The Commonwealth of Dominica is a parliamentary democracy and a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
Green, representing the island’s vegetation, with a centred cross of three equal bands. The vertical part is yellow (hoist), black, and white and the horizontal part is yellow (top), black, and white. The three strands of the cross represent the Holy Trinity and the colours symbolising: sunshine, agriculture and the native people (yellow); the purity of the people’s aspirations, and of local water (white); the soil and the people’s African heritage (black). Superimposed in the centre of the cross is a red roundel bearing a sisserou parrot, central feature of Dominica’s flag, the unique national bird; it stands for high national aspirations. It is encircled by 10 green, five-pointed stars edged in yellow, representing the island’s 10 parishes. They are set in a red roundel to show commitment to social justice. The flag echoes Dominica’s national motto: Après Bondié, C’est la Ter (“After the Good Lord Comes the Land”).
Area: 754 sq. km.
Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. Unsuccessful attempts at colonisation were made by England in 1627 and France in 1635. The latter ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. Dominica took independence from the UK on 3 November 1978. In 1980, Mary Eugenia Charles assumed office as the first female prime minister in the Caribbean. Some 3,000 Caribs still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.
Population: 68, 910 (July 2006 proj. estimate)
Language: English (official); French Créole; Caribbean Creole
Currency: Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar (US$1=EC$2.70, rate fixed since 1976)
Legal system: Based on English common law.
Dominica is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), based in Saint Lucia, and consisting of a High Court of Justice and a Court of Appeal. One High Court judge of the ECSC is assigned to and a resident of the island.