Dominica DescriptionOn November 3, 1493, Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he spotted it, a Sunday (dominica in Latin).
In 1635 France claimed Dominica. Shortly thereafter, French missionaries became the first European inhabitants on the island.
Dominica was in fact the last Caribbean island to be colonized by the Europeans, due in part to its rugged topography, but mostly because of fierce resistance to outsiders from the native Carib Indians.
As part of the '1763 Treaty of Paris' that ended the Seven Years' War in Europe, the British took control of the island from the French in 1763.
Like all of the British colonies and possessions in the Caribbean, African slavery and civil rights were on-going hot-button issues in Dominica.
The emancipation of African slaves occurred throughout the British Empire in 1834, and in 1838, Dominica became the first British Caribbean colony to have a legislature controlled by an African majority.
For the next century Britain continued to enforce (its unwanted) hand in local issues, and finally, Dominica became an independent nation in 1978.
That independence brought little relief from decades of economic underdevelopment, and as often the case with new countries, unstable governments soon followed.
Add to those disasters, Dominica was struck by powerful hurricanes in 1979 and 1980. And then (believe it or not) a group of mercenaries attempted in vain to take over the island.
By the end of the 1980s, the economy recovered, but weakened again in the 1990s because of a decrease in banana production and a tourism decline.
Called the "Nature Island," Dominica is certainly that, and much more. It's literally covered with thick green jungle, punctuated by sharp-edged volcanic peaks, mountains, lakes, rivers, hot springs and waterfalls and a wide variety of green vegetation and wildlife.
It's a popular cruise ship destination, and a magnet for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The offshore reefs attract divers from around the world.
Agriculture is the major industry here, followed closely by tourism. Travelers fortunate to visit this Eden will tell you that Dominica is a true paradise, wonderfully preserved for all to see.