Dominica Travel Information

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Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Facts About Dominica

Background: 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.
Government type: parliamentary democracy; republic within the Commonwealth
Capital: Roseau
Currency: 1 East Caribbean dollar (EC$) = 100 cents

Geography of Dominica

Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 15 25 N, 61 20 W
total: 754 sq km
land: 754 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 148 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall
Terrain: rugged mountains of volcanic origin
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Morne Diablatins 1,447 m
Natural resources: timber, hydropower, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 13%
permanent pastures: 3%
forests and woodland: 67%
other: 8% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: Dominica is 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.

People 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; however, because of historic French domination, the most widely spoken dialect is a French patois. About 80% of the population is Catholic. In recent years, a number of Protestant churches have been established.

Population: 69,029 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  28.72% (male 10,300; female 10,027)
15-64 years:  63.45% (male 23,056; female 21,855)
65 years and over:  7.83%
Population growth rate: -0.98% 
Birth rate: 17.81 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.19 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -20.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 16.54 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  73.6 years
male:  70.74 years
female:  76.61 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.03 children born/woman 
noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican
Ethnic groups: black, Carib Amerindian
Religions: Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant 15% (Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Baptist 2%, other 2%), none 2%, other 6%
Languages: English (official), French patois
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 94%
male: 94%
female: 94% (1970 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Dominica > Map Economy History