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DOMINIKA, Dominica, Wspólnota Dominiki, Commonwealth of Dominica, pañstwo w Ameryce Œrodk., w Indiach Zach.; na wyspie Dominika na M. Karaibskim, w grupie W. Zawietrznych (Ma³e Antyle).


Informacje ogólne

Stolica: Roseau

Powierzchnia: 751 km2

LudnoϾ: 74 tys. mieszk. (1996)

Jêzyk urzêdowy: angielski

Jednostka monetarna: dolar wschodniokaraibski

Œwiêto narodowe: 3 listopada (rocznica uzyskania niepodleg³oœci 1978)

Podzia³ administracyjny: 10 parafii


Largely rural, uncrowded and unspoiled, Dominica touts itself as a 'non-tourist destination' for divers, hikers and naturalists - partly because it lacks those white-sand beaches so favored by holidaymakers to the Caribbean. The island's main attractions involve strapping on some gear and working up a sweat, making it a great destination if your interests extend beyond lying motionless in the sun.

Dubbed the Caribbean's 'Nature Island,' Dominica has a lush mountainous interior of rainforests, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs and more than 200 rivers, many of which cascade over steep cliff faces en route to the coast. The only way to really experience this fabulous terrain is to pull on your hiking boots and start walking. Get ready to test your calf muscles because the island has the highest mountains in the Eastern Caribbean; the loftiest peak, Morne Diablotin, is 4747 feet (1447 m) high - not bad for an island measuring only 29 miles (47km) by 16 miles (26km).

Apart from its natural splendours, the island has an interesting fusion of British, French and West Indian cultural traditions, and is home to the Eastern Caribbean's largest Carib Indian community.

Area: 290 sq miles (166 sq km)
Population: 71,540
Capital city: Roseau
People: African descent (90%), native Carib (4%)
Language: English, French-based patois
Religion: Roman Catholic 77%, Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Baptist 2%, Seventh Day Adventist 2%, and other 7%, none 4%
Government: Independent state within the British Commonwealth
Prime Minister: Roosevelt Douglas

GDP: US$225 million
GDP per head: US$3400
Annual growth: 2%
Inflation: 1.1%
Major industries: Agriculture (primarily bananas and coconuts), tourism, shoes, furniture, cement blocks
Major trading partners: Caricom countries, Italy, USA, UK, Japan, Canada



Most of Dominica's attractions and places to stay are along the west coast or in the mountains just inland from the capital, Roseau.

Dominica has two airports: Canefield, a 10-minute drive from Roseau, and Melville Hall, on the secluded northeast side of the island. If you're planning to base yourself in Roseau, try to avoid Melville Hall as it's a good 75-minute haul to the capital.

This is a large island, but the primary roads are well paved and getting around is easy. With a reasonably early start, it's possible to drive up the west coast from Roseau to Portsmouth, explore Cabrits National Park, travel down the east coast through the Carib Territory and stop at the Emerald Pool on your way back across the island, all in a full-day outing.


Facts for the Traveler

Visas: Most visitors to Dominica must have a valid passport, but US and Canadian citizens can enter with just proof of citizenship, such as a photo ID and an official birth certificate. French nationals may visit for up to two weeks with a Carte d'Indentité. Only citizens of former Eastern Bloc countries require visas. A roundtrip or onward ticket is officially required of all visitors.
Health risks: Sunburn, diarrhea and intestinal parasites; leptospirosis can be present in freshwater streams.
Time: GMT/UTC minus four hours
Electricity: 220/240V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Imperial
Telephoning: From North America, dial 1 + 767 + the seven-digit local number. From elsewhere, dial your country's international direct dialing prefix + 1 + 767 + the seven-digit local number.



The Caribs, who settled here in the 14th century, called the island Waitikubuli, which means 'tall is her body.' With less poetic flair, Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week he spotted it - Sunday, 3 November 1493.

In 1607, Captain John Smith and his followers stopped at the Dominican coastal settlement of Portsmouth for a couple of days before heading north to establish Jamestown, North America's first permanent English settlement. The harbor became so important to the British that they intended to make Portsmouth the island's capital until outbreaks of malaria and yellow fever thwarted the plan.

France laid claim to the island in 1635 and a few years later sent a contingent of missionaries, who were driven off by unwelcoming Caribs. The French and English signed a neutrality treaty in 1660 agreeing to Carib possession of the island. Nevertheless, French settlers from the neighboring French West Indies began establishing coffee plantations on Dominica toward the end of the century. France then sent a governor in the 1720s and took formal possession of the island.

For the remainder of the 18th century, Dominica was caught up in the French and British skirmishes that marked the era, changing hands between the two powers several times. Under the Treaty of Paris, the French reluctantly ceded the island to the British in 1763. The French tried to recapture Dominica in 1795 and again in 1805, when they managed to burn much of Roseau to the ground.

After 1805 the island remained firmly in the possession of the British, who established sugar plantations on Dominica's more accessible slopes. The British administered the island as part of the Leeward Islands Federation until 1939, when it was transferred to the Windward Islands Federation. In 1967, Dominica gained control over its internal affairs as a West Indies Associated State; in 1978, on the 485th anniversary of Columbus' 'discovery,' Dominica became an independent republic within the Commonwealth.

The initial year of independence was a turbulent one. The island's first prime minister, Patrick John, was forced to resign in June 1979 after a series of corrupt schemes came to light, including an attempt to transfer 15% of the island to US developers. Hurricane David, packing winds of 150 miles an hour, devastated the island in August 1979, denuding vast tracts of forest, destroying banana crops and wreaking havoc on much of Roseau. 42 people were killed and 75% of the islanders' homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

In 1980 Mary Eugenia Charles was elected Prime Minister, becoming the first female elected head of state in the Caribbean. Within a year of her inauguration she survived two unsuccessful coups, including a bizarre attempt orchestrated by Patrick John involving mercenaries recruited from the Ku Klux Klan.

As chairperson of the Organization of East Caribbean States, Prime Minister Charles endorsed the 1983 US invasion of Grenada and sent a symbolic force of Dominican troops to participate. An appreciative USA responded with increased aid to Dominica, one consequence of which is the island's fine paved roads. After 15 years in office, Charles resigned in 1995 and was replaced by Edison James of the United Workers' Party (DUWP).

The most recent elections were held in January of 2000. Roosevelt Douglas, leader of the Labour Party of Dominica (LDP), became the new prime minister.



Despite Dominica's political affiliations and choice of measurement standard, the French have had a more lasting influence on the island than the British. This can be seen in the predominance of Roman Catholicism, the widespread use of French-based patois, and the commonness of French place names. African, West Indian and native Carib traditions all contribute to a Creole culture, resulting in mix of language, food, art and customs. Common sights include Carib dugout canoes, stilt houses, Rastafarian dreadlocks, and red, green and yellow African clothing. Dominica has a thriving music scene, centered mainly around reggae, calypso and zouk. Cricket and soccer are the most popular sports.

Dominica's most celebrated author, Jean Rhys, was born in Roseau in 1890. Although she moved to England at age 16 and only made one brief return visit to Dominica, much of her work draws upon her childhood experiences in the West Indies. Rhys touches lightly upon her life in Dominica in her books Voyage in the Dark (1934) and her autobiography Smile Please (1979).



Dominica is 500 miles (805 km) northeast of Caracas, Venezuela, and 375 miles (605 km) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its nearest neighbors are Guadeloupe (60 mi/95 km north) and Martinique (55mi/90 km south). Slightly larger than Guam and shaped a bit like a bottle of port, Dominica is 29 miles (47km) long and 16 miles (26km) wide. It has the highest mountains in the Eastern Caribbean; the loftiest peak, Morne Diablotin, is 4750ft (1450m) high. The mountains, which act as a magnet for rain, serve as a water source for the more than 200 rivers that run down the mountain valleys. En route to the coast many of the rivers cascade over steep cliff faces, giving the island an abundance of waterfalls.

More than 160 bird species have been sighted on Dominica, giving it some of the most diverse bird life in the Eastern Caribbean. Of these, 59 species nest on the island, including two endemic and endangered parrot species. Dominica's national bird, the Sisserou, also called the Imperial Parrot, is about 20in (50cm) long when full grown, the largest of all Amazon parrots. Other critters include large crapaud frogs, lizards, 13 species of bat, 55 of butterfly, boa constrictors that grow nearly 10ft (3m) in length and four other types of snakes (none poisonous).

Dominica is well known for its vast rainforests, but the island also has montane thickets, dry scrub woodlands, evergreen forests, fumarole vegetation, cloud forests and elfin woodlands. The most abundant tree on the island is the gommier, a huge gum tree that's traditionally been used to make dugout canoes. The most colorful of Dominica's endemic plants is its national flower, the bwa kwaib, or Carib tree. A deciduous shrub, it's found on the island's drier west coast. In spring, the bare branches of this shrub suddenly become thick with hundreds of scarlet flowers, adding a bright splash to the countryside.

In January the average high temperature is 85°F (29°C) while the low averages 68°F (20°C). In July the average high is 90°F (32°C) while the low averages 72°F (22°C). The driest months are February to June. All these statistics are for Roseau - the mountains are cooler and wetter.





While Roseau (pronounced 'rose-oh') is one of the region's poorer capitals, it's not the grimmest. Shopkeepers wash down the sidewalks every morning, the streets are lined with old stone-and-wood buildings, and mountains form a verdant backdrop. The city has rebuilt its waterfront, which was severely damaged by Hurricane David, and it now boasts a new cruise ship dock and promenade. There are a growing number of modern cement structures too, since this is a functional market town, but for the most part walking Roseau's quieter backstreets feels like stepping back a hundred years in time.

You can get a reminder of the more inhumane aspects of Dominica's colonial past in the cobblestone plaza of the Old Market, the site of a former slave market, where a wrought iron Victorian-style memorial marks the old block where slave auctions took place. There are interesting displays on the slave trade, Creole and Amerindian culture at the Dominica Museum. At the public market you can find fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs; the blowing of a conch shell signals fresh fish for sale. Other worthwhile sights include the old stone Catholic cathedral, the botanical gardens, the Anglican church, and the public library, built in 1905 with funds from US philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.


Cabrits National Park

Located on a scenic peninsula just north of Portsmouth, this park is best known as the site of Fort Shirley, a large 18th-century British garrison which once housed 600 soldiers. Some of the fort's stone ruins have been partially reconstructed; others are half-hidden in the jungle and are fun to explore. There are fine views of Prince Rupert Bay from the ruins of the Officer's Quarters. The park encompasses the peninsula, the surrounding coast and coral reefs, and the island's largest swamp.


Carib Territory

The 3700-acre (1497-hectare) Carib Territory is home to most of Dominica's 3000 Carib Indians. After exposure to European-borne diseases in the 17th century, the Carib population here fell to just a few hundred, but that was fortunate compared to the decimation Caribs suffered on other Caribbean islands. The remaining few were removed to a small 'reserve' in the mid-18th century - the nucleus of the present-day Territory. Although their numbers have increased since then, their culture has been eroded by Roman Catholicism and the English and French Creole languages.

The Territory is a predominantly rural area with banana and breadfruit trees and wild heliconia growing along the roadside. Many of the houses are traditional Carib-style wooden structures on log stilts, but the poorer areas consist of shanties made of corrugated tin and tarpaper. Salybia is the main settlement, while the L'Escalier Tête Chien at Sineka is the most popular attraction. This unique stairway-like lava outcrop appears to climb out of the turbulent ocean and was thought by the Caribs to be the embodiment of a boa constrictor; it holds a significant place in many Carib legends.


Layou River Area

The Layou River, Dominica's longest, empties into the sea just south of St Joseph, at the center of the west coast. The river basin is a peaceful rural area, with bamboo leaning over the river banks and banana and coconut trees at the side of the road. When it's not running strong, the river is a popular place for freshwater swimming.

St Joseph, a simple fishing village of 2600 people, rises up the slope from a small black-sand beach, but the area's best beach is farther north at the Castaways Beach Hotel in Mero. There's good swimming in front of Castaways and fair snorkeling along the rock formations at the southern end of its beach -- with a little luck you might even spot a sting ray or octopus.



Portsmouth, Dominica's second-largest town, sits on the banks of Prince Rupert Bay. Columbus entered the bay during his fourth voyage to the New World in 1504.

Although Portsmouth center doesn't have any sights per se, there are a couple of oddities you might want to take a look at: the small but colorful monument at the bus stop dedicated to Lord Cathcart 'who died of the bloody flux off Dominica in 1741' and the nearby line of shipwrecks piled up in the shallow waters at the back of the police station.




Dominique qui se prononce «Dom-in-eek-a » est une île de formation volcanique qui se situe entre les îles françaises de la Guadeloupe et la Martinique dans les petites Antilles, approximativement à 15 degrés Nord et 61 degrés Ouest. C'est la plus montagneuse des îles sous le vent, longue de 40 km et large de 20 dans ses plus grande dimensions. Le nom de « Commonwealth of Dominica » est souvent utilisé pour la distinguer de la République Dominicaine (à ce propos, le Zip code 00109-8000 assure que le mail n'est pas une erreur d'envoi en République Dominicaine).

Il y a plusieurs sommets à plus de 1000m, les plus hauts sont le Morne Diablotin 1447m et le Morne Trois Pitons 1402m.

L'île de la Dominique est connue pour ses forêts tropicales, et ses innombrables rivières et cascades qui sont le résultat des pluies intérieures intenses.
De plus ses origines volcaniques se manifestent partout et plus intensément encore au
Lac Bouillant (un des plus grand dans le monde) et de nombreuses fumeroles dont certaines sous-marines. L'île est également réputée pour ses sites de plongée et constitue le meilleur lieu pour aller observer les baleines dans la région (voir dans le monde.

Voici la présentation de quelques-uns des nombreux Parcs Nationaux et réserves sur l'île. Les 17000 acres du Parc National du Morne Trois Pitons contiennent sans doute la majorité des ressources souterraines d'eau de la Dominique, des sites fameux, plusieurs lacs de cratère et cascades, dont la Piscine d'Emeraude, à 14 miles de Roseau.

La Réserve de Forêt du nord est un bon exemple de la forêt tropicale océanique, elle est également célèbre en tant que refuge de l'oiseau emblématique national, le Perroquet Sisserou endémique à l'île mais rare.

Le Parc National Cabrits, situé sur un cap juste au nord de Portsmouth, abrite le Fort Shirley en partie restauré, ses eaux constituent une réserve marine.
A l'extrémité Sud Ouest de l'île, les environs de Scott's Head/Soufrière devraient bientôt être également une réserve marine.

La population de la Dominique est à peu près de 71000 habitants, dont 20000 habitent aux environs de la capitale, Roseau, qui se situe sur la côte au sud Ouest. Roseau tient son nom de la période française en raison des plantes du même nom qui poussent le long de la rivière.

La deuxième plus grande ville est Portsmouth dans le nord ouest, les autres 'urbanisations' se situent dans le nord est à Marigot et dans le sud à Grand Bay.

L'anglais est la langue officielle mais le créole basé sur le français est très usité dès que l'on s'écarte de la ville et particulièrement dans les villages. C'est le reflet d'une histoire turbulente entre les Anglais et les Français qui tour à tour voulait contrôler la Dominique. Jusqu'à présent les autochtones, les Caraïbes, essayaient de coexister. En 1903 ils leur ont été assignés 3700 acres de Territoire dans le nord-est et sont au nombre de 3000 environ aujourd'hui.

Le nom Caraïbe original de la Dominique est Waitikubuli, et de nombreux villages ont gardé (ou connaissent) leur nom en langue Caraïbe.

La devise est le Dollar Caraïbe (Eastern Caraibean $ qui est indexé au dollar pour 2,7169) Les horaires d'ouverture des banques sont du Lundi au Vendredi de 8h à 15h (vendredi jusqu'à 17 heures).

La saison de pêche en eau douce et de chasse est fermée du 1ier mars au 31 août, elle concerne l'Agouti, les Crabes, les Ecrevisses, le crapaud (Mountain Chicken) .
Récemment: en raison du déclin de certaines espèces mentionnées ci-dessus, la saison close a été étendue à toute l'année.
Une autre réglementation que doit avoir en tête un visiteur est que l'importation et l'exportation de fruit, légumes et fleurs sont restreints; vous devrez obtenir une licence pour amener des fleurs, par exemple. L'achat de coraux et coquillages est prohibé.

Le Museum de Roseau, est compact mais bien organisé. A l'opposé de la jetée pour les bateaux de croisière le musée est logé dans l'ancien bâtiment de la poste. Derrière c'est le Vieux Marché, ancien marché d'esclave où l'on peut trouver un marché de l'artisanat maintenant.

Le Nouveau Marché, à l'autre bout du front de mer (Bay Front), est animé le samedi matin très tôt (il est également ouvert les autres jours de la semaine) avec une grande variété de fruits, légumes, fleurs tropicales, et produits secs. Vous pourrez toujours y trouver alentour pour vous désaltérer de l'eau de noix de coco fraîchement coupé.

Le bus écrasé dans le Jardin Botanique est un témoignage silencieux de la force des vents de l'Ouragan David (1979), mais également une démonstration de la puissance régénératrice de la nature (l'arbre tombée sur le bus pousse toujours). Regardez alentour vous trouverez la maison de bambou, et toute proche une petite volière avec quelques exemples des rares perroquets Dominicais.

Bien au dessus de la volière il y a un beau point de vue, Morne Bruce, qui peut être rejoint par le chemin près de l'entrée Est du Jardin, vous aurez de là une splendide vue de Roseau.

Roseau depuis Morne Bruce
En quittant le Jardin par la porte ouest, allez tout droit et vous passerez devant Tropicrafts (jetez un coup d'il sur les tapis fait à la main) et regardez la cathédrale catholique de type Romane sur votre gauche.


Autour du nord

La deuxième ville de la Dominique est Portsmouth, situé dans le nord-ouest de l'île sur la Prince Rupert Bay.

Pour les visiteurs, le point d'attraction du regard sont les Cabrits, un bras de terre où l'on peut trouver les ruines du Fort Shirley en partie restauré récemment. Promenez vous autour et vous tomberez sans doute sur un vieux bâtiment et des canons du fort.

Il faut voir également près de Portsmouth, la Rivière Indienne, où vous trouverez des bateaux qui remontent le long de la mangrove sur un mile.
On trouve aussi à Portsmouth l'université médicale de Ross.


Autour du sud

Sur votre chemin vers le sud de l'île, à peu près un mile après le village de pêcheur de Pointe Michel, là où la route quitte la côte pour s'enfoncer vers les montagnes, il y a un chemin qui descend sur une plage de galets. A la fin de la plage et à partir de quelques mètres du bord de l'eau c'est Champagne (appelé aussi Pointe Guignard, Anse Bateaux). Une aire où l'activité volcanique crée des milliers de bulles qui sortent de la roche et rejoignent la surface de l'eau.

A l'extrémité de l'île, les villages de Soufrières et de Scott's Head sont tous deux magnifiques, Scott's Head se trouve au bout d'un isthme et offre une vue formidable de la baie, de la côte jusqu'au Nord de l'île, et vers le sud de la Martinique si le temps est dégagé. Sur la Pointe les ruines de Fort Cachacou qui était un poste de défense important impliqué dans les actions entre anglais et français entre 1778 et 1805.

Comme son nom l'implique, Soufrière abrite quelques sources d'eau chaude riche en soufre. A noter une vue inoubliable sur la baie au village de Galion au dessus de Soufrière.