Grenada

Grenada (the first “a” is a long vowel) is the most southerly of the Windward Islands, about 100 miles from the Venezuelan coast.

The Amerindians called their island Camerhogue, but Columbus renamed it Concepcion. However, passing Spanish sailors found its lush green hills so evocative of Andalusia that they rejected this name in favor of Granada.

The French then called it La Grenade, and the British followed suit, changing Grenade to Grenada (pronounced Gre-nay-da).

The Arawak Indians were the first to inhabit Grenada, but they were all eventually massacred by the Carib Indians. When Columbus arrived in 1498 he encountered the Caribs, who continued to rule over the island for another 150 years.

Partly because of the Caribs, Grenada remained un- colonized for more than 100 years after its discovery; early English efforts to settle the island were unsuccessful.

In 1650, a French company founded by Cardinal Richelieu purchased Grenada from the English and established a small settlement. After several skirmishes with the Caribs, the French brought in reinforcements from Martinique and defeated the Caribs.

The island remained under French control until its capture by the British in 1762, during the Seven Years' War. The Treaty of Paris formally ceded Grenada to Great Britain in 1763. Although the French regained control in 1779, the Treaty of Versailles restored the island to Britain in 1783. Britain overcame a pro-French revolt in 1795, and Grenada remained British for the remainder of the colonial period.

During the 18th century, Grenada's economy underwent an important transition. Like much of the rest of the West Indies it was originally settled to cultivate sugar, which was grown on estates using slave labor. But natural disasters paved the way for the introduction of other crops. In 1782, Sir Joseph Banks, the botanical adviser to King George III, introduced nutmeg to Grenada. The island's soil was ideal for growing the spice, and because Grenada was a closer source of spices for Europe than the Dutch East Indies the island assumed a new importance to European traders.

The collapse of the sugar estates and the introduction of nutmeg and cocoa encouraged the development of smaller landholdings, and the island developed a land-owning yeoman farmer class.

Slavery was outlawed in 1834. In 1833, Grenada became part of the British Windward Islands Administration. The governor of the Windward Islands administered the island for the rest of the colonial period.

In 1958, the Windward Islands Administration was dissolved, and Grenada joined the Federation of the West Indies. After that federation collapsed in 1962, the British Government tried to form a small federation out of its remaining dependencies in the Eastern Caribbean.

Following the failure of this second effort, the British and the islands developed the concept of associated statehood. Under the Associated Statehood Act of 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs in March 1967. Full independence was granted on February 7, 1974.

In effort to establish order on the island and eliminate the Cuban military presence, U.S. president Ronald Reagan ordered an invasion of Grenada on Oct. 25, 1983, involving over 1,900 U.S. troops and a small military force from Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent. The troops met strong resistance from Cuban military personnel on the island but soon occupied it.

In Sept. 2004, Grenada suffered the most damage of any country from Hurricane Ivan, which killed 39 and left thousands homeless.

The economy of Grenada, based primarily upon services (tourism and education) and agricultural production (nutmeg and cocoa), was brought to a near standstill by Hurricane Ivan on September 7, 2004.

For two weeks in the month og August, Grenadians invites you to imagine yourself, drink in hand, moving to the pulsating sounds of the latest soca tunes, completely lost in the revelry and pageantry that is Carnival - they call it Spice Mas!!!

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Information provided courtesy of: Caribbean Association Midwest America