The islands were named Los Santos by Christopher Columbus, who arrived there on All Saints' Day of 1493. The first French settlers arrived in 1648. Because of their strategically important position, the Îles des Saintes were fought over by the French and the British in the Battle of the Saintes; they have remained under French control since 1816. The people of the islands are known as Saintoise and have historically been renowned as skilled fishermen. Les Saintes are unique for being one of only a few islands in the Lesser Antilles to have a majority white population, many of whom trace their lineage back to Breton settlers, as evidenced by the strong Breton cultural influence on the island.