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A peasant-based agricultural economy and creole culture emerged.

Maroons, often supplied with weapons by the French, terrorized the British from 1785 to 1814. Freed slaves from Dominica, Martinique, and Guadeloupe eventually took over the small estates.

A majority of the population, 89 percent, is of African descent, 7 percent are of mixed race, and 2 percent are Carib.

The remaining 2 percent identify as white, Syrian Lebanese, East Indian, Chinese, and Portuguese. The country's complex colonial past is reflected in its languages.

About twenty thousand reside in Roseau and its environs, reflecting the "drift" to the urban center during the last several decades of the twentieth 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 British concentrated in Roseau, and overseers ran estates for their absentee owners.The French, however, lived on small estates and remained well after the British took official control.

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