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The first inhabitants of the Anguilla (originally called Malliouhana) Island were the Amerindians. Evidence of their arrival dates back almost 3300 years, and suggests that they came by canoe from the South American mainland. How long they lived on the island is unknown.
During the fourth century A.D. Saladoid Amerindians lived on the island. They were very religious people who survived by farming the land.
During the 15th century, while Christopher Columbus was sailing across the world, the Europeans officially change the island’s name from Malliouhana to Anguilla.
In 1650 English settlers first colonialized Anguilla after they realized that the island’s soil was ideal for growing tobacco and corn. When they first arrived, there were no Amerindians living on the island, but six years later the settlement was destroyed by a neighboring island’s Indians.
In 1666 the island was temporarily overtaken by the French before the English once again took control a year later.
By the 1800’s Anguilla was a chief exporter of cotton, sugar, rum, fustic and mahogany. But eroding soil and unpredictable rainfall interfered with the island’s plantation economy. By 1854 there were less than 2000 inhabitants living on the island.Anguilla became part of the Federation of the West Indies in 1958 before it collapsed four years later in 1962. Soon after, the Anguilla revolution was sparked. Finally, in 1980, the island became a separate Dependent Territory of the UK as it remains today.