The island was originally inhabited by the Kalinago/Arawak and later colonised by the Europeans, predominately by the French, who arrived at the island on Sunday, 3 November 1493 ("Sunday" = "Domenica" in Italian). Great Britain took it over in 1763 after the Seven Years' War and gradually established English as the official language. The island republic gained independence in 1978.
Its name is pronounced with emphasis on the third syllable, related to its former Dominique. Dominica has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its unspoiled natural beauty. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world's second-largest hot spring, Boiling Lake. The island has lush mountainous rainforests, and is the home of many rare plants, animals, and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall occurs inland. The Sisserou parrot (also known as the imperial amazon), is found only on Dominica and is the island's national bird and features on the national flag. Dominica's economy depends on tourism and agriculture.
Hurricane David hit in 1979, leaving 60,000 people homeless in Dominica as well as killing 2,000 people and leaving 200,000 homeless in the Dominican Republic... Hurricane David hit in 1979, leaving 60,000 people homeless in Dominica as well as killing 2,000 people and leaving 200,000 homeless in the Dominican Republic.