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The Arawaks were guided to Dominica
Dominica
, and other islands of the Caribbean, by the South Equatorial Current from the waters of the Orinoco River
Orinoco River
. These descendants of the early Taínos were overthrown by the Kalinago tribe of the Caribs.

The Caribs , who settled here in the 14th century, called the island Waitikubuli, which means 'tall is her body'. Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he spotted it - a Sunday ('Doménica' in Italian) - which fell on 3 November 1493 on his second voyage .

Daunted by fierce resistance from the Caribs and discouraged by the absence of gold, the Spanish did not settle the island. Many of the remaining Carib people live in Dominica's Carib Territory
Carib Territory
, a 3,700-acre (15 km2) district on Dominica's east coast.

CONTENTS

* 1 Early European contacts * 2 French colony: 1715–1763 * 3 British colony: 1763–1978 * 4 Hurricane David
Hurricane David
* 5 Independence: 1978 to present day * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links

EARLY EUROPEAN CONTACTS

In 1632, the French Compagnie des Îles de l\'Amérique claimed Dominica
Dominica
along with all the other 'Petite Antilles' but no settlement was attempted. Between 1642 and 1650 a French missionary Raymond Breton became the first regular European visitor to the island. In 1660 the French and English agreed that both Dominica
Dominica
and St. Vincent should not be settled, but instead left to the Caribs as neutral territory. Dominica
Dominica
was officially neutral for the next century, but the attraction of its resources remained; rival expeditions of English and French foresters were harvesting timber by the start of the 18th century.

FRENCH COLONY: 1715–1763

Spain had little to no success in colonizing Dominica
Dominica
and in 1690, the French established their first permanent settlements in Dominica. French woodcutters from Martinique
Martinique
and Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
begin to set up timber camps to supply the French islands with wood and gradually become permanent settlers. They brought the first enslaved people from West Africa to Dominica. In 1715, a revolt of "poor white" smallholders in the north of Martinique, known as La Gaoulé, causes an exodus of them to southern Dominica. They set up smallholdings. Meanwhile, French families and others from Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
settled in the north. In 1727, the first French commander, M. Le Grand, took charge of the island with a basic French government; Dominica
Dominica
formally became a colony of France, and the island was divided into districts or "quarters". Already installed in Martinique
Martinique
and Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
and cultivating sugar cane, the French gradually developed plantations in Dominica
Dominica
for coffee. They imported African slaves to fill the labor demands replacing the less cooperative indigenous Caribs.

In 1761, during the Seven Years\' War a British expedition against Dominica
Dominica
led by Lord Rollo was successful and the island was conquered along with several other Caribbean islands. After France was defeated by Britain in the Seven Years\' War , it ceded the island to the British under the Treaty of Paris (1763) . In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
, the French mounted a successful invasion with the active cooperation of the population. The 1783 Treaty of Paris , which ended the war, returned the island to Britain. French invasions in 1795 and 1805 ended in failure.

BRITISH COLONY: 1763–1978

As part of the 1763 Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years\' War , the island became a British possession. In 1778, during the American War of Independence , the French mounted a successful invasion with the active cooperation of the population, which was largely French. The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, returned the island to Britain. French invasions in 1795 and 1805 ended in failure. The 1805 invasion burned much of Roseau to the ground.

In 1763, the British established a legislative assembly, representing only the white population. In 1831, reflecting a liberalization of official British racial attitudes, the Brown Privilege Bill conferred political and social rights on free nonwhites. Three Blacks were elected to the legislative assembly the following year. The abolition of slavery in 1834 enabled Dominica
Dominica
by 1838 to become the only British Caribbean colony to have a Black-controlled legislature in the 19th century. Most Black legislators were small holders or merchants who held economic and social views diametrically opposed to the interests of the small, wealthy English planter class. Reacting to a perceived threat, the planters lobbied for more direct British rule.

In 1865, after much agitation and tension, the colonial office replaced the elective assembly with one composed of one-half elected members and one-half appointed. The elected legislators were outmaneuvered on numerous occasions by planters allied with colonial administrators. In 1871, Dominica
Dominica
became part of the Leeward Island Federation . The power of the Black population progressively eroded. Crown Colony government was re-established in 1896.

Following World War I, an upsurge of political consciousness throughout the Caribbean led to the formation of the representative government association. Marshaling public frustration with the lack of a voice in the governing of Dominica, this group won one-third of the popularly elected seats of the legislative assembly in 1924 and one-half in 1936. Shortly thereafter, Dominica
Dominica
was transferred from the Leeward Island Administration and was governed as part of the Windwards until 1958, when it joined the short-lived West Indies Federation .

In 1961, a Dominica
Dominica
Labor Party government led by Edward Oliver LeBlanc was elected. After the federation dissolved, Dominica
Dominica
became an associated state of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
on February 27, 1967 and formally took responsibility for its internal affairs. LeBlanc retired in 1974 and was replaced by Patrick John who became the islands' first Prime Minister .

HURRICANE DAVID

In August 1979, Hurricane David
Hurricane David
, packing winds of 150 mph (240 km/h), struck the island with devastating force. Forty-two people were killed and 75% of the islanders' homes were destroyed or severely damaged. Hurricane David
Hurricane David
was the most powerful and devastating hurricane ever recorded in Dominica
Dominica
until Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria
struck in 2017.

INDEPENDENCE: 1978 TO PRESENT DAY

On November 3, 1978, the Commonwealth of Dominica
Dominica
was granted independence by the United Kingdom.

Independence did little to solve problems stemming from centuries of economic underdevelopment , and in mid-1979, political discontent led to the formation of an interim government, led by Oliver Seraphin . It was replaced after the 1980 elections by a government led by the Dominica
Dominica
Freedom Party under Prime Minister Eugenia Charles , the Caribbean's first female prime minister. Within a year of her inauguration she survived two unsuccessful coups and in October 1983, as chairperson of the Organisation of East Caribbean States, endorsed the US Invasion of Grenada .

Chronic economic problems were compounded by the severe impact of hurricanes in 1979 and in 1980. By the end of the 1980s, the economy had made a healthy recovery, which weakened in the 1990s due to a decrease in banana prices.

In 1995 the government was defeated in elections by the United Workers Party of Edison James . James became prime minister, serving until the February 2000 elections, when the Dominica
Dominica
United Workers Party (DUWP) was defeated by the Dominica
Dominica
Labour Party (DLP), led by Rosie Douglas . He was a former socialist activist, and many feared that his approach to politics might be impractical. However, these were somewhat quieted when he formed a coalition with the more conservative Dominica
Dominica
Freedom Party. Douglas died suddenly after only eight months in office, on October 1, 2000, and was replaced by Pierre Charles , also of the DLP. In 2003, Nicholas Liverpool
Nicholas Liverpool
was elected and sworn in as president, succeeding Vernon Shaw . On January 6, 2004, Prime Minister Pierre Charles, who had been suffering from heart problems since 2003, died. He became the second consecutive prime minister of Dominica
Dominica
to die in office of a heart attack. The foreign minister, Osborne Riviere immediately became prime minister, but the education minister, Roosevelt Skerrit succeeded him as prime minister and became the new leader of the Dominica
Dominica
Labour Party. Elections were held on May 5, 2005, with the ruling coalition maintaining power.

SEE ALSO

* British colonization of the Americas * French colonization of the Americas * History of the Americas * History of the British West Indies * History of North America
History of North America
* History of the Caribbean * List of Prime Ministers of Dominica
Dominica
* Politics of Dominica
Dominica
* Spanish colonization of the Americas
Spanish colonization of the Americas

REFERENCES

* ^ A B "Background note: Dominica". U.S. Department of State (July 2008). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain . * ^ P.C. Emmer & BW Highman, (1999) General History of the Caribbean: Methodology and historiography of the Caribbean, volume 6 pp 637 * ^ "Important Dates in Dominica\'s History". Lennox Honychurch Article. 1990-07-05. Archived from the original on 2013-08-30. Retrieved 2013-09-29. * ^ "A Plan of the Rosalij Compy. Estates, the Property of His Excelly. Charles O\'Harra, the Honble. Leiut. Gov. Will. Stuart, James Clarke & Rob. & Phill". World Digital Library . Retrieved 18 April 2013.

* Rouse, Irving. The Taínos : Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus. New Haven & London: Yale University Press c1992. * Honeychurch, Lennox The Dominica
Dominica
Story: A History of the Island (1995)

EXTERNAL

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