The Caribbean islands were part of the colonial efforts of the European countries, namely Britain and France. In the 17th Century the British and the French made efforts to colonize the islands and the tug of war over territories was part of the Anglo-French conflict. It was common for islands to pass back and forth between powers and to undergo frequent changes in social structure. Several battles were fought in the area until Britain gained the upper hand after the Napoleonic Wars. As more labor was required in the Caribbean and native people dwindled in numbers slaves were imported via trade from Africa.
France and Britain originally agreed that Dominica and St. Vincent would remain unsettled but harvesting of timber from the resource rich islands were underway by the 18th Century. Dominica was made a colony of France in 1727 and then passed to British control under the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
The majority of the Caribbean islands became independent from Europe after the cessation of the slave trade. Martinique has become a French overseas Department.