Dominica Independence Day is observed on 3 November.
This year marks the country’s 44th anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom.
Dominica, officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island country in the Caribbean.
The first European contact with the Caribbean island took place on 3 November 1493 when Christopher Columbus sailed past during his second voyage to the new world. He named this piece of land after the Latin phrase ‘Dies Dominica’, which means the ‘Lord’s day’ as he landed on a Sunday.
It was one of the first Caribbean countries to be put on the world map. Owing to the Italian explorer’s discovery, trade routes between Europe and the Americas sprouted.
The Spanish never made a serious effort to colonise the island finding it hard to maintain for the lack of natural resources.
France showed an interest in the 17th century and established the first permanent European settlement in 1690. French colonisers brought enslaved people in from Africa to work on coffee plantations.
Britain gained possession of Dominica in 1763 in accordance with the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years’ War; it wasn’t until 1805 that the French gave up repeated attempts to recapture the country.
In 1838, Dominica became the first colony of the British West Indies to have an elected legislature controlled by an ethnic African majority.
After much agitation and tension, in 1865 the colonial office replaced the elective assembly with one made up of one-half members who were elected and one-half who were appointed.
In 1871, Dominica became part of the British Leeward Islands. The political power of the elected assembly progressively eroded. Crown colony government was re-established in 1896.
Finally, on 3 November 1978, the Commonwealth of Dominica gained its independence from Britain as an independent republic within the Commonwealth, with Patrick John as Prime Minister.