Dominica(ˌdɒmɪˈniːkə, dəˈmɪnɪkə) is an island nation located in the Windward group of the Lesser Antilles, north of Martinique, 15 25 N, 61 20 W. The island has a total area of 754 sq km. English is the official language, but a french creole is widely spoken. Roseau is the capital.
The island has a total population of 69,655, with an average life-expectancy of 74.12 years. Dominica is 86.8% black, 8.9% mixed, 2.9% Carib Amerindian, 0.8% white, and 0.7% other. The island is 77% Roman Catholic,15% Protestant, 2% none, and 6% other. It has a 94% literacy rate.
In August 2015, tropical storm Erika hit Dominica effectively wiping out 90% of her GDP. This is extreme but a harbinger of what is to come for Caribbean islands. Dominica is in the Caribbean Hurricane belt. Her dominant issues includes erratic weather patterns(droughts to heavy rains), sea level rise, landslides, lost tourism, and food security. The government has acknowledge the problem and has developed administrative level plans. Plans include sustainable development with themes of organic Dominica, ecco tourism, etc. The latter overall means developing a green economy. A large portion of the Dominican population and infrastructure is near the coast, and sparse in the interior. Sea level rise is a major issue. Dominica has engaged in building sea barriers to address the problem. Flooding and heavy downpour has lead to landslides being a serious subject. Dominica is rich in rivers which heavy rains and flooding can cause banks to rise destroying homes and communities.
In 1660, the French and British government signed a treaty with the Caribs, leaving the island in Carib sovereignty. In 1730, hostility between the French and English flared over Dominica with the British claiming 'an undoubted right' to Dominica. The French claimed the island belong to the Caribs under the Treaty of 1660. Dominica, at the end of 18th century, became a haven for Caribs, who were decimated in the other islands of the Lesser Antilles.
In 1763 the British annexed Dominica, the land proved too mountainous for sugar cultivation. Nevertheless, sugar cultivation and production took hold. No individual was permitted to own more than 300 acres of land in Dominica, due to the scarcity of cultivateable land for sugar.
We see the importance of the sugar industry reflected in the racial makeup of Dominica after 1763. The black population in 1763 was 5,872 compared to 1,718 whites. In 1766, 8,496 blacks compared to 2,020 whites. In 1773, 18,753 black compared to 3,350 whites. In 1780 12,713 blacks to 1,066 whites. Between 1767-1773, 2,742 slaves were imported per year to Dominica for a total of 19,194. The majority of slave owners owned 3-5 slaves. Three quarters of slave owners owned less than ten slaves. Nine percent of slaves in Dominica was used for domestic functions.
By 1788, Dominica had a free black population totaling 445.