|Commonwealth of Dominica|
|Motto: "Apres Bondie, C'est La Ter" (Kwéyòl)"Post deum terra est " (Latin) ("After God is the earth")|
|Anthem: Isle of Beauty, Isle of Splendour
Location of (circled in red)
in the Caribbean (light yellow)
and largest city
|Government||Unitary parliamentary republic|
|•||Prime Minister||Roosevelt Skerrit|
|Legislature||House of Assembly|
|•||Associated State||1 March 1967|
|•||from the United Kingdom||3 November 1978|
|•||Total||750 km2 (184th)
290 sq mi
|•||July 2009 estimate||72,660 (195th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2012 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|HDI (2014)|| 0.724
high · 94th
|Currency||East Caribbean dollar(XCD)|
|Time zone||Eastern Caribbean(UTC–4)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||DM|
Dominica (// dom-i-nee-kə; French: Dominique; Island Carib: Wai‘tu kubuli), officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island country in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its area is 750 square kilometres (290 sq mi) and the highest point is Morne Diablotins, at 1,447 metres (4,747 ft) elevation. The population was 72,301 at the 2014 census. The capital is Roseau, located on the leeward side of the island.
The island was originally inhabited by the Kalinago and later colonised by the Europeans, predominantey by the French, who arrived at the island on Sunday, 3 November 1493 ("Sunday" = "Dominica" in Latin). Great Britain took it over in 1763 after the Seven Years' War and gradually established English as the official language. The island republic gained independence in 1978.
Its name is pronounced with emphasis on the third syllable, related to its French name of Dominique. Dominica has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its 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 hot spring, Boiling Lake. The island has lush mountainous rainforests, and is the home of many rare plants, animals, and bird species. There are xeric (ancient Greek xērós, “dry") areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall occurs inland. The Sisserou parrot, also known as the imperial amazon and found only on Dominica, is the island's national bird and features on the national flag. Dominica's economy depends on tourism and agriculture.
Before Europeans, the island was inhabited by the Kalinago people (Island Caribs).
Christopher Columbus spotted the island on Sunday 3 November 1493 and named it after the day of the week (dies Dominica in Latin, literally day of the Lord).
For a century, the island remained isolated. As European explorers and settlers entered the region, indigenous refugees from surrounding islands settled Dominica and pushed out the Spanish settlers, who found other areas easier to control and with more resources.
Geography and climate
Dominica is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea, the northernmost of the Windward Islands (though it is sometimes considered the southernmost of the Leeward Islands). The size of the country is about 289.5 square miles (750 km2). The capital is Roseau.
Dominica is largely covered by rainforest and is home to the world's second-largest hot spring, Boiling Lake. Dominica has many waterfalls, springs, and rivers. The Calibishie area in the country's northeast has sandy beaches. Some plants and animals thought to be extinct on surrounding islands can still be found in Dominica's forests. 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.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a tropical forest blended with scenic volcanic features. It was recognised as a World Heritage Site on 4 April 1995, a distinction it shares with four other Caribbean islands.
There are two primary population centres: Roseau (with 14,725 inhabitants in 2011) and Portsmouth (with 4,167 inhabitants in 2011).
Dominica, 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 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 possesses the most pristine wilderness in the Caribbean. Originally, it was protected by sheer mountains which led the European powers to build ports and agricultural settlements on other islands.
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 (Amazona imperialis) is Dominica's national bird and is endemic to its mountain forests. A related species, the Jaco or red-necked parrot (A. arausiaca),. is also a Dominican endemic. Both birds are rare and protected, though some forest is still threatened by logging in addition to the long-standing threat of hurricanes.
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.
There are two regional, and no international airports on the island. The primary airport, Douglas-Charles Airport (DOM), is on the northeast coast and is about a 45-minute drive from Portsmouth (1 hour from Roseau). The second is Canefield Airport (DCF), about 15 minutes from Roseau on the southwest coast. Canfield is served by small aircraft however Douglas-Charles Airport is served by Commuter and Regional Airlines. Air Sunshine offers service to and from Douglas Charles Airport(DOM),St.Thomas(STT) , St. Croix ( STX ),San Juan(SJU).St.Maarten(SXM),Nevis(NEV) and Anguilla ( AXA ) on a regular basis and other destinations on demand.
Dominica's road network runs primarily along the coastline and along river valleys. Major roads are two-lane highways which connect the capital, Roseau, with Portsmouth (Edward Oliver Leblanc Highway) and the Douglas Charles Airport (Dr. Nicholas Liverpool Highway). It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Portsmouth to Roseau. Private minibuses form the major public transport system. These major roads were recently reconstructed with assistance from the People's Republic of China and the European Union.
Due to Tropical Storm Erika, several road surfaces and bridges were damaged by flooding and landslides, including on the newly completed E.O. LeBlanc (Roseau to Portsmouth) and Dr. Nicholas Liverpool Highways (Pont Casse to Douglas Charles Airport). As of October 2015, communities in the south-east of the country remain inaccessible to road traffic.
The vast majority of Dominicans are of African descent. There is a growing mixed population, along with a significant 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. As of 2014 there are more than 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.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 States (8,560), the United Kingdom (6,739), Canada (605) and France (394).
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 70,000 inhabitants—three times the average incidence of centenarianism in developed countries. The reasons for this are the subject of current research being undertaken at Ross University School of Medicine.Languages
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 (it lies between the two French-speaking departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe), Antillean Creole, based on French, is spoken by many people on the island. The French creole language is particularly used among the older generation, which also speaks a language known as "patois". Because of a decline in its usage by the younger generation, initiatives have been set up in an effort to increase usage and promote this unique part of the nation's history and culture.