In 1715 the French decided to settle the island after people
from Martinique arrived and in 1727 an official French government was established
on the island. The island then changed hands in 1761 when the
British took it in the Seven Years' War with France. The French contested
this and the island, whose population was primarily French sought French rule, but
didn't permanently gain it, although they did for brief periods.
In the 1800s the island was surprisingly ruled by the black population, however
wealthy British landowners sought greater control
and the British government obliged. The black population's power further declined
in 1871 when Dominica became part of the Leeward Island
Federation, which removed nearly all power from the island; this ended in 1896.
After protests among the people for a lack of representation, Dominica was transferred
from the Leeward Island Federation to the West Indies Federation in 1958.
Finally, in 1967 Dominica took control over its domestic
affairs, however still didn't have full independence. The island didn't
gain independence until 1978, when the United Kingdom
granted them this.
This independence began rough though, as in 1979 the island was struck by a devastating
hurricane, which destroyed nearly three quarters of the houses on the island and
killed many people; this took years to fully recover from. In addition to this,
the economy struggled in the early years and this led to political changes and attempted
coups, none of which succeeded.
In the 1990s the economy improved and has since stabilized as tourism has become
the country's major source of income, in addition to banana exports.