Dominica is not the same country as Dominican Republic

The island Dominica is sometimes mistaken with the state of the Dominican Republic (DR) because they are similar in name. In both countries the people are called Dominicans (Dom-ee-ni-cuns vs Doh mi- nee kans), but in addition to the pronunciation distinction they are different in many other ways. The Commonwealth of Dominica is largely known as the Nature Isle and is recognized for its un-spoilt and natural beauty.

The tropical island of Dominica is situated in the northern end of the Lesser Antilles and it’s the largest, most mountainous of the Windward Islands. It lies between the two French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Guadeloupe is situated to the north of the island while Martinique is to the South. It is approximately 754 square kilometers.

Significantly larger, occupying just over 48,000 square kilometers, making up at least two-thirds of the Caribbean island known as Hispaniola, the Latin American country of Dominican Republic offers beautiful scenery, a lot of lovely beaches and just about four mountain ranges situated in the northern part of the country. With its capital, Santo Domingo, the country’s population is about 8 million people.
The 70,000 inhabitants of the Nature Isle of the Caribbean speak English as the official language, whereas the main language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish.

Dominica’s populations is 90% black with African roots, the other 10% made up of indo-Caribbean, Asian, Haitian, Lebanese and Syrian. The population of Dominica Republic is largely 90% bi or tri-racial, meaning a composition between either Spanish or Italian or French with black or Taino.

Dominica is the only Caribbean island to have a surviving population of Carib Indians who were migrants from South America. The Carib Territory is a designated area set aside for the Caribs where about 3,000 Caribs still live in the culture and lifestyle of their ancestors.

The differences between Dominica and the Dominican Republic are directly related to their historical occupation. The major European influences on the Nature Isle were French and English who fought for dominion many times over. And though Dominica was also discovered by the Spaniard Christopher Columbus, due largely to the resistance of the fierce Caribs and the lack of safe harbors, the Spaniards preferred the other islands which were more accessible and occupied by less hostile natives and offered land that was easier to colonize. Two centuries after its discovery, the island was used as a trading post and a short stop for the fleets navigating the seas. Eventually, trade began between the Caribs and Europeans, and amicable relations between the Caribs and the French were strongest, this leading to the entrenched settlements of the French soon followed by the English. The language, the architecture, the culture and the cuisine are the permanent reminders of the influences which today defines our culture.

New world slavery and the utilization of African slaves designed the ethno-scape of the two countries. In both, the cultures are a blend of European colonist, its native inhabitants and their cultural legacies. In which case Dominica was inhabited by the Arawaks Indian, the Caribs, and then settled by French and English and the Africans. The Dominican Republic was settled by Spanish, French, Taino Indians, Africans and other nationalities. It was the first country to be permanently settled by the Europeans in the new world.

Dominica cuisine emanates African and French style in the names of ingredients, names of meals, preparation style, the combination uses of foods, the spices and herbs used and the methods of cooking. The cuisine of Dominican Republic is more that of Spanish and Latin American cuisine.

The Architecture of residential, religious and commercial buildings is prominently French in Dominica. The administrative historical government buildings are predominantly British, as they were last to take control of the island, establishing an outpost for England. The layout and design of the established towns is that of the British as well. Dominican Republic has more of a Spanish influence in all these areas. Both countries are predisposed to Christianity, specifically Roman Catholic.

The currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP) with a floating exchange rate approximately 1US to 40DOP. The Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD) is the currency of Dominica and seven other countries under the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It is fixed to the US dollar at 1US to 2.70XCD. Both countries exercise independent political syste0ms. The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy with a president ruling the cabinet, whereas in Dominica, though the president is the head of state under the parliamentary democracy system, the Prime Minister manages the cabinet.

The Dominican Republic relies on natural resources and governments services for main revenue, but the service sector is the highest employer of Dominicans. The Commonwealth of Dominica relies on agriculture and tourism as main economy drivers.

The culture of the Dominican Republic is influenced heavily by the Spanish, African and Taino. This is evident in the food, the family structure, and the religion and the music. The country is known as the creator of the meringue music style which is lively fast paced in its beat. The Nature Isle, Dominica is known as the creator of “bouyon” music which is influenced by African and French and is a fusion of bele, Zouk, Cadence and other Caribbean rhythms.

Baseball is the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic and the country has the second highest number of player in the major League of Baseball in the USA. Whereas natives of Dominica tend to be driven by their cricket, which was brought to Dominica by the British. The sport is widely played today, and is the main form of international recreation enjoyed today.

Although there are major differences in both countries especially in size, shape and population there are still many similarities and they both share a similar Caribbean way of life, but one should still not confuse the Nature island, Dominica with Dominica Republic.