Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica’s fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.

Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 15 25 N, 61 20 W
Population: 73,126 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.9% (male 8,551/female 8,188)

15-64 years: 66.8% (male 25,007/female 23,730)

65 years and over: 10.3% (male 3,246/female 4,247) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica

conventional short form: Dominica

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Roseau

geographic coordinates: 15 18 N, 61 24 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Telephones – main lines in use: 15,500 (2010)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 111,000 (2011)
Airports: 2 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: no regular military forces; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (includes Coast Guard) (2011)
Manpower available for military service: Males age 16-49: 19,075 (2010 est.)


The Dominican economy depends on agriculture, primarily bananas, and remains highly vulnerable to climatic conditions and international economic developments. Tourism has increased as the government seeks to promote Dominica as an “ecotourism” destination. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy – including elimination of price controls, privatization of the state banana company, and tax increases – to address Dominica’s economic and financial crisis of 2001-02 and to meet IMF targets.


This restructuring paved the way for the current economic recovery – real growth for 2006 reached a two-decade high – and will help to reduce the debt burden, which remains at about 100% of GDP. In order to diversify the island’s production base, the government is attempting to develop an offshore financial sector and is researching Dominica’s capability to export geothermal energy.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: Dominica is the only Caribbean state to challenge Venezuela’s sovereignty claim over Aves Island and joins the other island nations in challenging whether the feature sustains human habitation, a criterion under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which permits Venezuela to extend its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf claims over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs: transhipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; minor cannabis producer; anti-money-laundering enforcement is weak, making the country particularly vulnerable to money laundering