Monday, December 04, 2006

History of Grenada

History of Grenada. This is a brief history of the Caribbean island nation of Grenada. It most recently made headlines in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan decided an American invasion was in order.

The Encyclop√¶dia Britannica notes, "Byname Isle of Spice, island of the West Indies. It is the southernmost of the Lesser Antilles, lying in the eastern Caribbean Sea about 100 miles (160 kilometres) north of the coast of Venezuela. Oval in shape, the island is approximately 21 miles (34 kilometres) long and 12 miles wide, with an area of 120 square miles (311 square kilometres). The southern Grenadines—the largest of which is Carriacou, about 20 miles north-northeast, with an area of 13 square miles—are a dependency."

From the site:

Before the arrival of Europeans, Grenada was inhabited by Carib Indians who had driven the more peaceful Arawaks from the island. Columbus landed on Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the new world. He named the island "Concepcion." The origin of the name "Grenada" is obscure, but it is likely that Spanish sailors renamed the island for the city of Granada. By the beginning of the 18th century, the name "Grenada," or "la Grenade" in French, was in common use.

Partly because of the Caribs, Grenada remained uncolonized 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 last of whom leaped into the sea rather than surrender.

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

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