Grenada (/É¡rÉ¨ËneÉªdÉ/; French: La Grenade) is an island country consisting of Grenada itself and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" because of the production of nutmeg and mace crops of which it is one of the world's largest exporters. Its size is 344 square kilometres (133Â sqÂ mi), with an estimated population of 110,000. Its capital is St. George's. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada dove.
French colony (1649â"1763)
In 1649 a French expedition of 203 men from Martinique led by Jacques du Parquet founded a permanent settlement on Grenada. Within months this led to conflict with the local islanders which lasted until 1654 when the island was completely subjugated by the French. Those indigenous islanders who survived either left for neighboring islands or retreated to remoter parts of Grenada where they were marginalisedâ"the last distinct communities disappeared during the 1700s.
Warfare continued during the 1600s between the French on Grenada and the Caribs of present-day Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The French named the new French colony La Grenade, and the economy was initially based on sugar cane and indigo. The French established a capital known as Fort Royal (later St. George). To shelter from hurricanes the French navy would often take refuge in the capital's natural harbour, as no nearby French islands had a natural harbour to compare with that of Fort Royal. The British captured Grenada during the Seven Years' War in 1762.
British colony (1763â"1974)
Grenada was formally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The French re-captured the island during the American Revolutionary War, after Comte d'Estaing won the bloody land and naval Battle of Grenada in July 1779. However the island was restored to Britain with the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. Britain was hard pressed to overcome a pro-French revolt in 1795â"96 led by Julien Fedon.
Nutmeg was introduced to Grenada in 1843 when a merchant ship called in on its way to England from the East Indies. The ship had a small quantity of nutmeg trees on board which they left in Grenada, and this was the beginning of Grenada's nutmeg industry that now supplies nearly 40% of the world's annual crop.
In 1877 Grenada was made a Crown colony. Theophilus A. Marryshow founded the Representative Government Association (RGA) in 1917 to agitate for a new and participative constitutional dispensation for the Grenadian people. Partly as a result of Marryshow's lobbying, the Wood Commission of 1921â"22 concluded that Grenada was ready for constitutional reform in the form of a modified Crown colony government. This modification granted Grenadians the right to elect five of the 15 members of the Legislative Council, on a restricted property franchise enabling the wealthiest 4% of adult Grenadians to vote.
Toward independence (1950â"1974)
In 1950 Eric Gairy founded the Grenada United Labour Party, initially as a trades union, which led the 1951 general strike for better working conditions. This sparked great unrestâ"so many buildings were set ablaze that the disturbances became known as the "red sky" daysâ"and the British authorities had to call in military reinforcements to help regain control of the situation. On October 10, 1951, Grenada held its first general elections on the basis of universal adult suffrage, with Gairy's party winning six of the eight seats contested. From 1958 to 1962 Grenada was part of the Federation of the West Indies.
On March 3, 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs as an Associated State. Herbert Blaize was the first Premier of the Associated State of Grenada from March to August 1967. Eric Gairy served as Premier from August 1967 until February 1974.
Post-Independence coups (1974â"1983)
Independence was granted on February 7, 1974, under the leadership of Eric Gairy, who became the first Prime Minister of Grenada.
Civil conflict gradually broke out between Eric Gairy's government and some opposition parties including the Marxist New Jewel Movement (NJM). Gairy's party won elections in 1976. The opposition did not accept the result, accusing it of fraud.
In March 1979, the New Jewel Movement launched a coup which removed Gairy, suspended the constitution, and established a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop who declared himself prime minister. His Marxist-Leninist government established close ties with Cuba, Nicaragua, and other communist bloc countries. All political parties except for the New Jewel Movement were banned and no elections were held during the four years of PRG rule.
Invasion by the United States (1983)
Coup and execution of Maurice Bishop
Some years later a dispute developed between Bishop and certain high-ranking members of the NJM. Though Bishop cooperated with Cuba and the USSR on various trade and foreign policy issues, he sought to maintain a "non-aligned" status. Bishop had been taking his time making Grenada wholly socialist, encouraging private-sector development in an attempt to make the island a popular tourist destination. Hardline Marxist party members, including Communist Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, deemed Bishop insufficiently revolutionary and demanded that he either step down or enter into a power-sharing arrangement.
On October 19, 1983, Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis, backed by the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop and placed Bishop under house arrest. These actions led to street demonstrations in various parts of the island. Bishop had enough support from the population that he was eventually freed after a demonstration in the capital. When Bishop attempted to resume power, he was captured and executed by soldiers along with seven others, including government cabinet ministers. The Coard regime then put the island under martial law.
After the execution of Bishop, the People's Revolutionary Army (PRA) formed a military government with General Hudson Austin as chairman. The army declared a four-day total curfew, during which (it said) anyone leaving their home without approval would be shot on sight.
US and allied response and reaction
The overthrow of a moderate government by one which was strongly pro-communist worried U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Particularly worrying was the presence of Cuban construction workers and military personnel who were building a 10,000-foot (3,000Â m) airstrip on Grenada.
Bishop had stated the purpose of the airstrip was to allow commercial jets to land, but U.S. military analysts argued that the only reason for constructing such a long and reinforced runway was so that it could be used by heavy military transport planes. The contractors, American and European companies, and the EEC, which provided partial funding, all claimed the airstrip did not have military capabilities. Reagan was worried that CubaÂ â" under the direction of the Soviet UnionÂ â" would use Grenada as a refueling stop for Cuban and Soviet airplanes loaded with weapons destined for Central American communist insurgents.
On October 25, 1983, combined forces from the United States and from the Regional Security System (RSS) based in Barbados invaded Grenada in an operation codenamed Operation Urgent Fury. The U.S. stated this was done at the behest of Prime Minister Eugenia Charles of Dominica. While the Governor-General of Grenada, Sir Paul Scoon, later stated that he had also requested the invasion, it was highly criticised by the governments of Britain, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada. The United Nations General Assembly condemned it as "a flagrant violation of international law" by a vote of 108 in favor to 9, with 27 abstentions. The United Nations Security Council considered a similar resolution, which failed to pass when vetoed by the United States.
After the invasion of the island nation, the pre-revolutionary Grenadian constitution came into operation once again. Eighteen members of the PRG and the PRA (army) were arrested after the invasion on charges related to the murder of Maurice Bishop and seven others. The eighteen included the top political leadership of Grenada at the time of the execution as well as the entire military chain of command directly responsible for the operation that led to the executions. Fourteen were sentenced to death, one was found not guilty and three were sentenced to 45 years in prison. The death sentences were eventually commuted to terms of imprisonment. Those in prison have become known as the Grenada 17.
Grenada since 1983
When U.S. troops withdrew from Grenada in December 1983, Nicholas Brathwaite of the National Democratic Congress was appointed prime minister of an interim administration by Scoon until elections could be organized. The first democratic elections since 1976 were held in December 1984 and were won by the Grenada National Party under Herbert Blaize who served as prime minister until his death in December 1989.
Ben Jones succeeded Blaize as prime minister and served until the March 1990 election, which was won by the National Democratic Congress under Nicholas Brathwaite who returned as prime minister for a second time until he resigned in February 1995. He was succeeded by George Brizan who served until the June 1995 election which was won by the New National Party under Keith Mitchell who went on to win the 1999 and 2003 elections and served for a record 13 years until 2008.
In 2000â"02, much of the controversy of the late 1970s and early 1980s was once again brought into the public consciousness with the opening of the truth and reconciliation commission. The commission was chaired by a Roman Catholic priest, Father Mark Haynes, and was tasked with uncovering injustices arising from the PRA, Bishop's regime, and before. It held a number of hearings around the country. Brother Robert Fanovich, head of Presentation Brothers' College (PBC) in St. George's tasked some of his senior students with conducting a research project into the era and specifically into the fact that Maurice Bishop's body was never discovered. Paterson also uncovered that there was still a lot of resentment in Grenadian society resulting from the era and a feeling that there were many injustices still unaddressed.
On September 7, 2004, after being hurricane-free for 49 years, the island was directly hit by Hurricane Ivan. Ivan struck as a Category 3 hurricane and damaged or destroyed 90% of the island's homes. On July 14, 2005, Hurricane Emily, a Category 1 hurricane at the time, struck the northern part of the island with 80-knot (150Â km/h; 92Â mph) winds, causing an estimated USD $110Â million (EC$297Â million) worth of damage. By December 2005, 96% of all hotel rooms were open for business and to have been upgraded in facilities and strengthened to an improved building code. The agricultural industry and in particular the nutmeg industry suffered serious losses, but that event has begun changes in crop management and it is hoped that as new nutmeg trees gradually mature, the industry will return to its pre-Ivan position as a major supplier in the Western world.
In April 2007, Grenada jointly hosted (along with several other Caribbean nations) the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The Island's Prime Minister was the CARICOM representative on cricket and was instrumental in having the World Cup games brought to the region. After Hurricane Ivan, the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) paid for the new $40Â million national stadium and provided the aid of over 300 laborers to build and repair it. During the opening ceremony, the anthem of the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) was accidentally played instead of the PRC's anthem, leading to the firing of top officials.
The 2008 election was won by the National Democratic Congress under Tillman Thomas. The 2013 election was won by the New National Party under Keith Mitchell winning all 15 seats.
The island of Grenada is the largest island in the Grenadines. Smaller islands are Carriacou, Petit Martinique, Ronde Island, Caille Island, Diamond Island, Large Island, Saline Island, and Frigate Island. Most of the population lives on Grenada, and major towns there include the capital, St. George's, Grenville and Gouyave. The largest settlement on the other islands is Hillsborough on Carriacou.
The islands are of volcanic origin with extremely rich soil. Grenada's interior is very mountainous with Mount St. Catherine being the highest at 840Â m (2,760Â ft). Several small rivers with beautiful waterfalls flow into the sea from these mountains.
The climate is tropical: hot and humid in the rainy season and cooled by the trade winds in the dry season. Grenada, being on the southern edge of the hurricane belt, has suffered only three hurricanes in fifty years.
Hurricane Janet passed over Grenada on September 23, 1955, with winds of 185Â km/h (115Â mph), causing severe damage. The most recent storms to hit have been Hurricane Ivan on September 7, 2004, causing severe damage and thirty-nine deaths and Hurricane Emily on July 14, 2005, causing serious damage in Carriacou and in the north of Grenada which had been relatively lightly affected by Hurricane Ivan.
As a Commonwealth realm, Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Grenada and Head of State. The Crown is represented by a Governor-General, currently CÃ©cile La Grenade. Day-to-day executive power lies with the Head of Government, the Prime Minister. Although appointed by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the Parliament.
The Parliament consists of a Senate (thirteen members) and a House of Representatives (fifteen members). The senators are appointed by the government and the opposition, while the representatives are elected by the population for five-year terms.
On February 19, 2013, Prime Minister Keith Claudius Mitchell, 65, led the New National Party (NNP) to victory with a clean sweep of 15 seats. Mitchell is Grenada's ninth prime minister since it attained political independence from Britain in 1974.
Grenada is a full and participating member of both the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Grenada's military has two branches:
- Royal Grenada Police Force, which includes a Special Service Unit.
- Coast Guard of Grenada.
Grenada is divided into six parishes:
Carriacou and Petite Martinique, two of the Grenadines, have the status of dependency.
Economic progress in fiscal reforms and prudent macroeconomic management have boosted annual growth to 5%â"6% in 1998â"99; the increase in economic activity has been led by construction and trade. Tourist facilities are being expanded; tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner. Major short-term concerns are the rising fiscal deficit and the deterioration in the external account balance. Grenada shares a common central bank and a common currency (the East Caribbean dollar) with seven other members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
Grenada is a leading producer of several different spices. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, allspice, orange/citrus peels, wild coffee used by the locals, and especially nutmeg, providing 20% of the world supply, are all important exports. Grenada is the world's second largest producer of nutmeg (after Indonesia), with nutmeg depicted on the Grenadan flag.
Tourism is Grenada's main economic force. Conventional beach and water-sports tourism is largely focused in the southwest region around St George, the airport and the coastal strip. Ecotourism is growing in significance. Most small ecofriendly guesthouses are located in the Saint David and Saint John parishes. The tourism industry is increasing dramatically with the construction of a large cruise ship pier and esplanade. Up to four cruise ships per day were visiting St. Georges in 2007â"2008 during the cruise ship season.
St. Georges University has rapidly expanded in recent years, and has a major economic impact, particularly in southern portions of the island. While some of its approximately 5000 students are from Grenada, including many undergraduates, and many medical students serve rotations off of the island, the majority of students are from other countries and bring substantial revenue to the island while studying there. St. Georges University is among the island's largest employers, and students patronize many off-campus landlords and other businesses.
The Grenada Chocolate Company has pioneered the cultivation of organic cocoa, which is also processed into finished bars.
Tourism is concentrated in the southwest of the island, around St. George, Grand Anse, Lance Aux Epines, and Point Salines. Grenada has many idyllic beaches around its coastline including the 3Â km (1.9Â mi) long Grand Anse Beach in St George which is considered to be one of the finest beaches in the world and often appears in countdowns of the world's top ten beaches. Besides these excellent beaches, touristsâ favorite points of interest yet in Grenada are the waterfalls. The nearest to St. Georgeâs is the Annandale Waterfalls, but other notable ones like Mt. Carmel, Concord, Seven Sisters and Tufton Hall are also within easy reach.
Flights at the Maurice Bishop International Airport connect with other Caribbean islands, the United States, Canada, and Europe. There is a daily fast ferry service between St. George and Hillsborough.
A majority of Grenadine citizens (82%) are descendants of the African slaves brought by the English and French; few of the indigenous Carib and Arawak population survived the French purge at Sauteurs. A small percentage of descendants of indentured workers from India were brought to Grenada mainly from the North Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh between May 1, 1857 â" January 10, 1885. Today, Grenadians of Indian descent comprise the second largest ethnic group. There is also a small community of French and English descendants. The rest of the population is of mixed descent (13%).
Grenada, like many of the Caribbean islands is subject to a large amount of migration, with a large number of young people wanting to leave the island to seek life elsewhere. With 110,000Â people living in Grenada, estimates and census data suggest that there are at least that number of Grenadian-born people in other parts of the Caribbean (such as Barbados and Trinidad) and at least that number again in First World countries. Popular migration points for Grenadians further north include New York City, Toronto, the United Kingdom (in particular, London and Yorkshire; see Grenadians in the UK) and sometimes Montreal, or as far south as Australia. This means that probably around a third of those born in Grenada still live there.
The official language, English, is used in the government, but Grenadian Creole is considered the lingua franca of the island. French Patois (Antillean Creole) is also spoken by about 10%â"20% the population. Some Hindi/Bhojpuri terms are still spoken amongst the Indian descendants, mostly those pertaining to the kitchen; such as aloo, geera, karela, seim, chownkay, and baylay. The term bhai, which means "brother" in Urdu and Hindi, is a common form of greeting amongst Indo-Grenadians males of equal status.
Including a small community of Rastafarians living in Grenada, most of the population belong to Christian churches. About half of the population are Roman Catholic; while the largest Protestant denomination is Anglican, with Presbyterian and Seventh Day Adventist taking up much of the remainder. Most churches have denomination-based schools but are open to all. There are a small Hindu and Muslim populations descended mostly from Gujarati Indian immigrants who came during the colonial period and set up merchant shops.
English is the country's official language, but the main spoken language is either of two creole languages (Grenadian Creole English and Grenadian Creole French) which reflects the African, European, and native Indian heritage of the nation. The creoles contain elements from a variety of African languages; Grenadian Creole, however, is also influenced by French.
Grenadian Creole French is mainly spoken in smaller rural areas, but today it can only be heard in a few small pockets of the society. Grenadian Creole French is mainly known as Patois or KwÃ©yÃ²l.
Although French influence on Grenadian culture is much less visible than on other Caribbean islands, surnames and place names in French remain, and the everyday language is laced with French words and the local dialect, or Patois. Stronger French influence is found in the well seasoned spicy food and styles of cooking similar to those found in New Orleans, and some French architecture has survived from the 1700s. Island culture is heavily influenced by the African roots of most of the Grenadians, but Indian and Carib Amerindian influence is also seen with dhal puri, rotis, Indian sweets, cassava and curries in the cuisine.
The "oildown" is considered to be the national dish. The name refers to a dish cooked in coconut milk until all the milk is absorbed, leaving a bit of coconut oil in the bottom of the pot. Early recipes call for a mixture of salted pigtail, pig's feet (trotters), salt beef and chicken, dumplings made from flour, and provision like breadfruit, green banana, yam and potatoes. Callaloo leaves are sometimes used to retain the steam and for extra flavour.
Soca, calypso, and reggae set the mood for Grenada's annual Carnival activities. Over the years rap music became famous among Grenadian youths, and there have been numerous young rappers emerging in the island's underground rap scene. Zouk is also being slowly introduced onto the island. The islanders' African and Carib Amerindian heritage plays an influential role in many aspects of Grenada's culture.
As with other islands from the Caribbean, cricket is the national and most popular sport and is an intrinsic part of Grenadian culture. The Grenada national cricket team forms a part of the Windward Islands cricket team in regional domestic cricket, however it plays as a separate entity in minor regional matches, as well having previously played Twenty20 cricket in the Stanford 20/20.
An important aspect of the Grenadian culture is the tradition of story telling, with folk tales bearing both African and French influences. The character, Anancy, a spider who is a trickster, originated in West Africa and is prevalent on other islands as well. French influence can be seen in La Diablesse, a well-dressed she-devil, and Ligaroo (from Loup Garoux), a werewolf.
Grenada has competed in every Summer Olympics since the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Kirani James won the first Olympic gold medal for Grenada in the men's 400 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Cricket is one of the most popular sports of Grenada, with intense inter-island rivalry with its Caribbean neighbours. Grenada National Cricket Stadium of St. George's hosts domestic and international cricket matches. Devon Smith, West Indies record holder to win the List-A West Indian domestic competition for the second time, was born in a small town of Hermitage. This legendary West Indian batsman is one of the most famous sporting icons in the country.
- Outline of Grenada
- Index of Grenada-related articles
- Windward Islands
- Adkin, Mark. 1989. Urgent Fury: The Battle for Grenada: The Truth Behind the Largest U.S. Military Operation Since Vietnam. Trans-Atlantic Publications. ISBN 0-85052-023-1
- Beck, Robert J. 1993. The Grenada Invasion: Politics, Law, and Foreign Policy Decisionmaking. Boulder: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-8709-4
- Brizan, George 1984. Grenada Island of Conflict: From Amerindians to People's Revolution 1498â"1979. London, Zed Books Ltd., publisher; Copyright, George Brizan, 1984.
- Martin, John Angus. 2007. Aâ"Z of Grenada Heritage. Macmillan Caribbean.
- "Grenada Heritage". Grenadaheritage.com. Retrieved 2010-06-28.Â
- Sinclair, Norma. 2003. Grenada: Isle of Spice (Caribbean Guides). Interlink Publishing Group; 3rd edition. ISBN 0-333-96806-9
- Stark, James H. 1897. Stark's Guide-Book and History of Trinidad including Tobago, Grenada, and St. Vincent; also a trip up the Orinoco and a description of the great Venezuelan Pitch Lake. Boston, James H. Stark, publisher; London, Sampson Low, Marston & Company.
- Steele, Beverley A. 2003. Grenada: A History of Its People (Island Histories). MacMillan Caribbean. ISBN 0-333-93053-3
- Wikimedia Atlas of Grenada
- Official Website of the Government of Grenada
- Chief of State and Cabinet Members
- Grenada entry at The World Factbook
- Grenada at UCB Libraries GovPubs.
- Grenada at DMOZ
- Grenada from the BBC News.
- Presentation Brothers College
- Key Development Forecasts for Grenada from International Futures.