Dominica, (French: Dominique) officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. To the north-northwest lies Guadeloupe, to the southeast Martinique. Its size is 754 square kilometres (291 sq mi) and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of 1,447 metres (4,750 ft). The Commonwealth of Dominica has an estimated population of 72,500. The capital is Roseau.
Dominica has been nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” for its seemingly unspoiled natural beauty. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world’s second-largest boiling lake. The island features lush mountainous rainforests, home of many very rare plant, animal, and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall can be expected inland. The Sisserou Parrot (also known as the Imperial Amazon), the island’s national bird, is featured on the national flag. Dominica’s economy is heavily dependent on both tourism and agriculture.
Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he spotted it – a Sunday (dominica in Latin) – which fell on November 3, 1493. In the next hundred years after Columbus’ landing, Dominica remained isolated, and even more Caribs settled there after being driven from surrounding islands as European powers entered the region. France formally ceded possession of Dominica to the United Kingdom in 1763. The United Kingdom then set up a government and made the island a colony in 1805.
The emancipation of African slaves occurred throughout the British Empire in 1834, and, in 1838, Dominica became the first British Caribbean colony to have a legislature controlled by an African majority. In 1896, the United Kingdom reassumed governmental control of Dominica, turning it into a Crown colony. Half a century later, from 1958 to 1962, Dominica became a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation. In 1978, Dominica became an independent nation.
Passion Sunday (Dominica de Passione) is the name that was given to the fifth Sunday of Lent in pre-1960 General Roman Calendar. In 1960 Pope John XXIII changed the official name to “First Sunday in Passiontide” (Dominica I in Passione) to fit with the name that his predecessor Pope Pius XII had given to Palm Sunday, calling it the “Second Sunday in Passiontide or Palm Sunday” (Dominica II in Passione seu in palmis). In 1969 Pope Paul VI removed the distinction between Passiontide and the general season of Lent, giving Palm Sunday the official full name of “Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord” (Dominica in Palmis de Passione Domini) and making what had been the First Sunday in Passiontide simply the Fifth Sunday in Lent. High Anglicans and traditionalist Catholics continue to observe pre-1960 calendars, which use the older terminology, when the entire week beginning with the fifth Sunday of Lent was often called Passion Week prior to the calendar reform, which officially transferred that term to the following week; yet, as in the case of Palm Sunday, most Roman Catholic and Protestant laity alike continue to refer to the last week before Easter by its original name: Holy Week; indeed, this is the term employed in the Sacramentary and Lectionary of the Catholic Church.