25 interesting facts about Dominica

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The most interesting facts about Dominica, from a frog known as the “mountain chicken” to the world’s second-largest boiling lake.

Interesting facts about Dominica include its striking scenery
Interesting facts about Dominica include its striking scenery (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Commonwealth of Dominica
Capital city: Roseau
Population: 74,243
Area: 751 sq km
Major languages: English, French patois
Time zone: UTC-4 (Atlantic Time Zone)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

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Interesting facts about Dominica

1. Dominica is an island nation located in the eastern Caribbean Sea of North America.
– Source: Britannica

2. The Caribs, who settled Dominica during the 14th century, called the island Waitikubuli, which means ‘Tall is her Body.’
– Source: Lonely Planet

3. Dominica was named by explorer Christopher Columbus after the day of the week he sighted the island in 1493: Sunday – or Domingo in Latin.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

4. Dominica was the last the Caribbean island to be colonised by Europeans. This was largely down to the fierce resistance of the native Kalinago people.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

Kalinago village
Kalinago village in Dominica (Shutterstock)

5. Today, Dominica is home to the largest indigenous population in the East Caribbean. Around 3,000 Kalinago (once referred to as “Caribs” by colonists) still live in Dominica.
– Source: BBC News

6. Dominica’s mountainous terrain helped provide sanctuary for the Kalinago people during attacks from the early colonists.
– Source: BBC News

7. During the 1600s, Britain and France repeatedly attempted to gain control but eventually agreed to abandon Dominica in 1660.
– Source: BBC News

8. However, in 1763, Britain gained possession of Dominica following the end of the Seven Years’ War.
– Source: BBC News

9. Dominica’s national symbol is the sisserou parrot, a rare bird indigenous to the island.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

The flag of Dominica
The flag of Dominica (Shutterstock)

10. Dominica’s flag has a green background representing the island’s forests. In the centre is a ring of 10 stars reflecting the parishes of the island. The yellow, white and black cross represents the Carib, Caucasian and African people as well as the country’s fruits, rivers, waterfalls and rich soil. In the centre is a sisserou parrot.
– Source: Britannica

11. In 1838, Dominica became the first and only British colony in the Caribbean to have a black-controlled legislature. However, this was suspended in 1865 and then in 1896, Britain re-established Dominica as a crown colony government.
– Source: BBC News

12. In 1978, Dominica finally became completely independent with Patrick John as its prime minister.
– Source: BBC News

13. Dominica is home to the Caribbean’s first long-distance hiking trail. The Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) is 183km (115 miles) and is divided into 14 segments.
– Source: Lonely Planet

13. It’s possible to see and even swim with the world’s largest toothed predator, the sperm whale in Dominica.
– Source: Financial Times

Sperm whales in Dominica
Sperm whales in Dominica (Shutterstock)

14. In 1979, Dominica was struck by Hurricane David with winds of 150mph. At least 37 people were killed and 60,000 houses were destroyed – nearly 75% of the entire population’s homes.
– Source: History Channel

15. In 2017, category 5 Hurricane Maria hit Dominica causing havoc. 95% of buildings were damaged or destroyed, 99% of the island lost power, more than 50,000 people were displaced and at least 31 people were killed.
– Source: New York Times, ABC News, The Guardian

16. Dominica is home to nine active volcanoes, although there hasn’t been a major eruption since 1997 and before that in 1880.
– Source: Reuters, The Telegraph

17. As such, Dominica has the world’s highest concentration of active volcanoes.
– Source: Rough Guides

18. The world’s second-largest boiling lake is in Dominica. Discovered in 1875, it is actually a flooded crack in the earth that allows hot gases to vent from the molten lava below.
– Source: Lonely Planet, The Guardian

The Boiling Lake
The boiling lake in Dominica (Shutterstock)

19. The movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, was filmed in Dominica.
– Source: IMDB

20. Dominica is home to an endangered species of frog known as the “mountain chicken”. Found only on the islands of Dominica and nearby Montserrat, the frog was a delicacy among islanders as it tasted like chicken. However, the species is now protected after a fungus wiped out nearly 80% of the island’s population in the early 2000s.
– Source: National Geographic

21. Two-thirds of Dominica is covered in rainforest.
–Source: New York Times

22. In Dominica, there’s a river for every day of the year – 365 in total.
–Source: New York Times

A river running through rainforest
Dominica has 365 rivers (Shutterstock)

23. In fact, Dominica is known as the “Nature Island” due to its vast array of geographic features such as rivers, waterfalls, mountains, forest and volcanoes.
– Source: New York Times, The Telegraph

24. Dominica has the world’s 15th-highest murder rate with 25.7 intentional homicides per 100,000 people.
– Source: World Bank

25. For decades, the Dominican economy was dependent on banana exports. Recently, it has pivoted towards tourism as the government attempts to promote Dominica as an “ecotourism” destination.
– Source: BBC News, CIA World Fact Book


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