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History Of Grenada

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Christopher Columbus discovered Grenada in 1498. The island was already inhabited by Caribbean Indians who had migrated from the South American continent and killed or enslaved the peaceful Arawaks who already lived there. The Indians called their island Camerhogue, but Columbus renamed it Concepción. However, passing Spanish sailors found that the green hills were so reminiscent of Andalusia that they discarded the name in favour of Granada.

Although control of the island passed from France to Britain (and briefly back to France) over the centuries, the name has endured with only minor changes, from “Grenada” to “La Grenade” to “Grenada”.

The French were the first to settle in Grenada. Legend has it that in 1652 the last defenders of the Caribbean, rather than be ruled by the French, threw themselves into the sea from a place called Le Morne des Sauteurs, now known as Leapers’ Hill and Carib’s Leap.

First exploited for indigo (hence the name of one region “True Blue”), then for sugar production, the island flourished and, like many others in the Caribbean, attracted the attention of the British. Conquered by Admiral George Rodney in 1762, towards the end of the European Seven Years’ War (1756-63), Grenada came under French rule from 1779 to 1783, when it was returned to Britain by the Treaty of Versailles.

The loyalties of the inhabitants remained divided between the two European powers for many years, as demonstrated by the Fedon Rebellion of 1795. During this violent episode, a group of rebels under the command of the mulatto general Julien Fedon, inspired by the rhetoric of the French Revolution, devastated the island and its British settlers in an unsuccessful attempt to reunite with France.

From 1784 until independence in 1974, Grenada was a colony of the British Empire, passing through various stages of colonial status and multiple associations with other regional states. In 1967, Grenada became an “Associated State of Great Britain” within the British Commonwealth. This gave the island nation control over its internal affairs, while the British government continued to control its external affairs.

In the early twentieth century, it produced one of the region’s most notable leaders, T. Albert Marryshow. His Association for Representative Government, which inspired similar movements in other Windward Island states and Trinidad, did much to liberalise British rule in the Caribbean.

It is ironic that the achievement of universal adult suffrage in 1950, a longstanding goal of Marryshow, led directly to his ousting from Grenadian politics by a new figure, Eric Matthew Gairy. While Marryshow had been a middle class man, Gairy and his Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) appealed to the lower class, the rural population. Suddenly strengthened by the election, Gairy’s supporters swept him into the Legislative Council in 1951; he dominated island politics for almost three decades.

The most successful electoral challenge to Gairy between 1951 and 1979 was posed by Herbert Blaize’s Grenada National Party (GNP) in 1961, particularly on the issue of union with Trinidad and Tobago (the “unitary state” proposal). The GNP, once again reflecting Grenadians’ tendency to look outwards for support and viability, campaigned to accept Trinidad’s offer of union. Although Blaize’s party won the election, it later lost much of its prestige and credibility when Trinidad did not respond to the proposal. The PNB’s embarrassment paved the way for the return of Gairy, who never tired of playing the role of his country’s political saviour. Full independence was achieved in 1974 with considerable opposition under the leadership of the late Sir Eric Gairy – a charismatic and controversial figure who had been in the public eye since the early 1950s.

In 1979, following a coup, an attempt was made to establish in Grenada what the United States and other regional governments at the time considered a communist state. Four years later, at the request of the Governor General, the US (with a little help from Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean states) intervened militarily. With their now famous “rescue mission”, the allied forces restored order and in December 1984, general elections led to a democratic government.

The last two decades have been marked by a peaceful, democratic, successful and normal existence, with many new buildings and much improved infrastructure.

How To Travel To Grenada

By airMaurice Bishop International Airport (IATA: GND) is located on the main island of Grenada, on a peninsula in the extreme southwest of the Point Salines region. It is about 6 km from the capital St. George's. Delta (New York JFK, Atlanta), British Airways, American Eagle, American Airlines, Monarch,...

How To Travel Around Grenada

The city centre has many narrow and hilly streets. Drivers are very careful, but caution is advised as some streets have very narrow or no pavements.The town also has the most picturesque horseshoe harbour in the Caribbean, with restaurants, shops and supermarkets. During the winter cruise season (between November...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Grenada

A valid passport and a return or onward ticket are required. Citizens of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and its dependencies, British Commonwealth countries, Caribbean countries (except Cuba), Venezuela, European Union countries and their dependencies, Norway, Japan, Israel and Russia do not require a visa.Allowances - Personal...

Destinations in Grenada

Islands in GrenadaGrenadaBy far the largest island, home to the majority of the country's populationKarriacouThe second largest island on which the town of Hillsborough is locatedLittle MartiniqueA third, remote island with limited tourist facilities.Cities in GrenadaSt. George's - National CapitalGrand Anse Bay - Main Tourist AreaGouyave - capital of...

Things To See in Grenada

There is so much to see in Grenada.... historic forts, lakes, waterfalls, spice plantations - some of which are still in operation today, spice gardens, flower gardens (Grenada won its 7th gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show in London in 2009), rum distilleries (with generous samples), plantation houses,...

Things To Do in Grenada

Gouyave Fish Friday. Gouyave is known as the town that never sleeps. It's a great evening drive to this fishing village on the west coast. Don't be afraid to venture out. It's perfectly safe and frequented by tourists and international medical students. The food is fresh, cheap and cooked...

Food & Drinks in Grenada

Aquarium Restaurant & Bar. Located in Point Salines on the beach, famous for its Sunday barbecue. editBananas Restaurant is located in True Blue and offers something for every budget and taste. Whether you're looking for a cheeseburger in paradise or steak and lobster, you're sure to find it at...

Money & Shopping in Grenada

Grenada produces many amazing products. Rum, chocolate, honey, jams and jellies, spices, clothing and art. Many of them are award-winning. Support the local economy when you are on the island and buy local products to take home.Nutmeg is Grenada's cash crop, so be sure to bring some home in...

Accommodation & Hotels in Grenada

Grenada (island) offers a wide range of accommodation, from small guesthouses to five-star all-inclusive resorts.Carriacou, although smaller, offers many opportunities.Petite Martinique, although much less developed, offers some options.

Language & Phrasebook in Grenada

Standard (British) English is the official language of Grenada and is widely spoken. However, an English-based creole (not referred to as such by locals) is the dominant language of most Grenadians and can be difficult for people outside the Caribbean to understand. French patois was once the dialect language...

Weather & Climate in Grenada

The climate is tropical: hot and humid during the rainy season and cooled by trade winds during the dry season. Grenada, which lies on the southern edge of the hurricane belt, has experienced only three hurricanes in fifty years.Hurricane Janet passed over Grenada on 23 September 1955 with winds...

Traditions & Customs in Grenada

Although Grenada is a Caribbean island, Grenadians do not spend most of their time lying on the beach. They take their work very seriously and many jobs require specially tailored suits. Although there is still much to do, they are justifiably proud of the extensive repairs to the massive...

Culture Of Grenada

Although the French influence on Grenadian culture is much less visible than on other Caribbean islands, French family and place names remain, and everyday language is peppered with French words and the local dialect, or patois. A stronger French influence is found in the well-seasoned food and cooking styles...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Grenada

Stay Safe in GrenadaGrenada is a safe country and has the lowest crime rate in the Caribbean. The tropical sun and high humidity deserve your utmost respect. Take bottled water with you when you go out. The danger to pedestrians on pavements and narrow streets can be greater than...

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