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Dominica Timeline

A chronology of key historical events from 1493 to the present day.

c3000 BC Stone age tribes, the Igneri from the Orinoco, first populate our island.

c1000 AD Kalinago (Island Caribs) moving up through the island chain become dominant, and give the island the name of Wai'tukubuli, meaning 'Tall is her body'

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


- 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.


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.

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.

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.

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 Prime Minister.

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 Dominica Labour Party win general elections.

2005 September: Dame Eugenia Charles, former Prime Minister, passes away.

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 December - PM Roosevelt Skerrit and the governing Dominican Labour Party are re-elected with an increased majority in parliament (DLP-18:UWP-3).

2012 September - Following the resignation of President Nicholas Liverpool, the House of Assembly elected Eliud Williams as his successor on 17 September 2012.

2013 September - On 30 September 2013 Charles Savarin was elected president by the House of Assembly for a five-year term.

2014 December - PM Roosevelt Skerrit and the governing Dominican Labour Party are re-elected to a fourth consecutive term in office (DLP-15:UWP-6).

DLP = Dominica Labour Party; UWP = United Workers Party; IND = Independent Candidate; *incumbent; ** Political Leader
Electoral Office of the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica
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   Dominica Country Profile
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   Dominica Election Basics
   The Parliament of Dominica
   Political History and Dynamics
   Electoral Legislation
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   Dominica Opposition Leaders
   Dominica Timeline
   Women in Politics in Dominica
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   Glossary of Election Terms
  Dominica Labour Party
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