A map of DominicaDominica is an island in the Lesser Antilles, part of a group known as the Windward Islands. A volcanic island, it is covered by rugged mountains and rainforests. In the 17th century, its craggy landscape protected the native Carib people and made it one of the last islands to be colonized by European settlers. Not to be confused with the much larger Dominican Republic, Dominica is sometimes known as the “nature island”. Large areas have been made into nature reserves and the government encourages eco-tourism: tourism which has a lower impact on nature and wildlife. Dominica has a hot, tropical climate. In late summer it is often hit by hurricanes, which cause heavy rain, high winds and landslides.
Most Dominicans are descended from the black Africans who once worked on the island’s sugar and coffee plantations. A few thousand native Carib Indians still live on the island in villages on the east coast. English is the main language, but many people, especially from older generations, also speak a French-based language called Antillean Creole.
Christopher Columbus named the island “Dominica” after the Latin word for Sunday, the day on which he first spotted it in November 1493.
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