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Commonwealth of Dominica
Commonwealth Dominica
Flag of Dominica
Dominica coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : Après Bondie, C'est La Ter

( Creole for "According to God the land")

Official language English
Capital Roseau
Form of government republic
Head of state President Charles Savarin
Head of government Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit
surface 746 km²
population 71,293 (2011 census)
Population density 97 inhabitants per km²
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 520 million ( 183. )
  • $ 805 million ( 183. )
  • 7,356 USD ( 80. )
  • 11,375 USD ( 103. )
Human Development Index 0.717 (93.)
currency East Caribbean Dollar (XCD)
independence November 3, 1978
(from the UK )
National anthem Isle of Beauty, Isle of Splendor
National holiday November 3rd (Independence Day)
Time zone UTC − 4
License Plate WD
Internet TLD .dm
Telephone code +1 (767) see NANP
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Dominica seen from space
Dominica seen from space

Dominica (officially Commonwealth Dominica ) is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean . The state extends over the island of the same name and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations .

In the language of the Caribbean indigenous population, the island was called Ouaitocoubouli because of its mountainous terrain profile (in another transcription Wai'tukubuli , German “her body is high”).

In addition to the official language English , Antilles Creole , called Patwa (Patois) by the inhabitants , is a common language .


The island of Dominica has an area of ​​around 750 km² and is almost 49 km long and no more than 23 km wide. It lies between the French Caribbean islands of two overseas departments : Guadeloupe in the north and Martinique in the south. About 250 km to the west is the uninhabited Venezuelan island of Aves .

As one of the West Indies in the eastern arch of the Lesser Antilles , Dominica is one of the Leeward Islands .

According to British usage, Dominica is one of the "Leeward Islands", which means the northern part of the archipelago that is referred to as the Leeward Islands in German and other languages. However, since Dominica lies roughly in the middle of the island arc, the delimitation of the northern (English Leeward Islands ) compared to further south (English Windward Islands ) islands of this chain is drawn differently in several linguistic areas and the West Indian English partly follows international usage Dominica is also regarded as the northernmost of the "Windward Islands".

Beach at Calibishie
Rainforest at the Trafalgar waterfalls

Dominica bears the unofficial nickname the nature island (" the nature island ") because of its lush and species-rich flora and fauna. Some of the highest mountains in the Lesser Antilles, over 300 rivers or streams and several lakes such as Freshwater and Boeri Lake and hot springs can be found here. The highest point on this island of volcanic origin is the Morne Diablotins with 1447 m; As the second highest mountain in the Lesser Antilles, it is only overlooked by the active volcano Soufrière on the neighboring island of Basse-Terre Guadeloupes. Many of Dominica's attractions are located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park , which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 .

The largest cities on Dominica are (as of January 1, 2005):

  1. Roseau : 16,074 inhabitants
  2. Portsmouth : 3,633 residents
  3. Berekua : 3,195 inhabitants
  4. Marigot : 2,669 inhabitants
  5. Grand Bay : 2,608 inhabitants

See also: List of cities in Dominica


The climate is tropical , tempered by northeasterly winds, with heavy rainfall, which can lead to floods and landslides , especially in the hurricane season between May and November .


  • In November 1999, Hurricane Lenny left a trail of devastation on the west coast.
  • In August 2007, Hurricane Dean hit the island, killing at least two people.
  • In August 2015, 39 people were killed in tropical storm Erika . The material damage as a result of Erika added up to 90% of the gross domestic product of the previous year.
  • On the night of September 18-19, 2017, Hurricane Maria moved his eye over Dominica and left great devastation. 65 people were killed, including 34 missing people who could not be found and were pronounced dead. Immediately after the devastating hurricane, many cities on the island were looted , in which police officers were also involved. The total damage including production downtimes amounted to over 1.4 billion USD and thus almost double the gross domestic product of 2016.


Dominica has 71,293 inhabitants (2011 census). Due to the high level of migration (mainly to other Caribbean island states , the USA and Canada ), the growth rate is only 0.184%. About 80% of the population are Catholic , 15% Protestant (5% Methodists , 3% Pentecostals , 3% Adventists , 2% Baptists , 2% others). Voodoo and voodoo- like religions are also widespread and are often practiced in parallel to the Christian creeds .

The Dominican population is divided into the following groups: 86.8% blacks , 8.9% mulattos , 2.9% Caribs and 0.8% Europeans .

According to the StAGN, the citizens of Dominica are called “Dominicans”, in contrast to the citizens of the Dominican Republic , which is much larger in area and located in the northwest , who are called “Dominicans”.

Population development

year population
1950 51,100
1960 60.011
1970 71,073
1980 75,314
1990 70,926
2000 69,676
2010 71,440
2017 73,925

Source: UN


The Caribbean takes its name from these indigenous people who call themselves Kalinago or Kalinagos there. The largest almost homogeneous population of the Caribs worldwide lives in a reserve (Carib Territory) in eastern Dominica . The figures on the unmixed indigenous peoples of this reserve diverge. Dominica Weekly names 1000 unmixed Caribs for 2008. Deviating from this, a caribean puts the number of unmixed Caribs in the reserve at only around 300. The British colonial government established the Carib reserve in 1903, its chief is Garnet Joseph, who was elected in July 2009.

In 1902 Henry Hesketh Bell (1864–1952), the island's administrator, wrote to Joseph Chamberlain , the British Secretary of State for the Colonies , that at the time of discovery, some islands were "mild and shy". , traded for warlike Caribs on the small islands, as he believed to be known by French historians of the 17th century. Because of their indomitable - “heroic” - resistance, they avoided slavery on the other islands, according to Bell. He also reports that the Caribs came from the mainland as conquerors and subdued the Arrowak. From now on, the daughters spoke the Caribbean language, but the sons spoke the Arouak language. The population was small overall, the villages called "Carbet" never consisted of more than 30 huts and were located on the coast. The Caribs only went into the mountains to hunt. They built ocean-going canoes and went fishing with them. The fact that they went on a slave hunt can be considered certain, but whether the rumors of cannibalism had a real basis or just served to deter the Spaniards is unclear.

In any case, as early as 1547, this was the argument that allowed the enslavement of the Caribs by the Spanish king. However, since they were worthless as slaves - they would rather die than live as slaves - they were killed instantly and without any contact. Around 1600 the Caribs ruled only Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique. Europeans, in this case French, also settled on Dominica. One of them, Du Tertre, gave the number of Caribs for 1633 as 938, which were spread over 32 villages. In contrast, there were 349 French on the island, plus 23 mulattos and 338 black slaves. In 1635 several Carib associations attempted an attack on Guadeloupe, but it was repulsed and then used as an excuse to exterminate the Caribs on Guadeloupe. Some escaped to Dominica. Since they apparently proceeded in exactly the same way in Martinique, numerous refugees came to Dominica, where the majority of the Caribs now lived. The local French had to give way to their superiority. In 1666 the French also evacuated Antigua . In the Treaty of Aachen of 1748, in which the ownership structure was also regulated in this region, Dominica appears as a neutral island as it did not belong to any of the colonial powers. Nevertheless, French settlements emerged on the west side of Dominica and the Caribs could not drive out the settlers. The British supported the Caribs against the French, but as soon as they became colonial masters themselves in 1763, they treated the Indians themselves as the French had previously done. Only a tiny area of ​​less than one square kilometer (232 acres) would eventually be left to them. But the Caribs successfully defended the interior, and escaped slaves joined them. In 1791 there were only 20 to 30 families and they had fled to the northeast of the island, to the villages of Salybia and Bataka. In addition, they are said to have given up cannibalism around this time. At the end of the 19th century they were so assimilated that, as Bell wrote, they wore black skirts and high hats on Sundays. He estimated the number of full-blooded Caribs at 120, plus around 280 mixed race. Rochefort compiled a brief glossary in 1665. Around 1900 its chief was Auguste François, but he was called "Ogiste". Bell suggested enlarging the Carib Reserve to 3700 acres (15 km²).

In May 2008, Chief Charles Williams proposed that marriages between the 1,000 or so Kalinagos, as the Caribs are called in contrast to the others living on the reservation, and non-Kalinagos be banned, but the government rejected the program to save the last Carib population, because this restricts freedoms.

Very old people

An unusually large number of centenars , i.e. people over a hundred years of age, live on Dominica . In 2001 more than 20 were officially recorded, which corresponds to a rate of one centenary per 3450 inhabitants (for comparison: in Germany the rate is approx. 1 in 12,200, as of 2000, i.e. almost 75% lower). Legends are still entwined with one of the supposedly oldest people in the world, the Dominican Mione Elizabeth George Israel or simply Ma Pampo , who died on October 14, 2003 at the legendary age of 128 on Dominica. To date, however, there is no document that could unequivocally prove her birthday (January 27, 1875) (see also the article oldest person ).


Between 5000 and 3100 BC The first human traces can be detected. For a long time the assumption dominated that the Ciboney or stone people lived on the island first , then the peaceful Arawak appeared, who had been exterminated by the warring Caribs.

Dominica was discovered by Columbus on November 3, 1493 on his second voyage, but he did not go ashore. Columbus named the island after the day of the week it was discovered , a Sunday (in Latin: Dominica). The residents were obviously afraid of people who came from Carib or Canib, as a result of which the word Caniba, cannibals, penetrated Spanish and from there into many languages. The Caribs living on the mainland continued to be called this by ethnologists, the other groups were given the name Island Caribs. These are called Kalinago and they controlled the islands between around 1400 and 1700. Their notorious robbery trips are more likely to be addressed as women robberies than cannibal trips. Their last refuge was Dominica after St. Vincent became British in 1796 and several thousand of them were deported.

Roseau , Dominica, 1780

Dominica came to the Earl of Carlisle in 1627, and England claimed the island until 1748 when it ceded Dominica to France. But as early as 1635 an agreement was reached with France, which had tried to proselytize the Indians, to leave the island to the residents.

Dominica was the last Caribbean island colonized by Europeans because of the particularly strong resistance of the indigenous people . In 1763 the French gave the island to Great Britain , which declared it a colony in 1805 . It was administered by the Government of Grenada , but Dominica received its own legislative assembly in 1768. After a five-year French interlude (1783-88), the island came back to Great Britain. In 1784 there was the Maroon Revolt, in 1831 all non-whites received full civil rights, and in 1834 slavery was abolished. The main export product at that time was coffee, which made up around a third of the export value. In 1838 the mulattos achieved a majority for the first time under the leadership of the newspaper publisher George Charles Falconer.

In 1865 the island was elevated to a crown colony, but it was not until 1898 that this was put into practice when the administrator Sir Hesketh Bell was posted. It was not until 1938 that political pressure was given in, and the Moyne Commission considered the formation of parties to be appropriate. In 1951, the electoral law based on wealth was abolished and it was replaced by equal voting rights. The women's suffrage was introduced also the 1,951th It was confirmed upon independence in 1978.

Parties emerged and in 1957 the island received its first Chief Minister. In 1957/58 the West Indian Federation was formed , but it was dissolved in 1962. In 1967 the island was granted limited independence, as defense and foreign policy remained with Great Britain. Independence from Great Britain was finally proclaimed on November 3, 1978, and Dominica has been a member of the United Nations since December 8, 1978 .

First Prime Minister was Patrick John from the social democratic DLP. His reign was marked by personal gain and corruption, which among other things led to bloody demonstrations. A national emergency committee, the Committee for National Salvation (CNS), elected Minister of Economy Oliver J. Seraphin as Prime Minister on June 21, 1979 . In June 1980, Mary Eugenia Charles was elected as successor by the DFP party and remained in office as the first head of state in the Caribbean region for 15 years. Patrick John failed in 1981 with the attempt to overthrow Prime Minister Eugenia Charles' government with the help of members of the right-wing American Ku Klux Klan . Because of this coup attempt , the armed forces were disbanded. 1997 of 1975, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park , named after the mountain, to the World Heritage of UNESCO appointed. Pirate films such as Pirates of the Caribbean made another contribution to the boom in tourism from 2003 onwards .

After the sudden death of Prime Minister Pierre Charles , Roosevelt Skerrit took over in 2004 .


Dominica gained independence from Great Britain on November 3, 1978 . The country is a parliamentary republic with a unicameral parliament, the House of Assembly , with a five-year legislature and 30 members. Of these, 21 are elected, 5 by the head of government and 4 by the opposition. All persons over the age of 18 are entitled to vote.

As in the elections in 2000, 2002, 2009 and 2014, the Dominica Labor Party also won the general election on December 6, 2019, making it the fifth consecutive election. It received 59% of the vote and won the MP in 18 of 21 constituencies. The United Workers Party won 41% of the vote and 3 seats in the House of Assembly. Thus Roosevelt Skerrit was re-elected Prime Minister for a further term.

The country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations , the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States ( CELAC ), the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) ) and the Bolivarian Alliance for America (ALBA). In addition, it is one of the sponsors of the University of the West Indies .

See also:

Administrative division

Dominica is divided into ten parishes as administrative districts. The population figures in the following table refer to the census of May 12, 2001.

Saint Mark Saint Luke Saint George Saint David Saint Paul Saint Joseph Saint Peter Saint John Saint Andrew
Parishes in Dominica
No. Parish main place Area
Inhabitants /
1 Saint Andrew Wesley 179.6 10,240 57
2 Saint David Rosalie 126.8 6,758 53
3 Saint George Roseau 53.5 19,825 371
4th Saint John Portsmouth 58.5 5,327 91
5 Saint Joseph Saint Joseph 120.1 5,765 48
6th Saint Luke Pointe Michel 11.1 1,571 142
7th Saint Mark Soufrière 9.9 1,907 193
8th Saint Patrick Berekua 84.4 8,383 99
9 Saint Paul Pont Cassé 67.4 8,397 125
10 Saint Peter Coli skin 27.7 1,452 52
  Dominica Roseau 739 71,474 97

Source: Central Statistical Office of Dominica


The road network has a length of 780 km, of which 387 km are unpaved (as of 1999). There are seaports in Portsmouth and Roseau .

Dominica has two airports: Douglas-Charles Airport ( IATA airport code DOM) and Canefield Airport ( IATA code DCF). Both do not have international approval for large passenger planes, which is seen as one of the main obstacles to the island nation's tourist development. Douglas-Charles Airport was called Melville Hall Airport until it was officially renamed on October 27, 2014 and has been expanded in recent years with financial support from the EU and Venezuela and has had a longer and wider runway and an instrument landing system since the end of 2010 , so that you can land at night and when visibility is poor. Until April 2019, Dominica was the last country in the world to operate an airport without being a member of the ICAO .

As part of the Eco-Tourism Development Program , a decompression chamber for emergency care in the event of diving accidents was set up at the Princess Margaret Hospital , Roseau, with funding from the European Union .

The basic supply of medical equipment and supplies in Dominica's hospitals is not always guaranteed.



Dominica's economy is dependent on agriculture, especially on bananas , and remains very vulnerable due to the climatic conditions and the dependence on international funding projects. With a GDP per capita of US $ 7356 in 2016, the country was roughly the same level of wealth as Bulgaria.

The Hurricanes Marilyn and Luis devastated the banana crop in 1995 almost completely after 1994 tropical storms zunichtemachten a quarter of the harvest. The economy later recovered through growth in the construction industry, soap production and tourism . However, tourism development is slow, mainly because of the rough coastline, the almost complete lack of sandy beaches (with a few exceptions on the west coast, e.g. at Salisbury ) and the lack of an international airport . Economic growth is sluggish and unemployment is over 20%.

The European Union is currently Dominica's most important partner in promoting the economy and tourism. Between 2002 and 2006 the government tried to gradually build up an ecologically oriented tourism industry with the " Eco-Tourism Development Program (ETDP)" , a funding program for ecotourism in cooperation with the EU .

The government's attempts to promote tourism have so far shown little success. The multi-million dollar investments that have flowed into the expansion of Douglas-Charles Airport are viewed by critics as useless, since the airport still has no international approval and only small planes from the surrounding islands can land there.

In December 2007, Dominica received 36 million XCD (approx. 9.1 million euros) as funding from the EU's development aid budget.

Dominica is a member of the Petrocaribe economic alliance, through which the island receives Venezuelan oil at preferential prices, and a member of the ALBA alliance . Dominica wants to build a refinery on the island together with Venezuela and work together in the field of geothermal energy generation and hydropower .

State budget

The state budget in 2009 comprised expenditures of the equivalent of 84.4 million US dollars , which was offset by income of the equivalent of 73.9 million US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 2.8% of GDP .
The national debt in 2008 was $ 136 million, or 37.3% of GDP.

In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:


public holidays

date Surname German name Remarks
January 1st New Year
January 2nd January 2nd
February March carnival Carnival Monday
February March Ash Wednesday
March April Good Friday
March April Easter Easter Monday
May First of May This holiday always falls on the first Monday in May.
May Pentecost Whit Monday
August 1st Day of Emancipation
November 3rd Independence day
November 4th Day for the good of the people
December 25th and 26th Christmas 1st and 2nd Christmas Day

Famous Dominicans



  • Christian Cwik, Verena Muth: Dominica. In: Wolfgang Gieler , Markus Porsche-Ludwig (Hrsg.): State dictionary America: Geography, history, culture, politics and economy. Peter Lang, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-631-77017-7 , pp. 151-162.
  • Nancy H. Owen: Land, Politics, and Ethnicity in a Carib Indian Community . In: Ethnology, Vol. 14, 1975, No. 4, pp. 385-393.
  • Peter Hulme: Remnants of Conquest The Island Caribs and their Visitors, 1877–1998 Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000.
  • Lennox Honychurch: The Dominica Story. A History of the Island. Macmillan, London 1995, ISBN 978-0-333-62776-1 .

Web links

Commons : Dominica  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Dominica  - geographical and historical maps
Wiktionary: Dominica  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. [1] (PDF) International Monetary Fund
  2. Human Development Report Office: Dominica - Country Profile: Human Development Indicators , accessed October 25, 2014
  3. Dominica Begins to Recover from Hurricane Dean ,, message dated August 18, 2007, accessed October 21, 2017.
  4. : Grenada in the Paris Club ( Memento of the original from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed December 4, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: Dominica: Hurricane Maria - Information Bulletin no.2 , September 25, 2017, accessed on October 21, 2017 (PDF).
  6. ^ Maria among 2017's retired storm names. Dominica News Online , April 12, 2018, accessed February 18, 2019 .
  7. Looting. The Sun Dominica , December 19, 2017, accessed May 3, 2018 .
  8. ^ Labor cannot handle it alone , The Sun Dominica, December 8, 2017, accessed December 19, 2017.
  9. Central Statistical Office: Commonwealth of Dominica - 2011 Population and Housing Census. Preliminary Results . Ministry Of Finance, Roseau 2011, p. 10.
  10. Country information from the Federal Foreign Office on Dominica
  11. World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 28, 2017 .
  12. Dominica rejects legislating intermarriage to save Carib Indians, in: Dominica Weekly, May 13, 2008
  13. Saturine Dodds: Caribs. BBC , archived from the original on August 18, 2011 ; accessed on August 18, 2011 .
  14. A "mild and timid race", as he said. This and the following, according to Henry Hesketh Bell: Report on the Caribs of Dominica. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of His Majesty. October 1902 . His Majesty's Stationery Office, London 1902 (an excerpt from it online: No. 21: Letter from Henry Hesketh Bell to Joseph Chamberlain, July 29, 1902 ).
  15. Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Isles Antilles del'Amerique, Rotterdam 1665.
  16. Dominica rejects legislating intermarriage to save Carib Indians, in: Dominica Weekly, May 13, 2008
  17. ^ Dominica's Centenarians
  18. Numbers and facts ( Memento from May 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) ZDWA - Rostocker Zentrum
  19. ^ Jad Adams: Women and the Vote. A world history. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-870684-7 , page 438
  20. - New Parline: the IPU's Open Data Platform (beta). In: Retrieved September 30, 2018 .
  21. ^ Gabriel J. Christian: A Rain of Stones. The May 29th, 1979 Riot and Aftermath . In: Irving W. André, Gabriel J. Christian: In search of Eden. Dominica, the travails of a Caribbean mini-state . Pond Casse Press, Upper Marlboro 1992, ISBN 0-9699857-5-4 , pp. 119-150, here pp. 145-146.
  22. Dominica General Election Results - 6 December 2019 , accessed January 13, 2020.
  23. ^ Dominica Officially Begins Night Landing at Melville Hall Airport. In: Dominica Central Newspaper. September 20, 2010, archived from the original on July 21, 2011 ; accessed on July 21, 2011 .
  24. Dominica becomes ICAO's 193rd Member State. Retrieved November 18, 2019 .
  25. ^ Dominica Chamber to be Installed. In: International Diving Industry Directory. July 7, 2006, archived from the original on July 21, 2011 ; accessed on July 21, 2011 .
  26. ^ Thomas Fontaine: Princess Margaret Hospital - In Critical Need of Medical Supplies. In: TheDominican.Net. July 29, 2002, archived from the original on July 21, 2011 ; accessed on July 21, 2011 .
  27. Eco-tourism Development Program ( Memento of April 30, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  28. Douglas condemns his Government's Failure to Invest in Tourism says Prevost. In: Dominica Central Newspaper. July 15, 2011, archived from the original on August 2, 2011 ; accessed on August 2, 2011 .
  29. Dominica to receive $ 36 million in development assistance from the EU .
  30. Maxim Graubner: The island republic of Dominica joins Alba ,, January 13, 2008
  31. a b c The World Factbook
  32. index mundi
  33. ^ The Fischer World Almanac 2010: Figures Data Facts, Fischer, Frankfurt, September 8, 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-72910-4

Coordinates: 15 ° 26 ′  N , 61 ° 21 ′  W