The State of Grenada consists of three islands- Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique which form the southern end of the Windward Islands. Formerly colonized for many years, first by the French and then by the British, the islands of Grenada still retain traces of these European influences in their culture, architecture and place names. The Capital, St. George’s, is located on the south west coast of Grenada. It is the seat of government and the main commercial centre.
Before the 14th century, the Caribs who displaced the earlier population of Arawaks, settled Grenada. Christopher Columbus during his third voyage to the new world in 1498 sited the island and named it Concepción. The origin of the name “Grenada” is ambiguous but it is likely that Spanish sailors renamed the island for the city of Granada in Spain. The French then adapted Granada to Grenade, and the British followed suit, changing Grenade to Grenada.
European settlement was slow to follow due to the fierce resistance of the warlike Caribs. The island remained un-colonized for more than 150 years although Britain and France fought for control. The French gained control of the island in 1672 and held on to it until the British successfully invaded the island in 1762 during the Seven Years’ War and acquired Grenada by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Although the French regained control in 1779, the island was restored to Britain in 1783 by the Treaty of Versailles.
During the 18th century the British established sugar plantations and slave labour was brought in from Africa to work on the estates. Natural disasters in the late 18th century destroyed the sugar fields and paved the way for the introduction of other crops. Cacao, cotton, nutmeg and other valuable spices were introduced and Grenada assumed a new importance to European traders.
Learn more at Gov.gd, Grenada’s government portal.