Dominica was populated between 2,000 and
3,000 years ago by the indigenous people of Arawaker.
They were urged in the 9th century AD by another
indigenous people, the Kalinago / Caribas, who called
the island of Waitukubuli ("she who is so tall", which
meant the high mountains of the island). Kalinago
offered strong opposition to European colonizers and
only in the 18th century did the French gain a foothold
on the island. The French were followed by the British
and in 1898 Dominica became a British crown colony.
Christofer Columbus reached Dominica on Sunday,
November 3, 1493. That is why the country got its name
(Dominica means Sunday in Latin). The rugged terrain
contributed to the indigenous population being able to
withstand the Europeans' conquest attempts for almost
200 years. Recurring battles with French and British and
the illnesses that the Europeans brought with them,
however, harmed many victims in the indigenous
population. By 1730, their number had dropped from 5,000
to 400 people. Offspring of these caribas (now called
kalinago) live on the island today.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Dominica, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In the 18th century, French settlers succeeded in
establishing themselves on the island. The plantations
and African slaves were imported as labor. The
plantations on Dominica, however, did not become as
profitable as on other islands because of the mountains
that made all transport difficult.
Unlike slaves on other islands, Dominica's slaves
were allowed to grow and sell their own products. This
way, he got a lot of money and was able to buy himself
free. Some even owned smaller plantations with slaves.
In 1761 Dominica was conquered by British forces. The
dominion over the island changed a few more times before
it finally became British in 1805. The British founded a
social system that gave white monopoly on politics.
1831, three years before slavery was formally abolished,
was also given free black voting rights.
When slavery was abolished in the British colonies in
1834, there were just over 14,000 slaves in Dominica.
Many abandoned the plantations where they worked as
slaves to clear their own land and provide for
independent work. Owning your own parcel is still a
strongly rooted tradition among many Dominicans.
When the former slaves moved, the plantations
suffered from labor shortages while new villages grew up
on the island.
Dominica becomes crown colony
In 1838, Dominica became the first British colony to
receive a black majority in the local parliament.
Subsequently, several laws were passed that improved the
situation for the majority of the population. In 1862,
however, the white control returned. Parliament was
dissolved and self-government abolished. In 1898,
Dominica became a British crown colony, ruled from
After unrest in the 1930s, living standards in the
British Isles in the Caribbean were raised. New jobs
were created and education improved.
The first general elections for a local parliament
were held in 1951. The majority of the seats were won by
candidates supported by trade unions. A party system had
not yet taken shape. Dominica's first political party,
the Labor Party, was founded in 1955.
In 1958, Dominica, along with nine other British
colonies, formed the Caribbean Federation, but it
collapsed after only a few years. In 1967, Dominica
gained the status of a so-called British Associated
State, which meant that the island gained
self-government in internal affairs, while London
continued to conduct foreign policy and defense.
On November 3, 1978, Dominica became an independent
state within the Commonwealth, consisting of Britain and
the former British colonies. Patrick John from the Labor
Party became the country's first head of government.