Arts and Culture

Like many Caribbean islands, Dominica has been influenced by different cultures over the course of its history.  Dominica’s culture is as multi-faceted as the madras fabric worn as traditional dress.



he Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sailed passed the island’s east coast shores on a Sunday, November 3, 1493. Unable to make landing, he never set foot on the island but he gave the name Dominica after Dominigo for Sunday.

As was the case with the rest of the Caribbean, Dominica was already inhabited by the native Kalinago people, who used the name Wait’tukubuli meaning ‘Tall is her body”. The Kalinago (previously known as the Carib Indians) had settled on the island from around 1000AD.

Following the European’s arrival, the island remained a neutral territory for many years, serving as a refueling for ships. At this time there was much trading between the Europeans and Kaliango.

During the 1700’s the British and the French fought several times over control of the island before the British gained control in the early 1800s. The island gained independence from Britain in 1978.


Dominica's cuisine is similar to that of other Caribbean islands, particularly Trinidad and St Lucia. Like other Commonwealth Caribbean islands, Dominicans have developed a distinct twist to their cuisine.

Music and Dance

 Dominia's traditional fashion still is shown today by adding an accent of creole to their clothing or wearing colourful madras skirts, tops and dresses. Many people create new fashions with madras patterns, all paying tribute to Dominica's Creole heritage.




Dominica's music and dance has drawn influences from many different places, but not only did they borrow styles and genres from other countries, it also took these styles and developed their own variations and sub-genres as well. The list is long with all of these different styles of music performed on this small island.