Dominica Independence Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Dominica officially known as the Commonwealth of Dominica is an island country in the Caribbean which celebrates its Independence Day annually on 3rd November as on this day the country got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. 

Don’t confuse Dominica Independence Day with the Dominican Republic Independence Day which is the Independence Day of the Republic of Dominica a much larger Carribbean country which falls annually on 27th February. 

Dominican Independence Day is an opportunity to commemorate the country’s rich culture and history. Several events take place leading up to the day, such as Heritage Day and Creole Day.  

Event Dominica Independence Day
Date November 3, 2022
Day Thursday
Significance The day celebrates and marks Dominica Independence from the United Kingdom in 1978.
Observed by Dominica


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Dominica Independence Day History: 

The first recorded settlement in the island were carried out by the Arawak arriving from South America in the fifth century. The Kalinago displaced the Arawak by the 15th century. Columbus is said to have passed the island on Sunday, 3 November 1493. It was later colonised by Europeans, predominantly by the French from the 1690s to 1763. The French imported enslaved people from West Africa to Dominica to work on coffee plantations. Great Britain took possession in 1763 after the Seven Years’ War, and it gradually established English as its official language.

Christopher Columbus, sailing for Spain, named the island as Dominica, after the Latin term dies Dominica for Sunday, the day on which the Spanish first saw it in November 1493. Some Spanish colonisers settled here. But, as European explorers and settlers entered the region, indigenous refugees from surrounding islands settled Dominica and pushed out the Spanish settlers. The Spanish instead settled other areas that were easier to control. Spain had little success in colonising Dominica. In 1632, the French Compagnie des Îles de l’Amérique claimed it and other “Petites Antilles” for France, but no physical occupation took place. Between 1642 and 1650, French missionary Raymond Breton became the first regular European visitor to the island amd eventually island came under French rule. 

In 1761, during the Seven Years’ War in Europe, a British expedition against Dominica led by Andrew Rollo conquered the island, along with several other Caribbean islands. In 1763, France had lost the war and ceded the island to Great Britain under the Treaty of Paris. The same year, the British established a legislative assembly, with only European colonists represented. In 1778 the French, with the active co-operation of the population, began the re-capture of Dominica. This was ended by the Treaty of Paris (1783), which returned the island to British control.

Until 1958, Dominica was governed as part of the British Windward Islands. Caribbean islands sought independence from 1958 to 1962, and Dominica became a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation in 1958. After the federation dissolved in 1962, Dominica became an associated state of the United Kingdom in 1967, and formally took responsibility for its internal affairs. On 3 November 1978, the Commonwealth of Dominica was granted independence as a republic, led by the first Prime Minister of the island nation Patrick John. 

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Dominica Independence Day Significance: 

Dominica is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea, the northernmost of the Windward Islands. It is a small island nation with an area of about 750 kms and a population of just over 72,000 people. Officially it is known as the Commonwealth of Dominica. Africans are the largest ethnic group in the country followed by the multi-racial and a small number of Europeans. Christianity is the predominant religion in the country with English being the official language although the Dominican Creole French is also widely spoken. 

Dominica’s tumultuous past makes for a long cultural and political history. The long struggle for Dominica’s freedom adds to the significance of this day. This day commemorates the resilience and strength of the Dominican people. It also offers tribute to all of the heroes of the independence struggle for Dominica. This is a day of feel pride and enthusiasm for the people of Dominica to celebrate their identity and take proud in it. 

With its many volcanoes, mountains, and rivers, Dominica is the perfect place for extreme adventure. This beautiful and picturesque country has it all. This day celebrates Dominican beauty and strength in every single aspect and also encourages people around the world to visit this island paradise especially on the occasion of the Independence Day when exciting celebrations and events takes place all over the island and provides an amazing view to the visitors. 

Every year, the country commemorates it’s independence with a season of cultural activities which can last as long as four weeks. These celebrations portray vivid examples of the island’s cultural influences. The traditional dances display European traces in Hill & Toe, Waltz, and Quadrille; and borrow from African native dances in Bèlè. These events give an opportunity to the Dominican people to proudly celebrate their culture and heritage. 

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Dominica Independence Day Celebrations: 

The National Dress of Dominica is called the Wob Dwiyet.  It is a large gown worn by the ladies and generally featured on Creole Day (the last Friday in October). Over the years, several variations of the national costume have emerged. The men generally wear white shirts, black pants, and a red sash, while young girls wear flowered skirts called a jupe and white tops on this special occasion. 

Music is another major part of the Independence Day celebrations especially the Jing Ping music. Jing Ping music is traditionally Dominican. The main instrument in a Jing Ping band is the Accordion. Other instruments include a Bamboo Flute, the Boom Boom (a long bamboo wind instrument), and the Gwaj (an idiophone). Dominica’s Bouyon music was originally adapted from the sound of Jing Ping.

The Quadrille and Bėlė dances are displayed at various village festivals during the six-week independence season. Quadrille, Flirtation and Mazouk are some dances from the island’s European heritage while Bėlė is from the African heritage.

The delectable creole dishes, some not only unique to Dominica, are the highlight of the Independence season. Stuffed Crab-backs, Titiwi accras, fig (green bananas) or breadfruit and saltfish are some of the tasty dishes enjoyed during that time. Dominica’s national dish is now Callalou, a change from the Crapaud which is now an endangered species.

Most Searched FAQs on Dominica Independence Day: 

1. When is Dominica Independence Day celebrated? 

Dominica Independence Day is annually celebrated on 3rd November in Dominica. 

2. What does Dominica Independence Day commemorates? 

Dominica Independence Day commemorates the independence of Dominica from the British Empire on 3rd November, 1978. 

3. Is Dominica safe to visit? 

Yes, Dominica is safe to visit for tourists. Tourist-targeted crimes are rare.

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