Originally inhabited by the Kalinago people, the island was colonized by the French, who brought enslaved Africans to populate the island, from the 1690s until the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, when Great Britain took over and established English as Dominica's official language. The country later became independent in 1978. Unlike most other ex-British West Indies countries, Dominica decided to cut ties with the monarchy of the United Kingdom, so it has its own head of state and is not a Commonwealth Realm, although it remains a part of The Commonwealth of Nations. Before Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago was the only former BWI country to choose this option (though it was a monarchy for 14 years after its independence in 1962, unlike Dominica which became a republic right away), and Barbados has since followed suit.
Dominica's lush rainforests, mountains, freshwater lakes, hot springs and waterfalls have earned the country the nickname of "Nature isle of the Caribbean", with many rare plants, animals and bird species being found there, including the Sisserou parrot, which is an endangered species only found on Dominica and is the country's national bird. It is also the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, and has the world's second largest hot spring, Boiling Lake, with parts of the island actually still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity. However, with the island being located in the hurricane region of the Caribbean, hurricanes remain a constant threat to the country.
The Dominican flag
The Dominican national anthem
- Unitary dominant-party parliamentary republic
- President: Charles Savarin
- Prime Minister: Roosevelt Skerrit
- Speaker of the House of Assembly: Joseph Isaac
- Capital and largest city: Roseau
- Population: 71,625
- Area: 750 km² (290 sq mi) (174th)
- Currency: East Caribbean dollar ($) (XCD)
- ISO-3166-1 Code: DM
- Country calling code: 1 (area code 767)
- Highest point: Morne Diablotins (1447 m/4,747 ft) (143rd)
- Lowest point: Caribbean Sea (7,686 m/25,217 ft) (-)