Before Columbus' voyages to the Caribbean, Dominica was inhabited by Carib indians. Though Spanish ships passed through from then on, the island was actually settled by Europeans in the 17th century and those Europeans were French missionaries. The island came under British rule in 1763. Variously tied to the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands, and then the West Indies Federation, Dominica embarked upon a political relationship with Britain (1967) which culminated in independence for Dominica in 1978.

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