The Commonwealth of Dominica is an island in the Caribbean Sea in the Lesser Antilles region. It has been nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” for its unique natural beauty and many rare plant and animal species; the island is largely covered by rainforest. Christopher Columbus named Dominica after the Spanish word for Sunday, domingo, the day on which he spotted the island nation. The United Kingdom made Dominica a colony in 1805 and eventually, in 1978, it became an independent nation. The official language of the island is English, due to its British colonial history, but French creole is also spoken.