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In 1763, France ceded Dominica to England in the Treaty of Paris.
A distinct English-based creole called Kokoy is spoken in Wesley and Marigot, two villages on the Atlantic coast that were settled by Methodist missionaries, estate owners, and their slave laborers from Antigua and other Leeward Islands in the late eighteenth century.Dominica became the first and only British Caribbean colony to have a black-controlled legislature following the abolition of slavery.Called the "Mulatto Ascendency," they played a powerful role in politics, government, and cultural affairs into the twentieth century.The last fluent speaker of the Carib language reportedly died in the 1920s, although efforts are now being made to revive that language.A French-based creole, known officially as Kwéyo`l but also commonly called Patois or Patwa, arose in the early eighteenth century through contact between French colonizers and enslaved West Africans.People who identify as Syrian, Lebanese, and Chinese own some of the largest businesses in Roseau.
Although there is some ethnic stereotyping, more salient social divisions fall along class, language, education, and rural and urban lines.The national flag depicts a Sisserou parrot, found only in Dominica, within a red circle surrounded by ten green stars representing the parishes of the country; this is centered on a cross in yellow, black, and white stripes on a green background representing the lushness of its rainforests.The three-colored cross symbolizes the Trinity of God; yellow represents the main agricultural products (bananas and citrus); white, the clarity of its rivers and waterfalls; and black, the rich volcanic soil and its African heritage.With peaks over 4,500 feet (1,370 meters) high, it is the most mountainous island in the Lesser Antilles and one of the last islands in the Caribbean to be colonized.It provided refuge for indigenous Caribs and later for maroons (escaped slaves), and never developed the large-scale sugar plantations that characterized other colonies.Further divisions included language and historical settlement patterns, as rural villages were relatively isolated from each other and from Roseau and Portsmouth, the second largest town, since colonization. The population is predominantly of African descent.