The island of Dominica was discovered by Columbus on the 3rd of November 1493. He and his crew soon left the island, having been defeated by the indigenous Caribs. In 1627 England tried and failed to capture Dominica. In 1635 the French claimed the island and sent missionaries, but they were unable to wrest Dominica from the Caribs. The French abandoned the island, along with the island of Saint Vincent, in the 1660s. 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 Black-controlled legislature. In 1896, the United Kingdom reassumed governmental control of Dominica and turned it into a crown colony. Half a century later, from 1958 to 1962, Dominica was a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation. On the 3rd of November 1978 Dominica finally became an independent state.




The badge of the colony (on the blue ensign) was a picture of a sailing vessel anchored in the port of the capital, Roseau, its officers being welcomed by the islanders. The motto is written in base and reads: ANIMIS OPIBUSQUE PARATI which translates into English as: “Ready with our lives and our resources” or put simply, “Ready for anything”.[1]


Photo L.E. Honychurch

Badge of Dominica, War Memorial, Roseau


This badge can still be seen on the brass plaque on the cenotaph or war memorial on Victoria Street in Roseau.

On the arms of the Leeward Islands, adopted in 1909, there are arms for Dominica inspired by the badge. This is adapted by leaving out the members of the crew and the islanders. Instead  there is a sun setting over the hills.

These arms replaced also the original badge on the blue ensign.


These arms were on the arms of the Leeward Islands until 1940 when Dominica left te federation.




Photo L.E. Honychurch

Arms of Dominica with its motto from H.M.S. Dominica


The public library in Roseau has a wooden plaque with these arms painted on it. It had originally been presented by the colony of Dominica to a British warship, a Colony Class Frigate, active in World War II, called H.M.S. Dominica. The motto of the colony appears on a scroll below the shield.


The warship was decommissioned and broken up after the war and the plaque was returned to Dominica. The Dominica Grammar School, founded in 1893 took a version of the 1909 colonial coat of arms as its school crest in the fourties and this is still in use today.[2]


The Achievement


An achievement for the colony was adopted on the 21st of July 1961. It is:


Arms: Quarterly Or and Azure, a cross counterchanged of the field; in the first a coco proper; in the second a Dominican frog (Eleutherodactylus barlagnei - Leptodactylidæ) proper; in the third on a base barry wavy Argent and Azure, a one-sailed vessel proper; in the fourth a banana tree proper.

Supporters: Two sisseron parrots (Amazona Imperialis - Psittacidæ) proper.

Motto: APRES BONDIE C’EST LA TER (Besides God we Love the Soil) in blue lettering on a ribbon Or.


The proclamation of independence has had no effects on the achievement.


Sisserou parrot (foto Internet)












President’s Flag


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© Hubert de Vries 2010-03-08


[1] )  See also:, from which the pictures of the badge and the H.M.S. Dominica version of the arms are taken.

[2] ) The Mystery of the crest.