From Academic Kids

The Commonwealth of Dominica which geographically lies between two overseas departments or "territories" of France: Guadeloupe to the North, and Martinique to the South, Dominica is sometimes referred to as "French Dominica" or by the nickname "The Nature Isle of the Caribbean" due to its seemingly unspoiled natural beauty in comparison to other isles in the region.

Dominica is a lush island of mountainous rainforests and plenty of rare exotic plants, animals and bird species. The isle of Dominica is one of the youngest islands in the Lesser Antillies, and is actually still being formed by naturally occurring geothermal and volcano-related activity. Dominica is currently heavily dependent on it's tourism industry. Template:Dominica infobox The name is pronounced "do-min-EE-ka" (IPA: ) with the emphasis on the third syllable, the name in Latin, means Sunday. It should not be confused with the Dominican Republic ("do-MIN-i-kun"), another Caribbean nation.



Main article: History of Dominica

First sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the Spanish first encounter Dominica's community of pre-Columbian peoples indigenous to the region known as the Caribs and leave the island after being defeated. In 1627 the British also try and fail at capturing Dominica. Soon after in 1635 the French claim the island and send in missionaries, but are also unable to occupy Dominica from the Carib Indians as they are known, and end up abandoning the island along with the island of Saint Vincent in the 1660s.

For the next one-hundred years Dominica remains isolated and yet more Caribs from other islands settle in Dominica after being driven from surrounding islands and cornered in Dominica by European powers entering into the region. France formally cedes possession of Dominica to Britain in 1763, which then made the island a colony in 1805 and a government is finally setup by the British. The Emancipation of African slaves occures through-out the British Empire in 1834 and by 1838 Dominica became the first and only British Caribbean colony at the time to have a Black-controlled legislature. In 1896 Britain re-takes government control of Dominica, and turns it into a crown colony. Half a century later Dominica became a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation in 1958 to 1962. In 1978 Dominica became an independent nation. In 1980, 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.


Main article: Politics of Dominica

Dominica is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth. The President is head of state, while executive power rests with the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister. The unicameral parliament consists of the 30-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.

Unlike other former British colonies in the region, Dominica was never a Commonwealth realm with the British monarch as head of state, as it instead became a republic on independence.

Dominica is a full & participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).


Main article: Parishes of Dominica


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Map of Dominica

Main article: Geography of Dominica

The Commonwealth of Dominica is an island nation and borderless country in the Caribbean. The size of the country is about 751 sq. km. (290 square miles), Dominica is often time cited as the Nature Island of the Caribbean, it is largely covered by lush rainforest, and is home to the world's second-largest boiling lake. Being somewhat of a mountainous island Dominica also has large amount of fresh water springs, waterfalls and rivers, 365 of them to be exact. Some plants and animals thought to be long extinct from surrounding islands are observed to be thriving in many of Dominica's unspoiled forests.

The Commonwealth of Dominica is engaged in a long running high-level dispute with Venezuela, over the laters claim over Bird Island located 110 km(70 miles) west of the island of Dominica.

The capital of the Commonwealth of Dominica is Roseau.


The Dominican economy is dependent on tourism and agriculture, especially the banana industry. 40% of Dominican workers are in the agricultural sector, and Dominica's primary exports (bananas, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, and oranges) are mainly agricultural. The country has some industries (soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, and shoes), and 32% of the workforce is in the industrial sector.

The Dominican economy has high poverty(30%), unemployment(23%), and a low per capita GDP($5,400). The Dominican economy has been hurt by problems in the banana industry. The entire economy suffers when weather conditions damage the banana crop or when the price of bananas falls. The EU has phased out preferred access of bananas to its market, causing banana demand to fall. In response, the government has privatized the banana industry. Also, the Dominican government has attempted to diversify the economy and lifted price controls in attempt to improve the lagging economy. The government has plans to build a refinery and is encouraging the growth of an offshore financial sector. The government is also trying to develop tourism, especially ecotourism. A lack of an international airport and beaches make opportunities for standard tourism lacking, but the heavily rainforested island could lure those who want unconventional ecotourism experiences.


Main article: Demographics of Dominica

Almost all Dominicans are descendants of African slaves brought in by colonial planters in the 18th century. Dominica is the only island in the eastern Caribbean to retain some of its pre-Columbian population--the Carib Indians--about 3,000 of whom live on the island's east coast.

The population growth rate is very low, due primarily to emigration to more prosperous Caribbean Islands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. English is the official language and universally understood; however, because of historic French domination, Antillean Creole, a French patois, is also widely spoken. About 80% of the population is Catholic. In recent years, a number of Protestant churches have been established.


Main article: Culture of Dominica

The famed novelist Jean Rhys was born and raised in Dominica. The island is obliquely depicted in her most well-known book, Wide Sargasso Sea.

See also

External link

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Countries in West Indies

Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas | Barbados | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Haiti | Jamaica | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad and Tobago

Dependencies: Anguilla | Aruba | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Guadeloupe | Martinique | Montserrat | Navassa Island | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Turks and Caicos Islands | U.S. Virgin Islands

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
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Flag of the Caribbean Community

Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas¹ | Barbados | Belize | Dominica | Grenada | Guyana | Haiti | Jamaica | Montserrat | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Suriname | Trinidad and Tobago
Associate members: Anguilla | Bermuda | Cayman Islands | British Virgin Islands | Turks and Caicos Islands
Observer status: Aruba | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Mexico | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Venezuela
¹ member of the community but not the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy.
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