island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its size is 750 square kilometres (290 sq mi) and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of 1,447 metres (4,747 ft). The Commonwealth of Dominica had a population of 71,293 at the 2011 Census. The capital is Roseau which is located on the leeward side of the island.
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
features lush mountainous rainforests, home of many rare plant, animal, and
bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but
heavy rainfall can be expected inland. The Sisserou Parrot (also known as the Imperial
Amazon), the island's national bird, is featured on the national flag.
Dominica's economy is heavily dependent on both tourism and agriculture.
Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he spotted it,
a Sunday (dominica in Latin), 3 November 1493. In the hundred years after
Columbus's landing, Dominica remained isolated, and even more Caribs settled there
after being driven from surrounding islands as European powers entered the
region. France formally ceded possession of Dominica to Great Britain in 1763.
Great Britain then established a small colony on the island in 1805.
The emancipation of African slaves
occurred throughout the British Empire in 1834, and, in 1838, Dominica
became the first British Caribbean colony to have a legislature controlled by an
African majority. In 1896, the United Kingdom reassumed governmental control of
Dominica, turning it into a Crown colony. Half a century later, from 1958 to
1962, Dominica became a province of the short-lived West Indies
Federation. On 3 November 1978, Dominica became an independent nation.
The name Dominica comes from the Latin word for Sunday, which was the day on
which it was spotted by Christopher Columbus. Its pre-Columbian name was "Wai‘tu kubuli", which
means "Tall is her body". The indigenous
people of the island, the Caribs, have the Carib Territory, a territory similar to the Indian reserves of Canada
or the US. The official language is English in consequence of its history as a
British colony, territory, and state, though a French
creole is spoken by many, especially people of older generations. The demonym or adjective is "Dominican" in
English, with the syllable stress being on the second "i" serving to
distinguish it from same word used in reference to Dominican Republic, in which case the stress
is on the first "i".