The first inhabitants of St. Lucia were the Arawak Indians, who were forced off the island by the Caribs. Explored by Spain and then France, St. Lucia became a British territory in 1814 and one of the Windward Islands in 1871. With other Windward Islands, St. Lucia was granted home rule in 1967 as one of the West Indies Associated States. On Feb. 22, 1979, St. Lucia achieved full independence in ceremonies boycotted by the opposition St. Lucia Labour Party, which had advocated a referendum before cutting ties with Britain. John Compton, head of the United Workers Party (UWP), became the country's first prime minister. The UWP, then in power, called for new elections and was defeated by the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP). The UWP, with Compton as its leader, was returned to power in the elections of 1982, 1987, and 1992. Compton resigned in 1996 and Vaughan Lewis took over as prime minister.