Dominica is an island nation in the Caribbean and is part of the lesser Antilles. The neighboring islands are Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique to the south, both these islands are overseas territories of France. Dominica's population is a little over 70,000, making it one of the ten least populated countries of the world. The official languages are English, French and a version of Creole.
Dominica was given its current name by Christopher Columbus, who named the island after the day of the week on which he discovered it. That day was a Sunday, or "domenica" in Italian.
HistoryThe original inhabitants of Dominica are the Caribs. Even after the discovery of the island by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the Caribs remained the sole inhabitants of the island for over a century to come.
In 1635 France claimed Dominica as a possession. In 1660 however France and Britain agreed to leave the island, which resulted in a period of a hundred years of neutrality much like it was before Christopher Columbus discovered it. In that time a French settlement appeared anyway, as it was located between other French islands.
In 1763 the possession of the island went from France to Britain, albeit under protest. The French tried several invasions, but ultimately failed to recapture the island. In 1978 Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom.
TourismAs it is located in the Caribean you might expect that Dominica is a popular tourist destination. And although tourism to Dominica is growing, it is one of the least visited islands in the Caribbean. Due to its volcanic nature Dominica does not have as much of the typical white sandy beaches you might expect from a destination in the Caribbean.
Cruise ships make stopovers at Dominica, as the island is an interesting place to visit for people that enjoy eco-tourism activities, like visiting rainforests, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots. The waters around the country are home to many species of dolphins and whales, adding to the attractiveness for eco-tourist with the possibility of going on whale-watching trips.