Commonwealth of Dominica
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“Waitikubuli” was sighted by Columbus in 1493 and named Dominica; it was claimed by the French in 1635. Ownership of the Caribbean island of Dominica was contested between the French and the British for many years; but was mainly occupied by the British after the middle of the eighteenth century. Fierce Carib Indians protected the densely-forested interior of the island and fought off colonization for more than two centuries. Today about 3,000 Carib Indians still inhabit the island though the vast majority of the population of about 65,000 is made up of people of African heritage, the descendants of people enslaved and brought to Dominica as laborers by the British. Independence came to the island in 1978 and is today a Parliamentary state with a single legislative body known as the House of Assembly. The area of the island is about 750 sq km (290 sq miles).
Dominica is sometimes known as “nature island” because of the lush vegetation, unique physical features, tropical climate and rare wildlife and birds. Eco-tourism is an important, growing industry in Dominica whose chief export is bananas as well as coconuts and other fruits. As a developing nation all energy and most food stuffs must still be imported.
As a result of the early influence of the French more than three-quarters of the Dominican population are Roman Catholic with about fifteen percent claiming various Protestant traditions. Small pockets of indigenous religions can still be found.
The story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Dominica can be traced to an advertisement placed in a 1966 newspaper by Ralph Wharton of the American a cappella Churches of Christ (then a missionary in Saint Vincent) advertising a Bible correspondence course. Later Ralph visited the island to baptize his first convert. Among other early converts was Theolard LeBlanc who succeeded in evangelizing and converting several men on the island who subsequently became preachers. Training for some of these workers was secured through Caribbean Christian College in Puerto Rico and the men returned home to preach and plant congregations. World Radio Dominica, correspondence courses and crusades have also been employed in evangelizing the island. John Massicot, Calvin Warpula and Martin Royer have been some of the regular radio speakers. Hurricane relief has been one avenue through which American congregations have been involved in the work in Dominica. The last statistics available (1990) show that there were fourteen a cappella congregations in Dominica with a membership of about 250 people.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1101 19th Avenue, South, Nashville, TN 37212-2112 (USA)
Telephone: (615) 327-1444
Website: http://www.discipleshistory.org (provides links to other historical sites and databases).
Online catalog: http://voyager.discipleshistory.org
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see:
For a list of many Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (in the United States) missionaries/ministries see:
Mission Services Association
7545 Hodges Ferry Road, Knoxville, TN (USA) 37920
Telephone: 1 (800) 655-8524
Fax: 1 (865) 573-5950