Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Thursday, 16 August 2012 11:58 UK

Timeline: Dominica

A chronology of key events:

1493 - Christopher Columbus visits the island and names it Dominica (Sunday Island).

Swirling steam in Valley of Desolation, Dominica
Valley of Desolation: A volcanic hotspot

1627 - England's King Charles I puts the Earl of Carlisle in charge of Dominica, but initial attempts at colonisation are fiercely resisted by the indigenous Carib community.

1635 - France claims Dominica, paving the way for French missionaries to colonise the island. However, resistance by the indigenous Carib Indians continues.

1660 - Britain and France agree to abandon Dominica and St Vincent.

British rule

1763 - Britain gains possession of Dominica in accordance with the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years' War. However, France continues to challenge this until 1805.

Britain establishes a legislative assembly, representing only the white population.

1831 - Britain confers political and social rights on free non-whites.

1834 - Slavery abolished.

2000: Labor Party supporters celebrate victory
New premier, Mr Rosie Douglas, died within a year of taking office

1838 - Dominica becomes the first and only British colony in the Caribbean to have a black-controlled legislature.

1865 - Britain replaces the elected assembly with one consisting of one-half elected members and one-half appointed.

1896 - Britain re-establishes crown colony government over Dominica.


1951 - Britain declares universal adult suffrage established in Dominica.

1958-62 - Dominica a member of the British-sponsored West Indies Federation.

1960 - Britain grants Dominica self-government, with a legislative council and a chief minister.

1961 - Edward leBlanc, head of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) becomes chief minister.

1974 - LeBlanc retires and is replaced as chief minister by Patrick John, also of the DLP.


1978 - Dominica becomes independent with John as prime minister.

Dominican capital Roseau
Roseau: Market town, capital, and port of call for cruise ships
Population: 16,500

1979 - Severe hurricane hits Dominica, causing widespread devastation.

1980 - Another hurricane hits Dominica; Eugenia Charles replaces John as prime minister - and becomes the Caribbean's first female prime minister, after her Dominica Freedom Party wins a convincing victory.

1981 - Two coup attempts, allegedly backed by Patrick John, foiled; John tried and acquitted; Dominican Defence Force disbanded.

1983 - Token Dominican force participates in the US invasion of Grenada.

1985 - John retried, found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

1993 - Eugenia Charles resigns as DFP leader but continues as prime minister.

1995 - Edison James becomes prime minister following the victory of his United Workers Party (UWP) in the general elections; Eugenia Charles retires after 27 years in politics.

1998 - Government announces plans to make Dominica a principal provider of offshore financial services "not only in the Caribbean, but the world".

1999 - Hurricane Lenny causes widespread damage.

2000 January - Rosie Douglas becomes prime minister after his Dominica Labour Party ousts the United Workers Party in a closely contested election.

2000 October - Douglas dies. He is succeeded by Pierre Charles.

Dominican PM Roosevelt Skerrit (left) with Chinese PM Wen Jiabao, Beijing, 2005
Dominica switched diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China

2000 December - Parliament approves amendments to the legislation allowing the state-owned National Commercial Bank to engage in offshore financial services.

2002 May - Prime Minister Pierre Charles tells Caribbean Development Bank that Dominica faces economic and financial crisis. Exports and tourism are down. Charles also cites effects of globalisation.

2004 January - Pierre Charles dies in office, aged 46. Education Minister Roosevelt Skerrit succeeds the late premier.

2004 March - Dominica cuts diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favour of ties with mainland China. China agrees to give aid worth more than $100m over five years.

2004 November - An earthquake damages buildings in the north of the island. Prime Minister Skerrit says repairs will cost millions of dollars.

2005 May - Roosevelt Skerrit and the governing Labour Party win general elections.

2007 August - Hurricane Dean wipes out 99% of Dominica's banana crop, putting further pressure on the island's struggling main industry.

2008 May - Chief Charles Williams, leader of ancient Native American Kalinago (Carib) tribe, asks legislators to pass law requiring ethnic Kalinagos to marry only each other for self-preservation.

2009 February - PM Roosevelt Skerrit says his government has secured $49m in grants from Venezuela as part of the ALBA trade group of left-wing Latin American governments.

2009 January - PM Roosevelt Skerrit and the governing Dominican Labour Party are re-elected with an increased majority in parliament.

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