Dominica is a small Caribbean Island nation that lies nestled between Martinique and Guadeloupe. Although popular for its glorious beaches and lovely warm climate, there is a lot more to the country waiting to be discovered and we’ve rounded up 30 things you didn’t know about Dominica.
Discover how much this breathtaking island has to offer with these 30 things you didn’t know about Dominica below:
History, laws and interesting numbers!
1. Christopher Columbus named Dominica. Early Carib settlers originally named the island Watikubuli, which means ‘Tall is her Body’ but it is the name – Dominica- that has stuck. Christopher Columbus first spotted the island in 1493 and named it after the day of the week – Domingo (Sunday).
2. The Nature Isle’s motto is: Après le Bon Dieu, c’est la Terre. ‘Après le Bon Dieu, c’est la Terre’ translates to ‘After God, the Earth’ and perfectly encapsulates Dominica’s environmental ethos.
It was suggested by historian Fr. R. Proesman in the 1960s, who recorded a song two decades earlier featuring those words. Dominican Chief Minister F.A. Baron and British Administrator Alec Lovelace were developing a motto and crest for Dominica at the time, and readily accepted it.
3. 3 November 1978 marks the Date of Independence. Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom on 3 November 1978, becoming a republic within the Commonwealth. Independence Day is celebrated every year, and marked by nationwide festivities, including: musical festivals, cultural markets, and beauty pageants.
4. Isle of Beauty, Isle of Splendour is the National Anthem. Dominica introduced this national anthem when it gained statehood in 1967. Lyrics were written by Wilfred Oscar Morgan with music composed by Lemuel McPherson Christian OBE.
5. Dominica follows a Parliamentary Republic government system. Dominica is a Parliamentary Democratic Republic. The Executive Branch consists of the President and the Prime Minister, where the former is nominated by the latter, in consultation with the leader of the opposition party.
Subsequently, Dominica has a two-party system, consisting of the incumbent Dominica Labour Party and the United Worker’s Party. Elections take place at least every five years, with universal suffrage for adults.
6. His Excellency, the Honourable Charles Savarin is the Head of State. The current Dominican head of state is Charles Savarin, who became the country’s eighth president in October 2013. He is a member of the Dominica Labour Party, and previously worked as a teacher, trade unionist, parliamentarian, diplomat, and government minister. Savarin was nominated by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who has been Dominica’s head of government since August 2004.
7. The legal system is based on English Common Law. Dominica’s legal system is based on English Common Law, just like one-third of the world’s jurisdictions. Dominica has a written constitution that all laws must adhere to which includes the right to life, personal liberty, and freedom of expression.
The hierarchy of the country’s courts is; Magistrate Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and lastly, The Court of Appeal the Privy Council.
9. The Dominican flag is one of only two national flags with the colour purple. Interestingly, Dominica’s national flag is one of only two national flags to incorporate the colour purple (the other being the Nicaraguan national flag). The Dominican national flag features a Sisserou Parrot that has purple feathers on the underside and the crown.
Landscape, special attractions and traditions.
10. Dominica is also known as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean. Due to its incredible natural beauty, Dominica is often warmly referred to as “The Nature Isle of the Caribbean.” Much of the island is covered in lush forests. A trip around Dominica gives visitors a chance to experience wonderous waterfalls and mud ponds. Parrots, iguanas and rare butterflies make up some of Dominica’s remarkable fauna.
11. ‘Bwa Kwaib’ or ‘Carib Wood’ is the national flower. The Bwa Kwaib grows wild in dry coastal areas, and bright red flowers bloom along its branches.
12. The National Bird of Dominica is the Sisserou Parrot. The Imperial parrot, or Sisserou (Amazona Imperialis) is endemic to Dominica’s dense mountain forests and is the country’s national bird.
However, the large, shy creature is also on the critically endangered list, and it is estimated that there are only about 50 mature individuals left in the wild.
13. Dominica is the only country in the world where sperm whales reside year-round! Sperm whales choose Dominica’s waters as their only year-round home, and the likelihood of seeing them is always surprisingly good, as whales and dolphins live close to shore no matter the weather.
14. The Island is home to a frog known as “mountain chicken”. Officially named the Giant Ditch Frog, the locally known “mountain chicken” is probably the most fascinating animal on the island. The latter name been given due to its size and the fact that it tastes like chicken.
15. Home to the Caribbean’s first long-distance hiking trail. The Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) is the first long-distance hiking trail in the Caribbean. It is 183 km long and is split into 14 sections. Built between 2007 and 2012, the route spans the full length of Dominica and traverses some of the country’s most dramatic scenery. It takes roughly two weeks to complete the route.
16. Dominica is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is the one and only Heritage Site in Dominica and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
This national park dominates the southern half of the island and contains many of Dominica’s most spectacular attractions including: the Titou Gorge, Boeri, Freshwater Lakes, Boiling Lake, and the Middleham Falls.
Amazingly, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park covers roughly 9 per cent of Dominica’s land area.
17. Dominica has practised herbal medicine for centuries. The original habitants of the island, the Caribs, and later Africans, brought with them an intense knowledge of plants and herbs. This knowledge has been passed down generation after generation and many herbs like Moringa, Basil and Dandelion are still used today in what is often referred to as “bush medicine.”
Business, fun facts and geographical features
18. Dominica’s main industries are: Agriculture, Tourism and Manufacturing. Over 20 per cent of the island’s land is arable and under cultivation, with bananas traditionally serving as Dominica’s largest export. However, in recent years Dominica increased the production of other fruits, as well as vegetables and coffee.
Meanwhile, the country’s tourism sector continues to steadily grow, with Dominica’s delights attracting around 200,000 holidaymakers a year.
Finally, the island’s manufacturing industry primarily depends on raw materials from the agricultural sector, where in-demand exports include coconut soap, ceramics and shoes.
19. Dominica uses the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD) as its official currency. Foreign currencies including the euro and dollar are also accepted as tender. The country adopted the currency in 1965 and shares it with seven other members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It is also pegged to the US dollar at a rate of USD $1 to ECD (East Caribbean Dollar) $2.70. As Dominica is a member of the Commonwealth, all banknotes and coins feature an image of King Charles III.
20. Dominica has a GDP (Gross Domestic Products) of over 6 million USD (United States Dollar) (2022).
According to the World Bank , Dominica’s GDP in 2022 was USD $612,048,148.
21. Investors can acquire Citizenship of Dominica by Investment. Visitors who find themselves enamoured with the island may consider becoming citizens. Once investors obtain their Dominican citizenship, they and their families are welcome to move, work and even set up a business on this stunning Caribbean paradise.
Dominica’s CBI Programme has been ranked as the number one Citizenship by Investment (CBI) initiative for six consecutive years by the CBI Index.
22. The official language in Dominica is English. English is universally spoken in Dominica and UK English spelling is used. Dominican Creole (an Antillean Creole derived from French), and French Patois are also widely used. This is because of the long history of French migration to the island as well as Dominica’s location between two French speaking countries; Martinique and Guadeloupe.
23. The country’s main religion is Christianity. Christianity is the most common religion in Dominica, practised by over 90% of the population. However, religious freedom is enshrined in the Constitution of Dominica so inhabitants can follow alternative faiths if they so choose.
24. Cricket is the most popular sport in Dominica. Many Dominican cricketers play for the West Indies cricket team internationally. Shane Shillingford and Adam Sanford are two of the most notable cricketers from Dominica.
25. Roseau is the capital city. The largest city in Dominica, it’s situated on the Southwest coast of the country and is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Morne Bruce hill and the Roseau River. It is known for its bustling markets, 18th century French architecture and landmarks like the Roseau Cathedral and the Morne Bruce Cross.
26. The Main Airport is Douglas-Charles Airport. Formerly known as Melville Hall Airport, Douglas–Charles Airport is Dominica’s largest of the country’s two airports. Douglas–Charles Airport operates both passenger and cargo planes to other destinations in the Caribbean.
27. Dominica is on a quest to be the world’s first climate-resilient nation. The Government of Dominica has called on investors around the world to assist in the development of sustainable and robust industries and infrastructure. This is an exclusive opportunity to implement the latest technologies and developmental approaches. Dominica aims to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change.
28. There is a river for each day of the year. Apart from breathtaking beaches and volcanoes, Dominica has over 365 rivers! While some are cool and clear, others are cloudy and fast. All of them are surrounded by exotic plants and flowers. The Indian River is the widest on the island, and many visitors choose this one for their first island boat ride.
29. There are nine active volcanoes in Dominica. In fact, Dominica has the highest concentration of volcanoes in the world, with nine active volcanoes. Eruptions are very rare, and the last volcanic eruption was in 1997 and the one before that was in 1880.
The highest mountain and volcano is Morne Diablotins and it is absolutely breathtaking. Visitors can take a six-hour hike to reach the top where neighbouring islands, Martinique and Guadeloupe can be seen.
30. Many of Dominica’s beaches are covered in black sand. Due to the number of volcanoes in Dominica, the island is filled with beautiful black-sand beaches. Some of the most famous black sand beaches in Dominica include: the Number One Beach, Mero Beach, and Rosalie Bay Beach.BACK TO NEWS FEED