Grenada: Culture & History
Grenada is nicknamed "The Spice Island" because of its heavy production of cinnamon, cocoa and nutmeg is located in the Eastern Caribbean. The nation of Grenada is made up of Grenada, Petit Martinique and Carriacou. This island has a number of cultural attractions among which is Carnival, steel bands and Calypso music. Grenada can boast of the greatest calypsonian in the world in the name of Slinger Francisco - "The Might Sparrow". It is a place to escape to for romantic getaway, water sports, diving and snorkeling. It also possesses one of the most beautiful beaches in the world in the form of Grande Anse.
Christopher Columbus came to Grenada in 1498 and found that the Carib Indians had already inhabited it. The Spanish soldiers found that it reminded them of Andalusia and called it Granada. The French afterwards changed the name from Granada to Grenade. The English later changed it from Grenade to Grenada (pronounced Gre-nay-da). These countries had no problem with the different names but found colonization much more difficult. The Caribs were able to repulse all attempts from the colonists' masters for over one hundred and fifty years. The French expedition from Martinique succeeded in buying from the Caribs large areas of land in return for a few beads, knives and hatchets. Hostilities between the Caribs and the French broke out almost immediately as the French tried to take control over the whole island. The Caribs fought a succession of losing battles, and the last surviving Caribs jumped to their death off a precipice in the north of the island. The French named the spot "Le Morne de Sauteurs", or "Leapers' Hill".
The French and the British continued to battle for ninety years for control of Grenada. Fort George and Fort Frederick, which overlook St. George's harbour, are relics of those fights. Finally, under the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, the island was permanently ceded to the British. After the British gained control of the Grenada, they imported large numbers of slaves from Africa and established sugar plantations. In 1785, however, Julian Fedon, a black planter, challenged the British. Under Fedon's leadership, the island's slave rose up in a violent rebellion, effectively taking control of Grenada temporarily. Although the British crushed the rebellion, tensions remained high until slavery and abolished in 1834. The site of Fedon's Camp is a popular destination for hikers and trekkers as it is located high in the beautiful mountains.
Grenada became a Crown Colony in 1877 and an associate with the British Commonwealth in 1967. Finally in 1974, it gained its independence from the British. Despite its long British rule, the island's French heritage survives in its place names, its buildings and its strong Catholicism.
In 1979, Maurice Bishop's a socialist/communist government was overthrown by the United States invasion of Grenada. This controversial action is still debated hotly throughout the Caribbean.