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Columbus sighted the island on Sunday, November 3, 1493, but the island had been inhabited by the Arawaks and Amerindian Caribs from around 1000 AD, giving the island the name Waitukubuli which meant 'Tall is her body'. The Arawakan-speaking Ignea and Caribs are thought to have settled in Dominica around the year 400. Since Columbus landed on the island on a Sunday, he named it Dominica in honor of the Latin word for Sunday. 

The native islanders resisted early colonization attempts by Europeans, but by 1632, the French had settled in the land. At this time, Dominica was the possession of Carib Indians, but under a French-British treaty. The island changed possession between the French and the British many times over the course of the next century. The British fought the French over control of the island several times in the 1700s before gaining control in the early 1800s.

In 1978, Dominica gained full independence from Britain.



Updated: 3 June 2008