Dominica Economy and History

By | June 25, 2021


Bananas and soap

Dominica’s economy is still based on agriculture. Bananas in particular are among the products that are sold in other countries, but also citrus fruits, mangoes, coconuts and cocoa. 40 percent of the working population is active in agriculture, although it only generates around 22 percent. Another problem is that hurricanes can destroy entire harvests.

The industry generates a similar amount. The manufacture of soap is particularly important because it is exported. Coconuts are also processed, furniture is built and shoes are made.

Services have the largest share in the economy. Finances play a special role here, there are many banks. Tourism is developing slowly. On the other hand, the island probably lacks the sandy beaches, of which there are only a few. However, many cruise ships dock in the port of Roseau, whose day tourists also bring money into the country. Tours through the rainforest are also offered.

History and Politics

Who lived in Dominica before the arrival of Europeans?

As a country located in Central America according to listofusnewspapers, Dominica was first settled around 4000 BC. Of saladoids from South America. Around the year 800 a second wave of immigration came to the island with the Taino from the Arawak people. These were in turn displaced by the island Caribs, the Kalinago, in the 13th century. They ruled the island from now on.

Arrival of the Europeans

On November 3rd, 1493, Columbus discovered the island and named it Dominica after the day of the week: Sunday. But he did not go ashore. Dominica became the last island to be colonized by Europeans because of the resistance of the inhabitants. The island Caribs (Kalinago) did not want to cede their homeland without a fight. So it took more than a hundred years for settlers to finally settle. They came from Spain, France and Great Britain.

Dominica becomes a French colony

The Spaniards left the island again, but between France and Great Britain ownership of the island now went back and forth. In 1660 it was initially agreed to leave the island to its inhabitants, the Caribs. However, in 1690 there were the first settlers who stayed. It was French who cut trees and turned them into money. They brought the first slaves to Dominica from West Africa. 1715 came more settlers to the south of the island, who fled Martinique and built farms. Settlers also came from Guadeloupe, but more to the north. In 1727 Dominica became a French colony. Plantations, especially for coffee, were created. More and more slaves arrived.

Dominica becomes a British colony

During the Seven Years’ War, the British conquered Dominica along with other islands in the Caribbean. At the end of the war, France finally ceded Dominica to Great Britain. In 1778, however, France recaptured the island, and in 1783 it was returned to Great Britain. Further attempts at conquering France failed.

In 1805 Dominica finally became a British colony. In 1834 slavery was abolished and the slaves released. In the 20th century, Dominica got more rights. Political parties were founded, and equal voting rights were introduced in 1951 (previously only the richer people were allowed to vote). In 1967 the island was allowed to administer itself, the foreign policy remained with Great Britain. On November 3, 1978, Dominica was finally given independence.

From independence until today

The first Prime Minister was Patrick John. His government was soon accused of bribery and there were demonstrations on the island, which were bloodily suppressed. Patrick John finally had to resign as early as 1979. In 1980, Mary Eugenia Charles was the first woman in the Caribbean to take office as head of government. She stayed at this post for 15 years. After the sudden death of Pierre Charles, Roosevelt Skerrit took office in 2004. He belongs to the Dominican Labor Party.

Dominica had to struggle with economic problems again and again. In a few years, hurricanes destroyed many homes and caused great damage. In 1979, Hurricane David destroyed three quarters of all residential buildings. In the 1990s, banana prices fell, which also created problems.

Dominica History