Dominica’s population is around 73,000, of which 20,000 live around the capital city, Roseau (pronounced ‘Ro-zo’), which is located on the southwest coast. English is the official language; however, because of historic French domination, the most widely spoken dialect is a French Patois or Creole (kwéyòl). Dominica is the only island in the eastern Caribbean to retain some of its pre-Columbian population – the Kalinago people. In 1903 the Kalinago were assigned a 3,700-acre territory in the northeast where around 3,000 live today.
It is the largest and most mountainous of the Windward Islands, with an area of 290 sq. miles. It is 29 miles long and 16 miles wide at its widest point. The formal name, Commonwealth of Dominica, is often used to distinguish it from the Dominican Republic.
Dominica is perhaps most famous for its tropical rainforest, and the many rivers and waterfalls which result from the high rainfall in the interior. In addition, its volcanic origins manifest themselves most noticeably in the Boiling Lake (one of the largest of its kind in the world) and many other smaller fumaroles around the island.