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Dominica Unwrapped: A Brief History of the Nature Island

Of course, we travel for adventure, relaxation and sightseeing, but there’s something to be said for being able to appreciate a destination beyond face value. To jumpstart that appreciation — in preparation for your future trip to Dominica — here’s a brief history of the Nature Island.  

Early History

Dominica’s first inhabitants were the Ortoroids, who settled on the island around 3100 B.C. from South America and remained there for nearly 3,000 years. Around the year 400 A.D., the Arawaks — indigenous people of South America and the Caribbean — lay their claim to the land. Fast-forward to 1400 or so, and the Kalinago (or “Caribs,” as dubbed by the Europeans) peoples wiped out the Arawak and settled in their place.

Origins of its Name

The Kalinago/Caribs named the island “Waitukubuli,” meaning “tall is her body,” inspired by the island’s vast mountain ranges and natural grandeur. Less than a century later, in 1493, Christopher Columbus arrived to the island after his voyage to the New World. He left a legacy in the form of a new name: Dominica, after the Spanish word for Sunday, as he’d first reached the island on a Sunday. Shortly thereafter, Europeans colonized the island. Approximately 2,000 Kalinago peoples — the last remaining in the West Indies — currently reside in the Kalinago Barana Auté territory on the northwestern side of the island.

Dominica Today

Dominica’s status as an independent country is very recent. Up until 1978, Dominica was still legally under British rule. Because of its many different ownerships and complicated history, Dominica has a unique culture with influences from the Kalinago, French and English inhabitants standing out and melting together.

Today, Dominica’s two biggest industries are agriculture and tourism. Bananas and other tropical fruits are a huge export, and locally harvested foods make up a huge part of the local economy as well. Its nickname of the “Nature Island” draws visitors from around the globe who seek to immerse themselves in the island’s lush wildlife, expansive hot springs and sparkling waters. 

Dominica is also on track to become the world’s first climate-resilient country through environmental initiatives like clean energy and sustainability. One major initiative was the country’s recent ban on single-use plastic and Styrofoam containers in 2019 in an effort to protect the environment it’s so revered for.

A Very Brief History of Fort Young Hotel

Fort Young Hotel, located in the island’s capital of Roseau, stands upon so much of the island’s history. Dating back to 1699, the location has evolved from a military fort to a central police station, and — as of 1964 — serves as a haven for visitors as Fort Young Hotel. The hotel embodies the country’s welcoming and homely vibe, while paying homage to its rich history. Be sure to ask about a hotel tour during your stay to learn more about the hotel’s and Dominica’s history!

What's Happening

Experience the Nature Island like never before with our brand new All-Inclusive, Island-Included program. As the very first all-inclusive offering on Dominica, this program allows guests to experience the best of the island’s cultural, land and sea adventures — all without the hassle of planning, booking or reserving a single activity.  Let us do the […]

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One of the best things about travel is that it gives you a chance to experience life outside of the everyday. Taking in new views, tasting new foods, meeting new people—these are all the hallmarks of a good vacation. A great vacation—one that transforms your perspective on life or just gives you a memory to […]

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We are thrilled to introduce Fort Rewards, a new loyalty programme and a first-of-its-kind opportunity for Dominica. Fort Rewards allows local patrons to earn points for every EC$ spent on food & beverage outlets, events, meetings or room reservation and use their rewards to redeem experiences like a discovery dive, four-course dinner, spa treatment, hotel […]

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