Religious Beliefs In Dominica

A church in Dominica.
A church in Dominica.

The Caribbean island country of Dominica is located in the Lesser Antilles archipelago. The country encompasses an area of 750 square km and has a population of around 71,293 (as of 2011). The majority of Dominicans are of African descent who account for over 75% of the total population of the country. People of mixed descent make up 19% of the population. People of European and Asian heritage also inhabit the country in small numbers.

The Religious Composition Of Dominica’s Population

Christianity is the religion of the majority in Dominica. Around 90% of the population adhere to this religion. Various denominations of Christianity are active in Dominica. Roman Catholics and Protestants account for 61.4% and 28.6% of the country’s population. Evangelicalism is the most popular Protestant denomination in the nation. Rastafarians, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others account for 1.3%, 1.2%, and 0.3% of Dominica’s population. 6.1% of the Dominicans are not affiliated to any religion.

History Of Religion In Dominica

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the Island Caribs were the indigenous inhabitants of Dominica. They practiced polytheism and worshipped different aspects and objects of nature. The Spanish were the first Europeans to attempt to settle on the island. However, they were pushed out of the island by the indigenous inhabitants. Later, the French and the English both took some interest in Dominica. However, it was not until the latter half of the 17th century that the French established some permanent settlements on the island. The French brought thousands of African slaves with them to work on the coffee plantations they had established on the island. The French also brought their religion with them. Roman Catholicism was soon adopted by the African slaves and a large section of the Island Caribs living in Dominica. Protestantism became popular in the country with the arrival of the British. In 1761, the British conquered the island and in 1763, France ceded the land to the country.

The people of other religions came to Dominica over a period of centuries. Some came as immigrants from foreign lands for trade and in search of better opportunities or for education. For example, the Muslim community in the country mostly consists of foreign students studying in a university in Dominica.

Religious Freedom And Tolerance In Dominica

The Constitution of Dominica provides for the freedom of religion. Thus, everyone is allowed to practice their own religion in the country. The government of Dominica also generally respects this right of the people. Discrimination on the basis of religion is not practiced in the country. The people of the country are also highly tolerant of the religion of others.


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