Official name: Commonwealth of Dominica
Area: 754 square kilometers (291 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Morne Diablotins (1,447 meters/4,748 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres: Northern and Western
Time zone: 8 A.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 26 kilometers (16 miles) from east to west; 47 kilometers (29 miles) from north to south
Land boundaries: None
Coastline: 148 kilometers (92 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
Dominica, an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, lies at the midpoint of the Lesser Antilles, between the French possessions of Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique to the south. It is often, but not always, considered one of the Windward Islands. With an area of 754 square kilometers (291 square miles), Dominica is slightly more than twice as large as the state of New Hampshire. The lush vegetation and abundant wildlife of the country's rain forests have led Dominica to proclaim itself "The Nature Island of the Caribbean."
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Dominica claims no territories or dependencies.
Tempered by sea breezes, Dominica's tropical climate is generally mild and pleasant. Summer temperatures average 28°C (82°F) and may rise as high as 32°C (90°F). Winter temperatures average 25°C (77°F). Dominica has a dry season in the spring and a rainy season in summer, with rainfall especially heavy during the hurricane season in late summer. Average annual rainfall ranges from about 191 centimeters (75 inches) near the coast to over 508 centimeters (200 inches) in the mountains.
|S EASON||M ONTHS||A VERAGE TEMPERATURE : °C ELSIUS (°F AHRENHEIT|
|Summer||April to September||28°C to32°C (82°F to 90°F).|
|Winter||October to March||25°C (77°F)|
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
The rugged, mountainous terrain that covers much of the interior is the island's outstanding physical feature. The Layou River plain at the center of the island bisects the two mountainous regions in the north and south.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Dominica is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, at the midpoint of the Leeward Islands. Whales and dolphins swim in the waters surrounding Dominica, with humpback whales migrating to the area during the winter months.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
The mountainous terrain of Dominica extends under the sea. The waters surrounding the island are filled with coral reefs that support a diversity of marine life.
Sea Inlets and Straits
Guadeloupe lies to the north of Dominica, across the Dominica Passage; Martinique is south, across the Martinique Passage.
Islands and Archipelagos
Dominica is made up of one island in the
A thin coastal strip lies between the sea and the mountains. The coast, which is heavily indented on the eastern side of the island, is fringed with coral reefs. Black, gray, and white volcanic sand is found on the beaches. Cape Capuchin marks the northern end of the island, with Prince Rupert Bay not far south. Scotts Head and Grand Bay are at the southern end of the island.
6 INLAND LAKES
Dominica has a number of thermally active lakes, of which the best known is Boiling Lake, in the southeastern part of the island.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
There are many streams and rivers, but none are navigable. The main rivers are Indian, Espagnol, Layou, Roseau, and Queens running west to the Caribbean Sea, and Hodges, Tweed, Clyde, Maclaralin, Grand Bay, Rosalie, and Wanerie running east to the Atlantic.
There are no desert areas on Dominica.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
There are no areas of flat or rolling terrain on Dominica.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
Deep ridges, ravines, and valleys are etched in the densely wooded mountains. The island's highest peak, Morne Diablotins, is located in the mountains to the north. Its second-highest, Morne Trois Pitons—which, at 1,387 meters (4,550 feet), is nearly as high as Diablotins—is situated in the south. Other high peaks include Morne au Diable, Morne Brule, Morne Couronne, Morne Anglais, and Morne Plat Pays.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
Scuba enthusiasts explore several underwater caves while diving in the waters surrounding Dominica.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
There are no plateaus on Dominica.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
There are no man-made features affecting the geography of Dominica.
DID YOU KNOW?
Morne Trois Pitons National Park features the scenic Trafalgar Falls (70 meters /200 feet), made up of two waterfalls that flow together into a deep green pool.
14 FURTHER READING
Philpott, Don. Dominica. Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 1996.
Sullivan, Lynne M. Dominica & St Lucia Alive! Edison, NJ: Hunter, 2002.