amazon), the island's national bird, is featured on the national flag. Dominica's economy is heavily dependent on both tourism and agriculture.

Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he spotted it, a Sunday (dominica in Latin), November 3, 1493. In the next hundred years after Columbus' landing, Dominica remained isolated, and even more Caribs settled there after being driven from surrounding islands as European powers entered the region. France formally ceded possession of Dominica to the United Kingdom in 1763. The United Kingdom then set up a government and made the island a colony in 1805.

The emancipation of African slaves occurred throughout the British Empire in 1834, and, in 1838, Dominica became the first British Caribbean colony to have a legislature controlled by an African majority. In 1896, the United Kingdom reassumed governmental control of Dominica, turning it into a Crown colony. Half a century later, from 1958 to 1962, Dominica became a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation. In 1978, Dominica became an independent nation.



In 1635 France claimed Dominica. Shortly thereafter, French missionaries became the first European inhabitants of the island. Carib incursions continued, though, and in 1660, the French and British agreed that both Dominica and St. Vincent should be abandoned. Dominica was officially neutral for the next century, but the attraction of its resources remained; rival expeditions of British and French foresters were harvesting timber by the start of the 18th century.[3]

Largely because of Dominica's position between Martinique and Guadeloupe, France eventually became predominant, and a French settlement was established and grew. As part of the 1763 Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years' War, the island became a British possession. In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, the French mounted a successful invasion with the active cooperation of the population. The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, returned the island to Britain. French invasions in 1795 and 1805 ended in failure.[3]

In 1763, the British established a legislative assembly, representing only the white population. In 1831, reflecting a liberalization of official British racial attitudes, the Brown Privilege Bill conferred political and social rights on free non-whites. Three African people were elected to the legislative assembly the following year. Following the abolition of slavery, in 1838 Dominica became the only British Caribbean colony to have a African-controlled legislature in the 19th century. Most African legislators were smallholders or merchants who held economic and social views diametrically opposed to the interests of the small, wealthy English planter class. Reacting to a perceived threat, the planters lobbied for more direct British rule.[3]

In 1865, after much agitation and tension, the colonial office replaced the elective assembly with one that had one-half of members who were elected and one-half who were appointed. Planters allied with colonial administrators outmanoeuvred the elected legislators on numerous occasions. In 1871, Dominica became part of the Leeward Island Federation. The power of the African population progressively eroded. Crown Colony government was re-established in 1896. All political rights for the vast majority of the population were effectively curtailed. Development aid, offered as compensation for disenfranchisement, proved to have a negligible effect.[3]

Following World War I, an upsurge of political consciousness throughout the Caribbean led to the formation of the Representative Government Association. Marshalling public frustration with the lack of a voice in the governing of Dominica, this group won one-third of the popularly elected seats of the legislative assembly in 1924 and one-half in 1936. Shortly thereafter, Dominica was transferred from the Leeward Island Administration and was governed as part of the Windwards until 1958, when it joined the short-lived West Indies Federation.[3]

After the federation dissolved, Dominica became an associated state of the United Kingdom in 1967 and formally took responsibility for its internal affairs. On November 3, 1978, the Commonwealth of Dominica was granted independence by the United Kingdom.[3]

Independence did little to solve problems stemming from centuries of economic underdevelopment, and in mid-1979, political discontent led to the formation of an interim government. It was replaced after the 1980 elections by a government led by the Dominica Freedom Party under Prime Minister Eugenia Charles, the Caribbean's first female prime minister. Chronic economic problems were compounded by the severe impact of hurricanes in 1979 and in 1980.

In 1981 Dominica was threatened with a takeover by mercenaries.[4]


Attempted coup

In 1981, a group of right-wing "mercenaries" led by Mike Perdue of Houston and Wolfgang Droege of Toronto, attempted to overthrow the government of Eugenia Charles. The North America mercenary group was to aid ex-Prime Minister Patrick John and his Dominica Defence Force in regaining control of the island in exchange for control over the island's future development. The entire plan failed and the ship hired to transport the men of Operation Red Dog never even made it off the dock as the FBI was tipped off. The self-titled mercenaries lacked any formal military experience and/or training and the majority of the crew had been misled into joining the armed coup by the con-man ringleader Mike Perdue. White supremacist Don Black was also jailed for his part in the attempt, which violated US neutrality laws. The book, "Bayou of Pigs" written by Stewart Bell details the story of this missguided attempt to turn Dominica into a criminal paradise.

Since the 1980s

By the end of the 1980s, the economy recovered, but weakened again in the 1990s because of a decrease in banana prices.[3]

In the January 2000 elections, the Edison James United Workers Party (UWP) was defeated by the Dominican Labour Party (DLP), led by Roosevelt P. "Rosie" Douglas. Douglas died after only a few months in office and was replaced by Pierre Charles, who died in office in January 2004. Roosevelt Skerrit, also of the DLP, replaced Charles as Prime Minister. Under Prime Minister Skerrit's leadership, the DLP won elections in May 2005 that gave the party 12 seats in the 21-member Parliament to the UWP's 8 seats. An independent candidate affiliated with the DLP won a seat as well. Since that time, the independent candidate joined the government and one UWP member crossed the aisle, making the current total 14 seats for the DLP and 7 for the UWP.[3]

Geography and climate

Map of Dominica

Dominica is an island nation and borderless country in the Caribbean Sea, the northernmost of the Windward Islands. The size of the country is about 289.5 square miles (754 km²). The capital is Roseau.

Dominica is largely covered by rainforest and is home to the world's second-largest boiling lake.[5] Dominica has many waterfalls, springs, and rivers. The Calibishie area in the country's northeast has sandy beaches.[citation needed] Some plants and animals thought to be extinct on surrounding islands can still be found in Dominica's forests.[citation needed] The volcanic nature of the island has attracted scuba divers. The island has several protected areas, including Cabrits National Park, as well as 365 rivers.

It is said that when his royal sponsors asked Christopher Columbus to describe this island in the "New World", he crumpled a piece of parchment roughly and threw it on the table. This, Columbus explained, is what Dominica looks like—completely covered with mountains with nary a flat spot.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a tropical forest blended with scenic volcanic features.[6] It was recognised as a World Heritage Site on April 4, 1995, a distinction it shares with four other Caribbean islands.[7]

Calibishie beach landscape.

The Commonwealth of Dominica is engaged in a long-running dispute with Venezuela over Venezuela's territorial claims to the sea surrounding Isla Aves (literally Bird Island, but in fact called Bird Rock by Dominica authorities), a tiny islet located 140 miles (224 km) west of the island of Dominica.[citation needed]

There are two primary population centres: Roseau and Portsmouth.

Dominica possesses the most pristine wilderness in the Caribbean.[citation needed] Originally, it was protected by sheer mountains which led the European powers to build ports and agricultural settlements on other islands. More recently, the citizens of this island have sought to preserve its spectacular natural beauty by discouraging the type of high-impact tourism which has damaged nature in most of the Caribbean.

Roseau, from docked Cruise ship

Visitors can find large tropical forests, including one which is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites, hundreds of streams, coastlines and coral reefs.

The Sisserou parrot is Dominica's national bird and is indigenous to its mountain forests.

The Caribbean Sea offshore of the island of Dominica is home to many cetaceans. Most notably a group of sperm whales live in this area year round. Other cetaceans commonly seen in the area include spinner dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. Less commonly seen animals include killer whales, false killer whales, pygmy sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, Risso's dolphins, common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, humpback whales and Bryde's whales. This makes Dominica a destination for tourists interested in whale-watching.

Dominica is especially vulnerable to hurricanes as the island is located in what is referred to as the hurricane region. In 1979, Dominica was hit directly by category 5 Hurricane David, causing widespread and extreme damage. On August 17, 2007, Hurricane Dean, a category 1 at the time, hit the island. A mother and her seven-year-old son died when a landslide caused by the heavy rains fell onto their house.[8] In another incident two people were injured when a tree fell on their house.[9] Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit estimated that 100 to 125 homes were damaged, and that the agriculture sector was extensively damaged, in particular the banana crop.[10]


The name Dominica comes from the Italian word for Sunday (domenica), which was the day on which it was spotted by Christopher Columbus. Its pre-Columbian name was "Wai'tu kubuli", which means "Tall is her body".[11] The indigenous people of the island, the Caribs, have a territory similar to the Indian reserves of North America. The official language is English in consequence of its history as a British colony, territory, and state, though a French creole is spoken by many, especially people of older generations. The demonym or adjective is "Dominican" in English, same as that for the Dominican Republic, but unlike the Dominican Republic, in which the stress is on the first "i", the stress is on the second "i".

Government and administrative divisions

Dominica is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations and, since 1979, a member of La Francophonie. Unlike the majority of countries in the Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Dominica is one of the region's few republics. The president is the head of state, while executive power rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister. The unicameral parliament consists of the thirty-member House of Assembly, which consists of twenty-one directly elected members and nine senators, who may either be appointed by the president or elected by the other members of the House of Assembly.

Unlike other former British colonies in the region, Dominica was never a Commonwealth realm, instead becoming a republic on independence. Dominica is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Dominica is also a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the U.S. military, as covered under Article 98. In January 2008 Dominica joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.

Parishes of Dominica

Dominica is divided into ten parishes:

  1. Saint Andrew Parish
  2. Saint David Parish
  3. Saint George Parish
  4. Saint John Parish
  5. Saint Joseph Parish
  6. Saint Luke Parish
  7. Saint Mark Parish
  8. Saint Patrick Parish
  9. Saint Paul Parish
  10. Saint Peter Parish


Current president, Nicholas Liverpool

In 2008, Dominica had one of the lowest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) rates of Eastern Caribbean states.[12][13] The country nearly had a financial crisis in 2003 and 2004, but Dominica's economy grew by 3.5% in 2005 and 4.0% in 2006, following a decade of poor performance. Growth in 2006 was attributed to gains in tourism, construction, offshore and other services, and some sub-sectors of the banana industry. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently praised the Government of Dominica for its successful macroeconomic reforms. The IMF also pointed out remaining challenges, including the need for further reductions in public debt, increased financial sector regulation, and market diversification.[3]

Bananas and other agriculture dominate Dominica's economy, and nearly one-third of the labour force works in agriculture. This sector, however, is highly vulnerable to weather conditions and to external events affecting commodity prices. In 2007, Hurricane Dean caused significant damage to the agricultural sector as well as the country's infrastructure, especially roads. In response to reduced European Union (EU) banana trade preferences, the government has diversified the agricultural sector by promoting the production of coffee, patchouli, aloe vera, cut flowers, and exotic fruits such as mango, guava, and papaya. Dominica has also had some success in increasing its manufactured exports, primarily soap.[3]

Dominica is mostly volcanic and has few beaches; therefore, tourism has developed more slowly than on neighboring islands. Nevertheless, Dominica's mountains, rainforests, freshwater lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots make it an attractive eco-tourism destination. Cruise ship stopovers have increased following the development of modern docking and waterfront facilities in Roseau, the capital.[3] Out of 22 Caribbean islands tracked, Dominica had the fewest visitors in 2008 (55,800 or 0.3% of the total). This was about half as many as visited Haiti.[14]

Dominica's currency is the East Caribbean Dollar.

Dominica is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative that grants duty-free entry into the United States for many goods. Dominica also belongs to the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).[3]

Dominica offers tax-free status to companies locating from abroad. It is not known how many companies benefit from the tax-free status because of the strict confidentiality the government enforces, although it is known many Internet businesses utilise Dominica for this reason.



There are two small airports on the island. The primary airport, Melville Hall Airport (DOM), is on the northeast coast and is about a 45-minute drive from Portsmouth. The second is Canefield Airport (DCF), about 15 minutes from Roseau on the southwest coast. Melville Hall Airport is suitable for limited use of commercial jets because of runway length, lack of runway lights, and lack of instrument landing system. Melville Hall currently has regular service by American Eagle and LIAT using twin turboprop aircraft like the De Havilland Dash 8, as well as Conviasa and Amerijet, which, using Boeing 727 Freighters, is the only airline with jet service to the republic. A runway extension and service upgrade project began at Melville Hall around 2006 and is still in progress as of early 2009.


There is no major highway on the island. Before the road was built between Portsmouth and Roseau, people had to take boats, which took several hours. Now, it takes about one hour to drive from Portsmouth to Roseau. Minibus services form the major public transport system


There is a significant Mixed minority along with Indo-Caribbean or East Indian groups, a small European origin minority (descendants of French, British, and Irish colonists) and there are small numbers of Lebanese, Syrians and Asians. Dominica is also the only Eastern Caribbean island that still has a population of pre-Columbian native Caribs, who were exterminated or driven from neighbouring islands. There are only about 3,000 Caribs remaining. They live in eight villages on the east coast of Dominica. This special Carib Territory was granted by the British Crown in 1903.[15] There are also about 1,000 medical students from the United States and Canada who study at the Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth.

The population growth rate of Dominica is very low, due primarily to emigration to other countries. In the early 21st Century, emigrant numbers for the most popular countries are as follows: the United Kingdom (6739), the United States (8560), France (394), and Canada (605).

It has recently been noted that Dominica has a relatively large number of centenarians. As of March 2007, there are 22 centenarians out of the island's almost 70,000 inhabitants—three times the average incidence of centenarianism in developed countries.[16] The reasons for this are the subject of current research being undertaken at Ross University School of Medicine.

About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic, though in recent years a number of Protestant churches have been established. There is also a small but growing Muslim community in Dominica as the nation's first mosque was built recently near Ross University.[17]

English is the official language of Dominica and is universally spoken and understood. However, because of historic French occupation during different times in history, and the island's location between the two French-speaking departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, Antillean Creole Patois, a French-based creole dialect, is spoken by many people on the island, especially from the older generation. Because of the decline in its usage by the younger generation, initiatives have been set up in an effort to increase usage and save this unique part of the nation's history and culture. The dialect of Dominica also includes Cocoy, along with Creole—French-based patois. Cocoy, or Kockoy, is a mix of Leeward Island English-Creole and Dominican Creole. It is mainly spoken in the north-eastern villages of Marigot and Wesley.[18] As a result of this admixture of languages and heritage, Dominica is a member of both the English-speaking Commonwealth and the French-speaking La Francophonie.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the Rose's Company, which produced Rose's lime juice, saw demand for its product outgrow its ability to supply the product from Montserrat. Their response to the situation was to buy land on Dominica and encourage Montserrat farm labourers to relocate. As a result there came to be two linguistic communities in Dominica. Over time there has been much intermarrying but there are still traces of difference in origin.[19]


Dominica's East coast territory of the Kaliango (tribe)

Dominica is home to a wide range of people. Although it was historically occupied by several native tribes, the Arawaks and Kalinago Carib tribes remained by the time European settlers reached the island. 'Massacre' is a name of a river dedicated to the murders of the Native villagers by French and British settlers, because the river ran red with blood for days. Each (French and British) claimed the island and imported slaves from Africa. The remaining Caribs now live on a 3,700-acre (15 km2) territory on the east coast of the island. They elect their own chief. This mix of cultures is important to Dominica.

A Dominican drumming band.

Music and dance are important facets of Dominica's culture. The annual independence celebrations show an outburst of traditional song and dance preceded since 1997 by weeks of Creole expressions such as "Creole in the Park" and the "World Creole Music Festival". Dominica gained prominence on the international music stage when in 1973, Gordon Henderson founded the group Exile One and an original musical genre which he coined "Cadence-lypso" which paved the way for modern Creole music.

The 11th annual World Creole Music Festival was the first activity held there since its completion on October 27, 2007, part of the island's celebration of independence from Great Britain on November 3. A year-long reunion celebration began in January 2008 marking 30 years of independence.

Dominica is often seen as a society that is migrating from collectivism to that of individualism. The economy is a developing one that previously depended on agriculture. Signs of collectivism are evident in the small towns and villages which are spread across the island.

Dominican cuisine is similar to that of other Caribbean countries. Common main courses comprise meat (usually chicken, but can be goat, lamb, or beef) covered in sauce. The sauces are either spicy pepper sauces, or concoctions made from local fruit. A huge variety of local fruit, from tamarind to passion fruit, are served on the island, usually in juice or sauce form. Soursop is peeled and eaten raw. Sorrel, a red flower that only blooms around Christmas, is boiled into a bright red drink.


The island has its own state college, formerly named Clifton Dupigny Community College. Some Dominicans get scholarships from the Cuban government to attend universities in Cuba. Others go to the University of the West Indies or to schools in the United Kingdom, the United States, or other countries for higher education. Ross University, a medical school, is located at Portsmouth. The Archbold Tropical Research and Education Center,[20] a biological field station owned by Clemson University,[21] is located at Springfield Estate between Canefield and Pond Cassé. In 2006, another medical school called All Saints University of Medicine opened in temporary facilities in Loubiere, with a permanent campus being constructed in Grand Bay. Currently All Saints is located in Roseau, Dominica. There is also a marine biology school in Mahaut, I.T.M.E (Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology), 15 minutes north of Roseau.


Cricket is a popular sport on the island, and Dominica competes in test cricket as part of the West Indies cricket team. On October 24, 2007, the 8,000-seat Windsor cricket stadium was completed with a donation of EC$33 million (US$17 million, 12 million) from the government of the People's Republic of China.


Dominica has three major newspapers, The Sun, The Times, and The Chronicle. There are two national television stations and a few radio stations, including Q95 FM,[22] the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation, and Kairi FM.[23] Before 2004, there was one telecommunication company called Cable and Wireless. In 2005, Digicel and a UK-based company called Orange started to offer service to the island. There are a number of mobile networks operating on the island.

Notable people from Dominica

See also

Member of


  1. ^ Dominica Ethnic groups 2001 Census
  2. ^ a b c d "Dominica". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Background note: Dominica". U.S. Department of State (July 2008). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^
  6. ^ Morne Trois Pitons National Park by World Heritage Sites
  7. ^ St. Lucia (2004), Saint Kitts (1999), Hispaniola (Dominican Republic [1990]/Haiti [1982]) and Cuba (multiple)
  8. ^ Jonathan Katz (2007-08-18). "Hurricane Dean Gains Caribbean Strength". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  9. ^ "Hurricane claims one life in St. Lucia and possibly two in Dominica". CBC. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  10. ^ "Dominica Badly Affected". CBC. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  11. ^ Discover Dominica: an introduction to our Caribbean island at
  12. ^ "(Dominica 07/08, U.S. State Dept.)". 
  13. ^ ""(World Bank 'At A Glance')" (PDF). 
  14. ^ DeLollis, Barbara and Hansen, Barbara (January 19, 2009). Bookings started to fall along with stock market. USA Today. 
  15. ^ The Carib Indians
  16. ^ Pickford, John From Our Own Correspondent BBC Radio 4. First broadcast 31 March 2007. Dominica report 17'49" – 22'55"
  17. ^ Tropical Islam
  18. ^ Creole for Beginners
  19. ^ Migration from Montserrat to Dominica
  20. ^ Springfield Guesthouse & the Archbold Tropical Research & Education Center, Dominica
  21. ^ Clemson University
  22. ^ Q95 FM
  23. ^ Kairi FM

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Quick Facts
Capital Roseau
Government Parliamentary democracy; republic within the Commonwealth
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Area total: 754 km2
water: 0 km2
land: 754 km2
Population 68,910 (July 2006 est.)
Language English (official), French patois
Religion Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant 15% (Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Baptist 2%, other 2%), none 2%, other 6%
Calling Code +1 767
Internet TLD .dm
Time Zone UTC-4

Dominica [1] is a part of the region of Central America and is a Caribbean island country between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. It is often known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system. The most mountainous island of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest, thermally active lake in the world.

Should not be confused with the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic.
Map of Dominica
Map of Dominica
Administrative divisions
10 parishes; Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter
  • Central Region The lushly forested and hand-farmed central region is sparsely populated and considered by many to be the most beautiful region. It consists of several villages:
  • Belles
  • Penrice
  • Dleau Gommier
  • Wet Area
  • Stone Hill
  • Jacco Estate Currently a rain forest with a few small farms, previously a coffee plantation and prior to that, the headquarters of the Maroons.
  • Roseau - Capital
  • Portsmouth
  • Scott's Head- Beautiful village at the end of the road on the southwest corner. Scott's Head wraps around the lip of a gently curved bay that happens to be the ancient crater of a volcano. Luckily for divers you can bring your own snorkel or scuba gear and walk out and admire what remains, a 160 meter deep coral lined hole that stretches for hundreds of meters. Several quaint shacks serve decent fare for decent prices. Villagers are curious as visitors are few. The main road ends at a small point on a hill that provides stunning views of both Scott's Head below and Roseau to the north.
The Village of Scott's Head
The Village of Scott's Head
  • Calibishie - Stretching from the rugged mountains of Pennville, through the picturesque fishing village of Calibishie to the crashing surf of the Marigot beaches, the Calibishie Coast is one of the few areas in the world where you can travel from the seashore to the littoral forest to the rain forest in little more than a mile. Experience palm-fringed beaches, freshwater rivers with secluded bathing pools, tumbling waterfalls and the soft wonder of the rain forest with its exotic birds and lush vegetation, all in a days' walk.
  • Morne Trois Pitons National Park A World Heritage Site, it contains many attractions such as the Boiling Lake, the Freshwater Lake, Boeri Lake and Middleham Falls.
  • Boiling Lake A 12 mile round trip hike (8 hours), very steep mostly on steps and switchbacks. A guide is recommended for inexperienced back country hikers, the terrain is rough especially when wet (which it almost always is). The trail is well marked most of the way. The trail is indistinct in the Valley of Desolation but picks up again where vegetation begins. The hike is stunning and the bare volcanic mountain tops make for unforgettable views of rolling mountain tops and steamy volcanic vents. Trail ends at the Boiling Lake, a 100 meter wide lake that is being heated by a volcanic vent and is boiling.
  • Champagne - A snorkelling spot on the southern coast, underwater volcanic vents emit continuous streams of bubbles making the place feel like a giant glass of champagne. The fish and coral are slightly below average.
  • Glassy An incredible and short 2-3 hour day hike in the southeast of the island. The trail begins nicely enough through some farm land and then plunges into a deep jungle valley then approaches the coast skirting steep cliffs to one side (not for those with vertigo). The trail ends on an old volcanic flow that juts into the ocean, waves roll all around crashing on all sides, little ponds collect some of the water from the crashing waves and some coral and fish make the ponds their home. When approaching the edges of the cliffs be aware waves have been known to throw people against the rocks or worse yet pulled them into the ocean to their certain death.
Boiling Lake
Boiling Lake
  • Jaco Steps Ford the creek in Belles and hike into the a rain forest up the side of a nearly inaccessible forest plateau. In 30 minutes you will reach the Jaco Steps. There is not a clear consensus of why these steps were constructed many decades ago. To do a circular route by following the river upstream will add a hour at least to your journey and will involve multiple crossings of the river en route.



Tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall. Flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months.


Rugged mountains of volcanic origin.

highest point 
Morne Diablotin 1,447 m


Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia Charles, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.

Get in

Visitors from the United States, Canada and European Union nations are granted automatic visas on entry for up to 21 days (with extensions available). Other nations should check with Dominica immigration before traveling.

By plane

There are two airports in Dominica, Melville Hall(DOM) and Canefield(DCF). Most commercial flights land at Melville Hall, however, the airport is not able to accommodate jet aircraft landings. The island can be accessed through San Juan, Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Martinique, Guadeloupe and other Caribbean hubs. [2]

By boat

From Martinique and Guadeloupe ferries on most days of the week. Arrival in Roseau.

  • Canadian Sailing Expeditions - Tall Ship Caledonia [3] The Tall Ship Caledonia will arrive in the region in the fall of 2007. Travellers can embark at Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe and sail on to various locations on the island such as Deschaies. The vessel makes a number of stops in the area and visits Roseau & Portsmouth.

Cruise ships increasingly visit. A large pier serves many directly in front of the downtown area. If already occupied, ships dock at the industrial port about 1.5 miles away.

Get around

As far as freedom of movement and exploration a car can be invaluable. Though small the island's tightly turning mountain roads make for relatively long journey and a hair raising experience. Driving is on the left hand side of the road and there are various car rental agencies at both airports. Road Runner Car Rental [4] is an excellent choice, offering a variety of 4x4 vehicles at bargain rates.

  • Honk horn on hairpin turns especially during the day.
  • Beware of large trucks as their width forces other drivers off the road.
  • Watch for large pot holes and crumbling asphalt as roads can be in very poor condition.
  • Ask directions if lost, the locals are very friendly and informative.
  • When in mountains in torrential rains, consider stopping for a bit or at least going very slowly.
  • A compact is sufficient for most situations but a small 4x4 might also be nice. A large 4x4 would be cumbersome on the small streets.


Languages : English (official), French patois


See One week in Dominica for a sample one-week itinerary around the island.

  • JC Ocean Adventures, Mero Village, 767-449-6957, [5]. vary. JC Ocean Adventures offers sportfishing, snorkeling, whale/dolphin watching, coastal cruises, scuba diving, and Discover Scuba Diving. We cater to small groups with personalized service. We provide all needed gear for the trip you choose along with snacks and soft drinks. Come enjoy a relaxing day on the sea with us. varies. (15.25N,61.27W) edit


The best local handicrafts are Carib made baskets. The earth tone colors come from burying the fibers in the ground for different lengths of time. U.S. citizens (likely others) need to ensure that the materials from which they are made allow them to be taken back home.

Dominica is also well known for its music, so be sure to buy some local music while you are on the island. Genres range from jazz, reggae-dancehall, calypso & soca, to Cadence-lypso and Bouyon and which are popular Dominican genres. Visit during the last weekend in October and be treated to the World Creole Music Festival [6] or if you can't make it, ask for the best local artistes, and be aware of pirated copies!

Many kiosks and vendors line the shore at the main cruise ship dock. One excellent leather store faces the dock on the other side of the road. Just a short block inland lies a packed, open-air market with perhaps the island's best selection of souvenirs.

Look out for cacao sticks to make cocoa tea as a nice souvenir to take back home.

  • JC Ocean Adventures, Mero Village, Dominica, 767-449-6957, [7]. vary. JC Ocean Adventures offers sportfishing, snorkeling, whale watching, coastal cruises, scuba diving and Discover Scuba Diving. We cater to small groups with personalized service. We provide all gear required for the trip you choose along with snacks and soft drinks. 50-750 US. (15.25N,61.27W) edit
  • Black Boys Bar, Newtown (end of Newtown before Castle Comfort look for sign on road). 8am - 12am. Eat and drink local food and rum at this waterside local-style bar. Try fried plantains, codfish and bakes, fried fish and tamarind balls under the coconut trees with BlackBoy's choice of reggae music.  edit


Freshly squeezed grapefruit is ubiquitous and is perfect with every meal. Coconut water is cheap and readily available by the side of the road. Another local specialty is sorrel. This red refreshing drink is brewed from the flowers of an hibiscus specie common also in Jamaica. The popular locally brewed beer is Kubuli. Ask your hotel to set up a tour of the brewery.

There are many vendors of fruit juice in Roseau. Almost without exception this is non-pasturised fruit juice with water and sugar added. The added water is usually chlorinated tap water. A juice vendor known as Pal sells his juice by the area where one can find a bus to Portsmouth. Pal is one of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable fruit vendors on the island. He sometimes has juice from rare fruits.

Quenchi is a local soft drink which comes in many different flavors. It can be found in every village (with diet varieties at the IGA in Roseau).

Sorrel, known as the christmas drink for its red colour (and because it only flowers around christmas) is made from boiled flowers. It tastes heavenly.

Avocado pear juice can be purchased in some small cafes and is certainly worth a try. Other flavours include soursop, passionfruit, grapefruit, orange, lime, beetroot.


Many accommodations on the island are outside of the towns. For in-city accommodations, see the respective city articles.

  • Calibishie Cove: [8]. Luxurious suites with amazing views of sea, red rock islands, the coastline, and beaches. Penthouse has a saline plunge pool overlooking Treasure Island with a rooftop balcony overlooking the incredible eastern coastline. All suites have great style and each has a different coastal view.
  • Belle Côte Villa [9] Luxury 3 Bedroom 2 1/2 Bath air conditioned Villa with private swimming pool at Hodges Beach. Sleeps 10 in comfort. Beautiful views. Great place for swimming, snorkeling, fishing, hiking or just relaxing. 15 minutes from the airport and close to Calibishie. Best value for a family or group.
  • 'Jungle Bay Resort & Spa' [10]. Choose from 35 treetop cottages at this 'barefoot luxury' resort. Try the popular ' Jungle Spa Adventure Package' for the best value!
  • Calibishie Lodges [11]. $80-130 USD. Located on hillside above the beach. Pool, gardens, and restaurant.
  • Veranda View A small guest house located in the north part of the Island, Veranda View is an ideal location to base yourself to tour the island. Located 15 minutes from the Melville Hall Airport, the guest house is easy to find on the main road in Calibishie.
  • 'Pointe Baptiste Villa and cottage' [12]. A large and small colonial style historic house located in a 25 acre estate, which includes 2 beaches.
  • 'BareFoot Travel' [13]. Offers a choice of over 30 properties in Dominica. Diving and Adventure Packages.
  • '3 Rivers Eco Lodge' [14]. Individual cottages, dormitory style accommodation, tent rental, as well as a bamboo tree house and two traditional carib Indian jungle huts made from local sustainable materials. The tree house and jungle huts are about 15 minutes hike into the rain forest out on the property.
  • 'Beau Rive' [15]. Stunning cliff views in Carib Territory, rooms are large and airy. Mark, the proprietor, is a charming host and points visitors to some lesser known attractions nearby. Ideal for independent travelers with a vehicle. The food and atmosphere in the dining room is impeccable and reflects the owner's cosmopolitan origins.
  • 'Papillote' [16]. Deep in the jungle built atop bubbling hot springs this little enclave puts you at the foot of the hike to Trafalgar Falls and considerably closer to the Boiling Lake trail head. On site there are two waterfalls, wild fauna, four beautifully set hot spring pools, resident chickens and peacocks. The kitchen serves excellent straightforward healthy fare with a decidedly Caribbean touch.
  • 'WindBlow Villas' [17]. Wind Blow Estate is a villa consisting of three separate suites, each offering total privacy and a full range of amenities for guests. The upper (Suite #1) and lower (Suite #3) feature one bedroom and one bath, a well-appointed kitchen and a spacious living room. The middle (Suite #2) features two bedrooms and two baths, full kitchen facilities and a spacious living room. Wind Blow is designed as a self-catering facility, though you may also wish to enjoy several of our excellent restaurants in the village of Calibishie, an easy 20 minute walk from Wind Blow.
  • 'Nature Island Eco-village', Possibly the cheapest travel option. Only for adventure travellers. The site is only accessable by foot, including a river ford or zip line. Work trade can be arranged in some cases to cover cost of stay.
  • Nature Island Eco-village Offers a hands on course in subsistence farming, organic farming and permaculture principles.
  • Sunset Bay Club & Seaside Dive Resort, Batalie Beach, Coulibistrie, 767-446-6522, [18]. checkin: 2:00 pm; checkout: 12:00 noon. Sunset Bay Club is a cozy beachfront hotel which includes 8 double standard rooms, 4 quadruple standard rooms and 1 stand alone suite set among our lush tropical gardens. We offer on-site restaurant, bar, dive center, pool and sauna. You can choose from our all-inclusive or bed & breakfast plans to suit your needs. Come join us for a quiet, relaxing vacation. varies. (15.27N,61.28W) edit


All work permits are valid for one-year duration and can be renewed. An application involves the submission of two completed copies of the relevant form together with the following supporting documents;

  • Medical certificate;
  • Two testimonials;
  • Banker's financial reference/statement;
  • Police record/statement;
  • Proof of return ticket;
  • Two (2) passport size photographs;
  • Marriage certificate (where applicable);
  • Letter stating duration and type of employment;

Work Exchange at Nature Island Eco-village Tourist permits do not permit work for money, however, work trade is not forbidden.


Founded in 1978 Ross University [19], an American medical school, located in Portsmouth, offers a Basic Sciences curriculum designed to prepare students for licensing and practice in the U.S.

  • Dominica is one of the safest places to travel in the region.
  • There are no poisonous snakes or insects in Dominica

Stay healthy

Tap water is safe to drink, but since it is sometimes drawn straight from Dominica's many rivers, it has a tendency to turn brown after heavy rainfall. It's better to drink the bottled water available almost anywhere.

Basic healthcare is available at Princess Margaret Hospital in Roseau.

North Americans moving to Dominica often experience boils for the first time and fingernail and toenail fungi. Stomach problems are rare among travellers.

Towns are sprayed with insecticides periodically to control the mosquitoes responsible for spreading Dengue fever. However, the spraying may not be done at the scheduled time and pesticides may drift into your home if the windows are open.


In the high lands and uninhabited central regions water is gathered at roadside springs. Sometimes the bus will stop and passengers will fill their water bottles. Locals prefer the taste of this water to bottled water. Public water is bacterially safe to drink due to heavy chlorination and has the expected chlorine flavor.


Area code is 767, on the North American exchange.

Digicel [20] is a local cellular company which provides prepaid plans for those visiting for short periods. Cable & Wireless and Orange also provide cell service.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DOMINICA, the largest of the five presidencies in the colony of the Leeward Islands, British West Indies. It lies in 15° 30' N. and 61° 20' W., between the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, at a distance of about 25 m. from each, is 29 m. long, has a maximum breadth of 16 m. and an area of 291 sq. m. A range of lofty rugged mountains traverses the island from N. to S., broken in the centre by a narrow plain drained by the rivers Layou and Pagoua, flowing W. and E. respectively. The highest point is Morne Diablotin (5314 ft.), situated in the northern half of the range. Signs of volcanic activity abound in the shape of solfataras, subterranean vapours and hot springs; while in the south is the greatest natural curiosity, the renowned Boiling Lake. It lies on the mountain side, 2300 ft. above the sea, its banks are steep and its depth unknown, being more than 300 ft. at a short distance from the margin. Its seething waters are often forced 3 ft. above the normal level by the pressure of the escaping gases; and the fumes rising from the lake are occasionally poisonous. The island is botanically remarkable for its great number of peculiar species, offering in this respect a marked contrast to the poverty of the adjacent islands. The hills are covered with valuable timber, while coffee, limes, oranges, india-rubber trees, spices and all tropical fruits grow luxuriantly in the rich brown mould of the lowlands. There are some thirty streams of considerable size, besides numerous mountain torrents, and this abundance of water renders the island very fertile. The fisheries are productive, and honey and wax are furnished by wild bees, originally introduced from Europe. The temperature varies from 78° to 86° F. in the hot season from August to October, and from 72° to 84° in the cooler months; the rainfall varies in different parts from 50 to 162 in. per annum, but the porous soil soon absorbs the rain, rendering the atmosphere dry and invigorating.

The manufactures include sugar, lime-juice and essential oils; the exports are coffee, cocoa, sugar, limes and lime-juice, essential oils and fruit of all kinds. The inhabitants in 1901 numbered 28,894. The majority are negroes; the whites are of French and British descent. There are also a few Caribs, the remnant of the aboriginal population. A French patois is the language of the peasantry, but English is generally understood. The capital, Roseau (5764), is a fortified town and a port; Portsmouth, the only other town, possesses the better harbour in Prince Rupert's Bay on the north-west. In religion the Roman Catholics predominate, and a bishop resides at Roseau, but there is no established church. Education is free and compulsory, and the Cambridge local examinations are held annually.

Dominica was so named on its discovery by Columbus in 1493, in commemoration of the date, Sunday (DiesDominica) the 3rd of November. Dominica was included in the grant of various islands in the Caribbean Sea made in 1627 by Charles I. to the earl of Carlisle, but the first European settlers (1632) were French. They brought with them negro slaves. and lived on terms of friendship with the Caribs, who were then a numerous body. In 1660 a treaty appears to have been made between the French, British and the natives assigning St Vincent and Dominica to the Caribs, but shortly afterwards attempts were made by the British to gain a foothold in the island. These attempts failed, and in 1748 it was once more agreed by France and Great Britain that Dominica should be left in the undisturbed possession of the natives. Nevertheless the French settlers increased, and the island came under the rule of a French governor. It was captured by the British in 1761 and formally ceded by France at the peace of Paris, 1763, French settlers being secured in their estates. In 1778 a French force from Martinique seized the island. Rodney's victory over De Grasse in the neighbouring sea in 1782 was followed by the restoration of the island to Britain in 1783; in the interval the trade of Dominica had been ruined. In 17 9 5 a force from Guadeloupe made an unsuccessful descent on the island, and in 1805 the French general La Grange, at the head of 4000 troops, took Roseau and pillaged the island - an event now remembered as the most memorable in its history. The French were, however, unable to make good their hold, and Dominica has remained since undisturbed in British possession. Its later history presents few features not common to the other British West Indian islands.

Since 1872 Dominica has formed part of the colony of the Leeward Islands, but local affairs are in the hands of an administrator, aided by an executive council of ten members. In 1898 the local legislature, in consideration of pecuniary assistance from Great Britain, passed an act abrogating the semi-elective constitution and providing for a legislative council of twelve nominated members, six of whom sit ex officio.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun


  1. Country in the Caribbean. Official name: Commonwealth of Dominica.


See also



Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fi

Proper noun


  1. Dominica



German Wikipedia has an article on:

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Proper noun

Dominica n.

  1. Dominica


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

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Proper noun

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Proper noun


  1. Dominica


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