Dominica History

Dominica History Timeline

North America

According to commit4fitness, Dominica is a 750 km 2 island state in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the border with the Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the Lesser Antilles.

The capital is Roseau with 16,582 residents. It is the oldest and most important settlement on the island. The population of Dominica is 72,324 (2016).

Dominica is also called the “nature island” because of its rich biodiversity and lush forests. At the same time, the island is the most mountainous of the Lesser Antilles.

Dominica was originally populated by Caribbean Indians; with their hostile minds they managed to keep all European interests in ave until 1759, when the English won the supremacy and established a colony on the island.


3000 BCE – Ingneri Indians from Orinoco (Venezuela) populated the island.

1493 – Christopher Columbus visits the island on November 3 and names it Dominica (“Sunday Island”, after the day he spotted it).

1627 – Charles 1 of England did Sir James Hay responsible for Dominica. This was what the native Caribbean was not happy about and made fierce resistance.

1635 – France attempts to declare Dominica and “all the small islands” theirs, but no settlements are established.

1660 – France and England agree that both Dominica and St. Vincent was not allowed to settle, but was left to the Caribbean as their neutral territory.

1715 – France establishes the first permanent colony on the island following a revolt by “poor white” peasants in northern Martinique, which caused an exodus to relative security in southern Dominica.

1727 – The first French commander, M. Le Grand, takes over the island and establishes a rudimentary government, formally making Dominica a colony of France.

1759 – Britain gains control of the Atlantic Ocean over France during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and establishes a colony on the island. However, French pirates still caused problems for British merchant ships, so in May 1759 the strategically important French islands of Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante were conquered by the British, and by March 1762 the rest of the French islands in the Caribbean had been conquered by joint operations between the army and fleet.

1763 – Dominica is ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris, ending the Seven Years’ War.

1768 – Britain establishes separate legislation on Dominica, represented only by the white population.

1778 – France recaptures Dominica, but existing legislation continues to work.

1783 – France returns Dominica to Britain after the Treaty of Versailles is signed, ending the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).

1831 – Full political and social rights for free non-whites.

1832 – Coffee accounts for 32% of Dominica’s exports.

1833 – Dominica is grouped into Leeward Island’s administrative unit under one governor.

1834 – Slavery is abolished.

1838 – Doninica becomes the first and only British colony in the Caribbean to have a legislative power consisting of non-white residents.

1865 – Crown colonial government established by Dominican legislature.

1878 – The island becomes independent from Britain on 3 November.

1896 – Britain re-establishes its crown colony and rules Dominica.

1945 – The island’s first union, the Dominica Trade Union, is established.

1951 – Britain declares universal suffrage in Dominica.

1960 – Britain gives Dominica autonomy, with legislative council and prime minister.

1979 – Hurricane David ravages Dominica on August 29, killing 56 people, injuring 180 and inflicting damage on agriculture. The island had previously only been hit by hurricanes twice – in 1806, when 131 people died in floods and on September 10, 1834, where 200 lost their lives. Read more here about “David”.

1980 – Eugenia Charles replaces Patrick John on 21 July, becoming the first and so far only female Prime Minister of the Caribbean. Her popularity declined during her third term, and she announced her retirement on June 14, 1995. She died of pulmonary embolism on September 6, 2005, at the age of 86.

1981 – Two coup attempts by Canadian and American citizens affiliated with white racists and Ku Klux Klan groups – allegedly backed by Patrick John, fail. Read more here.

1985 – Patrick John comes to court, is found guilty of complicity in a coup attempt, and is sentenced to 12 years, but was released after 5 years.

1995 – Edison James becomes Prime Minister following the United Workers’ Party ‘s victory in the parliamentary elections; Eugenia Charles retired from politics.

1999 – Hurricane Lenny is the second-strongest documented hurricane recorded in November. High waves damaged the island’s western highways, so the most used roads had to be closed temporarily. The hurricane destroyed at least 50 homes, three of which were torn away by the waves. Extensive damages totaling $ 21.5 million.

2000 – Rosie Douglas becomes the 5th Prime Minister of the island from February 3 until his sudden death (cause unknown) on October 1, 2000, at the age of 58. He only managed to take care of the island for eight months. Pierre Charles was appointed successor.

2004 – Pierre Charles suffers the same fate as his predecessor, and died in service on January 6, 2004, aged 49 years. He became ill in 2003 and underwent angioplasty surgery. He succumbed to a heart attack while being driven home from a cabinet meeting. His death paved the way for the current Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, who is the youngest head of government in the Western Hemisphere (Dec. 2010).

2005 – MOVIE: Filming for the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Curse (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Coffin, began on April 18 at a place called High Meadow and Twin Peaks, south of Roseau, with sequences to Pelegosto (the escape from the cannibals) and Isla Cruces (the jungle sequence) in the film. Filming ended on May 26.

2007 – Hurricane Dean eradicates 99% of Dominica’s banana crops. Only two registered deaths, and over 162 million. dollars in damages.

2015 – Hurricane Danny hits Guadaloupe and Dominica on August 24, causing rain and minor landslides. Only a few days later, tropical storm Erika arrived, hitting the island, killing 30 people and causing enormous damage.

Dominica History