Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which colonized the island in 1805. Slavery ended in 1833 and in 1835 the first three men of African descent were elected to the legislative assembly of Dominica. In 1871, Dominica became part first of the British Leeward Islands and then the British Windward Islands until 1958. In 1967 Dominica became an associated state of the UK, and formally took responsibility for its internal affairs. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. On 18 September 2017, Hurricane Maria passed over the island causing extensive damage to structures, roads, communications, and the power supply, and largely destroying critical agricultural areas.