Lush green volcanic mountains,
magnificent white sandy beaches,
beautifully preserved architecture of yesteryear,
a culturally and ethnically diverse population
of one hundred thousand inhabiting
133 square miles of unspoiled beauty
This is the tri island state of
Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
Christopher Columbus first sighted Grenada in 1498, on his third voyage to the New World. At that time, the island was inhabited by the Arawaks, an Amerindian tribe originally from the Amazon basin area. The Caribs, also Amerindian, followed shortly afterwards although in smaller numbers. Years later, fierce battles were fought between the Caribs and French for control of the island. In the end, the Caribs, realizing they were outnumbered and would be conquered, committed suicide by jumping off a cliff in a northern town of Grenada, Sauteurs, now known as Leapers’ Hill. Many attempts were made by the Europeans to settle Grenada and colonize its inhabitants. From the time of its initial sighting, Grenada went back and forth between British and French control several times until the British gained permanent possession of the island in 1783. Vestiges of the French and British cultures remain very evident in modern-day Grenada.
During the period of colonization, the plantation system was established in Grenada. As in other Caribbean islands, this system was a comprehensive institution that was supported largely by sugar production, as well as coffee and cotton production. Slave labour was the linchpin of the plantation system.
August 1, 1838 marked the emancipation of slavery throughout the Caribbean. With this new freedom, questions were raised in Grenada regarding the type of government that would be established in the country. In 1877, a Crown Colony government was introduced. Years later, T. A. Marryshow and C. F. P. Renwick spearheaded efforts to change the colonial system. In 1924, the old legislative council was dissolved and the Grenadian constitution was revised. Further demands were made for self-governance, along with attempts to establish a West Indies Federation.
In 1967, Grenada became an Associated State of Great Britain, leading to the adoption of a new constitution. On February 7, 1974, Grenada became a fully independent country.