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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!

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There are two ways to discover a new place: setting out on your own or allowing a local to show you what you may have otherwise missed. Here at Fort Young Hotel, we encourage a healthy balance of both. For the latter, our experts at the Activities Desk are happy to curate a guided experience […]

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Experience the wonder of Dominica with six new offers at Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort, each backed by our Book With Confidence guarantee and thoughtfully designed to help you relax, explore and work with ease on the Nature Island. From two not-to-miss workcation packages to an array of hiking, whale watching and diving offers, […]

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One of the most exciting and memorable experiences you can have while visiting Dominica is a trip under the sea with Fort Young Dive. Day or night, our team will guide you through the water to have an unforgettable, up-close experience with marine life. These are just some of the aquatic species you might encounter […]

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