At the time of European contact, Tobago was inhabited by Island Caribs. The first European visitors appear to have been British in 1580. According to the earliest English-language source cited in the Oxford English Dictionary; Tobago bore a name that has become the English word tobacco. The first settlers were Courlanders in 1654. It changed hands 33 times between Courland, Spain, England, France and the Dutch Republic until in 1814 it became part of the British Empire. In 1889 Tobago was united with Trinidad into a British crown colony. In 1962 they became an independent Commonwealth nation of Trinidad and Tobago, in 1976 a Republic.