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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. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.


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


148 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall


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: 6.67%
permanent crops: 21.33%
other: 72% (2005)

Natural hazards:

flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months

Geography - note:

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


68,910 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 26.1% (male 9,084/female 8,885)
15-64 years: 66% (male 23,419/female 22,079)
65 years and over: 7.9% (male 2,186/female 3,257) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 30.1 years
male: 29.8 years
female: 30.4 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

-0.08% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

15.27 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

6.73 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-9.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 13.71 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.09 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 74.87 years
male: 71.95 years
female: 77.93 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.94 children born/woman (2006 est.)


noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups:

black, mixed black and European, European, Syrian, Carib Amerindian


Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant 15% (Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Baptist 2%, other 2%), other 6%, none 2%


English (official), French patois


definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 94%
male: 94%
female: 94% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica
conventional short form: Dominica

Government type:

parliamentary democracy; republic within the Commonwealth



Administrative divisions:

10 parishes; Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter


3 November 1978 (from UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 3 November (1978)


3 November 1978

Legal system:

based on English common law


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral House of Assembly (30 seats, 9 appointed senators, 21 elected by popular vote; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 5 May 2005 (next to be held by 5 August 2010); note - tradition dictates that the election will be held within five years of the last election, but technically it is five years from the first seating of parliament (12 May 2005) plus a 90-day grace period
election results: percent of vote by party - DLP 52.07%, UWP 43.6%, DFP 3.15%; seats by party - DLP 12, UWP 8, independent 1

Judicial branch:

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the Court of Appeal and the High Court (located in Saint Lucia; one of the six judges must reside in Dominica and preside over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction)

Economy - overview:

The Dominican economy depends on agriculture, primarily bananas, and remains highly vulnerable to climatic conditions and international economic developments. Production of bananas dropped precipitously in 2003, a major reason for the 1% decline in GDP. Tourism increased in 2003 as the government sought to promote Dominica as an "ecotourism" destination. Development of the tourism industry remains difficult, however, because of the rugged coastline, lack of beaches, and the absence of an international airport. The government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy in 2003 - including elimination of price controls, privatization of the state banana company, and tax increases - to address Dominica's economic crisis and to meet IMF targets. In order to diversify the island's production base, the government is attempting to develop an offshore financial sector and is planning to construct an oil refinery on the eastern part of the island.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$384 million (2003 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

-1% (2003 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$5,500 (2003 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 18%
industry: 24%
services: 58% (2002 est.)

Labor force:

25,000 (1999 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 40%
industry: 32%
services: 28%

Unemployment rate:

23% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:

30% (2002 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1% (2001 est.)


revenues: $73.9 million
expenditures: $84.4 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2001)

Agriculture - products:

bananas, citrus, mangoes, root crops, coconuts, cocoa; forest and fishery potential not exploited


soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes

Industrial production growth rate:

-10% (1997 est.)

Electricity - production:

69.98 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

65.09 million kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

800 bbl/day (2003 est.)


$74 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities:

bananas, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges

Exports - partners:

UK 21.3%, Jamaica 14.6%, Antigua and Barbuda 8.7%, Guyana 7.4%, Japan 5.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.7%, US 4.2% (2004)


$234 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports - commodities:

manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, food, chemicals

Imports - partners:

China 20.4%, US 16.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 12.3%, UK 6.9%, South Korea 4.6%, Japan 4.3% (2004)

Debt - external:

$161.5 million (2001)

Economic aid - recipient:

$22.8 million (2003 est.)

Currency (code):

East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

Fiscal year:

1 July - 30 June

Telephones - main lines in use:

21,000 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

41,800 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: NA
domestic: fully automatic network
international: country code - 1-767; microwave radio relay and SHF radiotelephone links to Martinique and Guadeloupe; VHF and UHF radiotelephone links to Saint Lucia

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 2, FM 4, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television broadcast stations:

1 (2004)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

446 (2005)

Internet users:

18,500 (2005)


2 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2005)


total: 780 km
paved: 393 km
unpaved: 387 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

total: 40 ships (1000 GRT or over) 313,180 GRT/506,662 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 25, chemical tanker 3, container 1, petroleum tanker 5, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 34 (Estonia 8, Greece 3, Latvia 2, Norway 1, Russia 2, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 11, Syria 2, Turkey 1, UAE 3) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Portsmouth, Roseau

Military branches:

no regular military forces; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (includes Coast Guard)

Disputes - international:

Dominica is the only Caribbean state to challenge Venezuela's sovereignty claim over Aves Island and joins the other island nations in challenging whether the feature sustains human habitation, a criterion under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which permits Venezuela to extend its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf claims over a large portion of the Caribbean Sea

Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; minor cannabis producer; anti-money-laundering enforcement is weak, making the country particularly vulnerable to money laundering