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.