In his expedition to the Caribbean, Cristoffer Columbus arrived on November 3, 1493, on an island he named Dominica and where he planted a cross to mark the island’s incorporation into the Spanish kingdom.
In a short time, the original population was exterminated; a story that was repeated on other Caribbean islands. According to reliable sources, in 1632, only 1,000 had been able to survive. Today, the 500 descendants of these live in reserves.
The island’s forests were cleared to provide space for sugar plantations, employing thousands of African slaves as labor. In the 17th century, the Spaniards were followed by the French who introduced coffee and cotton cultivation. For more than two centuries England and France fought for the right to the island, and in 1805 Dominica became English possession.
However, the French influence has stayed up to our times; as proof of this, one can point to the position of the Catholic Church, and the “créole”, the local dialect which is a mixture of French and African languages.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does DM stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Dominica. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
After 500 years of colonial rule over Dominica, the country inherited an economy, based on the revenue from agricultural monoculture. Bananas are the only export item of importance and banana plantations, after sugar cultivation have proved unprofitable, cover most of the total agricultural area.
Until 1939, the British considered Dominica to be part of the Sotavento Islands, along with Barbuda, the Virgin Islands and Montserrat. In 1940, the British incorporated Dominica into the so-called Barlovent Islands, along with the Lesser Antilles: Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Dominica remained associated with these islands until 1958.
During the period 1959-1962, Dominica was a member of the British-West Indies Federation, a failed political project in which the individual countries negotiated extended independence agreements with the English.
In the election to the legislative assembly in January 1961, the ruling party, Dominica’s United People’s Party, was defeated by Dominica’s Labor Party, DLP, comprising The popular National Movement. Edward LeBlanc became new head of government.
The political model introduced when the island gained independence in 1967 is largely part of the legacy of the English. The Constitution from this year talked about a “free agreement” between the UK and the West Antilles member states. Britain reserved the right to define defense and foreign policy and each island elected their own government in a federal system whose headquarters were in Barbados. The Legislative Assembly was replaced by a National Assembly, the Administrator replaced by a Governor and the Head of Government by a Prime Minister.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of Dominica in 1996 was 70,987, ranking number 202 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.190% yearly, and the population density was 94.7973 people per km2.