views updated May 23 2018


Commonwealth of Dominica

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DOMINICA was the first island sighted by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage on Sunday (dies dominica), November 3, 1493. At that time, the island was inhabited by Carib Indians, whose ancestors had originally come from the Orinoco Basin of South America. The Caribs had seized the island from the indigenous Arawaks in the 14th century. The Caribs fought against conquest, and the Spanish lost interest in the island because it apparently had no mineral wealth. Carib resistance also prevented the French and English from settling on the island in the early 1600s. In 1660, England and France agreed to let the native Caribs control the island without interference, but within 30 years Europeans began settling there. France took possession of Dominica in 1727 but forfeited it to Great Britain in 1763. Dominica was governed by Great Britain as part of the Leeward Islands from 1871 until 1939. Between 1940 and 1958, it was administered as part of the Wind-ward Islands. From 1958 until 1962, it belonged to the short-lived Federation of the West Indies. After that federation broke apart, Dominica became an associated state of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1967 and an independent republic on November 3, 1978. Dominica fully supported the 1983 US-led military intervention in nearby Grenada.



Roseau, with a population of 21,000, is the capital of Dominica. Located on the southwest coast of the island on the south bank of the Roseau River, Roseau is the country's largest city. The town's name is taken from the French word for "reed" because the river's edge was once covered with reeds. Roseau has suffered from many catastrophes, including floods, fires, and ten hurricanes since 1781 (most recent in 1979, 1980, and 1989). Woodbridge Bay Deep Water Harbour, one mile north of Roseau, handles commercial and large cruise ships with a draft of 30 feet up to 500 feet in length. Agricultural plantations became the foundation of the economy. Coffee was the main crop during the French colonial era, and sugar production was later introduced by the British. The market near the mouth of the Roseau River is the city's center for commerce.

Recreation and Entertainment

Scuba diving and sailing are popular tourist activities. From Roseau, day trip hiking tours are available to explore the rugged natural beauty of Dominica's volcanic peaks, forests, lakes, waterfalls, and numerous rivers. Cricket is the national game of Dominica and is played all over the island.

The Botanical Gardens of Dominica lie just outside Roseau below the Morne Bruce hill. The gardens cover 40 acres and were first planted in 1890 from a converted sugarcane plantation. Since the gardens receive over 85 inches of rain per year, a wide variety of tropical ornamental plants can be grown. In the 1960s and 1970s, the gardens were a popular site for cricket matches. The aviary at the gardens is a breeding center for the endangered Jaco or Rednecked parrot (Amazona arausiaca) as well as Dominica's national bird, the Sisserou parrot (Amazona imperialis). The Morne Trios Pitons National Park to the east covers 17,000 acres. The park is a natural undisturbed rainforest, and it contains Boeri Lake and Freshwater Lake, as well as the volcanic Boiling Lake and Middleham Falls. The Emerald Pool, a cave filled by a waterfall and surrounded by beautiful plants, is also located in the Morne Trois Piton National Park. Trafalgar Falls north of the city is located in a lush gorge covered with ferns and orchids.

The Old Market Square area in downtown Roseau features several prominent early buildings. Dominica has several historic churches, including some in Roseau such as the Romanesque-style Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. The architecture of older wooden buildings, complete with overhanging balconies, gingerbread fretwork, shutters, and jalousies, displays the historic influence of France. Many of the older buildings were restored to their original style after Hurricane David struck Roseau in 1979. In 1993, the Bay Front district opened as a waterfront promenade. The construction of a new seawall allowed land to be reclaimed for the project and now offers the city greater protection from rough seas. Fort Young, with its massive walls, was constructed during the 1700s for protection of the city; it became a hotel in the 1960s.

Roseau's art galleries feature the works of local artists who have received international recognition. There are three main annual arts festivals: Carnival, DOMFESTA, and Independence. Carnival has street parades, and beauty and costume pageants. Music is an important part of Carnival, which features calypso and a marching competition. DOMFESTA is a week-long festival held at the end of July which focuses on contemporary art. Independence celebrates Dominica's heritage with traditional food, costume, dance, and music.


PORTSMOUTH is Dominica's second-largest town, located on the northwestern coast. Nearby Prince Rupert's Bay is a natural harbor that was originally home to the Caribs. The sheltered bay was discovered by Columbus on his second voyage and later became a Spanish port for conquistadors going to South America. The town was originally planned as the capital, but the malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the nearby marshes led settlers to relocate to Roseau. Boat trips up the Indian River to see native flora and fauna are popular with visitors. Portsmouth has approximately 3,600 (1995) residents.


Geography and Climate

Dominica is part of the Windward Islands, and lies between Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique to the south. It lies in the middle of the Lesser Antilles chain of islands. Dominica has an area of 790 square miles and is 29 miles long (north to south) and 16 miles wide (east to west). Its terrain is the most rugged of all the islands in the Lesser Antilles, with many peaks, ridges, and ravines. There are several mountains with peaks that are over 4,000 feet above sea level. The Boiling Lake is the second-largest volcanic bubbling crater lake in world. Boeri Lake is a freshwater crater lake that lies 3,000 feet above sea level. Dominica's climate is fairly tropical. Temperatures average 77°F in the winter and 82°F in the summer. Annual rainfall ranges from 80 inches along the coast to 250 inches in mountainous inland areas. Almost one fourth of the land is planted with crops.


Dominica's population is estimated at 64,000. The population density of 110 per square mile is one of the lowest in the West Indies. Over 90% of the population is descended from African slaves brought to the island in the 17th and 18th centuries. About 6% of the population is of mixed origins. The Carib Territory, some 3,700 acres on the northeast coast of the island set aside in 1903, belongs to the 3,400 descendants of the original inhabitants of the Caribbean islands. Due to the historic influence of the French, about 77% of all Dominicans are Roman Catholic. Smaller groups include Anglicans, Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Baha'is, and Rastafarians. The Caribs' religious beliefs combine features of Christianity and nature worship. English is the official language of Dominica. Most of the population also speaks a French-based dialect called kwéyòl. Dominicans are increasingly using kwéyòl, which is unique but has elements in common with the dialects of St. Lucia and other islands with cultures influenced by France. Language in Dominica exhibits characteristics of Carib dialect and African phrases.


Dominica became an independent republic on November 3, 1978.

Dominica has a Westminster-style parliamentary government, and there are three political parties: The Dominica Labor Party (the majority party), the Dominica United Workers Party, and the Dominica Freedom Party. A president and prime minister make up the executive branch. Nominated by the prime minister in consultation with the leader of the opposition party, the president is elected for a 5-year term by the parliament. The president appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party in the parliament and also appoints, on the prime minister's recommendation, members of the parliament from the ruling party as cabinet ministers. The prime minister and cabinet are responsible to the parliament and can be removed on a no-confidence vote.

The unicameral parliament, called the House of Assembly, is composed of 21 regional representatives and nine senators. The regional representatives are elected by universal suffrage and, in turn, decide whether senators are to be elected or appointed. If appointed, five are chosen by the president with the advice of the prime minister and four with the advice of the opposition leader. If elected, it is by vote of the regional representatives. Elections for representatives and senators must be held at least every 5 years, although the prime minister can call elections any time.

Dominica's legal system is based on English common law. There are three magistrate's courts, with appeals made to the Eastern Caribbean court of appeal and, ultimately, to the Privy Council in London.

Councils elected by universal suffrage govern most towns. Supported largely by property taxation, the councils are responsible for the regulation of markets and sanitation and the maintenance of secondary roads and other municipal amenities. The island also is divided into 10 parishes, whose governance is unrelated to the town governments.

The flag of the Commonwealth of Dominica consists of a green field with a cross composed of yellow, black, and white stripes. In the center is a red disk with 10 yellow-bordered green stars surrounding a parrot.

Arts, Science, Education

Education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 15. Transportation to secondary schools is a problem for students in rural areas. Higher education facilities include a teacher training institute, a technical college, a nursing school, and a satellite center of the University of the West Indies. The Alliance Française of Dominica sponsors French-language classes for all ages and maintains a library and cultural center in Roseau.

Commerce and Industry

Agriculture, with bananas as the principal crop, is still Dominica's economic mainstay. Banana production employs, directly or indirectly, upwards of one-third of the work force. This sector is highly vulnerable to weather conditions and to external events affecting commodity prices. The value of banana exports fell to less than 25% of merchandise trade earnings in 1998 compared to about 44% in 1994.

In view of the EU's announced phase-out of preferred access of bananas to its markets, agricultural diversification is a priority. Dominica has made some progress, with the export of small quantities of citrus fruits and vegetables and the introduction of coffee, patchouli, aloe vera, cut flowers, and exotic fruits such as mangoes, guavas, and papayas. Dominica has also had some success in increasing its manufactured exports, with soap as the primary product. Dominica also recently entered the offshore financial services market.

Because Dominica is mostly volcanic and has few beaches, development of tourism has been slow compared with that on neighboring islands. Nevertheless, Dominica's high, rugged mountains, rainforests, freshwater lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots make it an attractive destination. Cruise ship stopovers have increased following the development of modern docking and waterfront facilities in the capital. Eco-tourism also is a growing industry on the island.

Dominica is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency to all eight members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries.

Dominica is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). Its 1996 exports to the U.S. were $7.7 million, and its U.S. imports were $34 million. Dominica is also a member of the 14-member Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).


A paved road circles the island. Both Roseau and Portsmouth receive ships. The Cabrits Cruise Ship Port, located in the northwest within the Cabrits National Park, handles only cruise ship traffic. There is a 2,500-foot airstrip north of Roseau.


In 1987 Dominica became the first country in the world to operate a telecommunications system that was entirely digital. There are five local radio stations and one cable television station. The island also receives broadcasts from neighboring islands. Two newspapers, the New Chronicle and the government's Official Gazette, are published in Roseau.


Dominica's one general hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, is in Roseau. There are also smaller hospital facilities in Portsmouth, Marigot, and Grand Bay, and 12 health centers scattered across the country. Tuberculosis and other respiratory problems are made worse by high humidity and rainy conditions.

Clothing and Services

Dominicans dress modestly. Tourists are advised that scanty clothes and swimwear are only to be worn on the beaches. Casual light cottons are worn during the day, with a light sweater for cooler evenings. Raingear and hiking shoes are recommended for the mountains and rainforests.


U.S. citizens may enter Dominica without a passport for tourist stays of up to three months, but they must carry an original document proving U.S. citizenship, such as a U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship or certified U.S. birth certificate; photo identification; and a return or onward ticket. For further information concerning entry requirements, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Commonwealth of Dominica, 3216 New Mexico Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016, telephone: (202) 364-6781, email:[email protected], or the Consulate General of Dominica in New York at (212) 768-2480.

Dominica's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the temporary import or export of items such as business equipment, food and beverages, paints and varnishes, and chemicals. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Dominica in Washington or the Consulate in New York for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Americans living in or visiting Dominica are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados and obtain updated information on travel and security within Dominica. Consular Section hours are 9:00am-12 noon and 2:00pm-4:00pm, Monday-Friday except local and U.S. holidays. The U.S. Embassy is located in the American Life Insurance (ALICO) building, Cheapside, Bridgetown, Barbados, telephone 1-246-431-0225, fax 1-246-431-0179, e-mail:[email protected]or Internet:

Disaster Preparedness

Dominica is a hurricane-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at


January 1 New Year's Day


*Good Friday

*Easter Monday

May 1 Labor Day


July 2 Caricom Day

August (first Monday) *Bank Holiday

November 3-4 National Holidays

December 25 Christmas

December 26 Boxing Day



Philpott, Don. Caribbean Sunseekers: Dominica. Lincolnwood, Ill.: Passport Books, 1996.

Nakhimov, Pavel Stepanovich

views updated May 14 2018


(18021855), commander of Black Sea Fleet in Crimean war.

Pavel Stepanovich Nakhimov was born into a naval family in Gorodok, Smolensk province. In 1818 he completed his studies in the Naval Cadet Corps and served aboard ships in the Baltic fleet. From 1822 to 1825 Nakhimov participated in a round-the-world cruise abroad the frigate Kreiser -36. Nakhimov served aboard Vice-Admiral Geiden's flagship Azov -74 at the battle of Navarino on October 21, 1827. During the subsequent 18281829 Russo-Turkish War, Nakhimov served in the Russian Mediterranean squadron blockading the Dardanelles, commanding a corvette. Following the end of the war Nakhimov returned to the Baltic fleet base at Kronshtadt. In 1834 Nakhimov was transferred to the Black Sea Fleet, where he was given command of a ship of the line. During the 1840s Nakhimov participated in numerous amphibious landings on the eastern Black Sea Caucasian coast, where the Russian military constructed a chain of coastal forts to interdict arms smuggling to Muslim rebels. Nakhimov was promoted to rear admiral in 1845. Seven years later Nakhimov was promoted to vice admiral and given command of a fleet division. As relations between the Russian and Ottoman empires worsened in the early 1850s, Nakhimov argued for an aggressive naval policy toward the Ottoman Empire. On November 30, 1853, Nakhimov led a squadron into Sinope harbor on the southern Black Sea coast. Using shell-firing artillery instead of smoothbore cannons, his ships annihilated the Ottoman squadron moored there, producing outrage in Europe. Following the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, Nahkimov was appointed commander of the Black Sea Feet and military governor of Sevastopol port in February 1855. Nakhimov supervised the offloading of artillery from the fleet's warships to be integrated in a series of land fortifications under the direction of engineer E. I. Totleben. Nakhimov was mortally wounded by enemy fire on the Malakhov redoubt on July 10, 1855, and interred in the Vladimir church. A monument was raised to Nakhimov in 1898 in Sevastopol on the forty-fifth anniversary of the Sinope battle. The Imperial Navy honored his memory by naming ships in his honor; an Admiral Nakhimov cruiser was sunk by her crew after the Tsushima battle on May 27, 1905. Despite the USSR's disavowal of much of its imperial history, the Soviet government on March 3, 1944, established a first- and second-class Nakhimov military order for valor for officers; a Nakhimov medal for lower ranks was also established, and naval cadets attended Nakhimov naval academies. The post-Soviet navy also has a Kirov-class Admiral Nakhimov cruiser (formerly Kalinin, renamed in 1992).

See also: black sea fleet; crimean war; military, imperial era; sinope, battle of


Daly, Robert Welter. (1958). "Russia's Maritime Past." In The Soviet Navy, ed. Colonel M. G. Saunders. New York: Praeger.

John C. K. Daly


views updated Jun 27 2018

lin·er1 / ˈlīnər/ • n. 1. (also ocean liner) a large luxurious passenger ship of a type formerly used on a regular line.2. a fine paintbrush used for painting thin lines and for outlining. ∎  a cosmetic used for outlining or accentuating a facial feature, or a brush or pencil for applying this.3. inf. another term for line drive.lin·er2 • n. a lining in an appliance, device, or container, esp. a removable one, in particular: ∎  the lining of a garment. ∎  (also cylinder liner) a replaceable metal sleeve placed within the cylinder of an engine, forming a durable surface to withstand wear from the piston.


views updated May 23 2018

liner ship or aircraft belonging to a line (LINE2), i.e. a regular succession of vessels plying between certain places. XIX. See -ER1.