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For other uses, see Grenada (disambiguation).

Grenada is an island nation in the southeastern Caribbean Sea including the southern Grenadines. Grenada is the second-smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere (after Saint Kitts and Nevis). It is located north of Trinidad and Tobago, and south of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Flag of Grenada
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: The Land, the People, the Light
Location of Grenada
Official language English
Capital St. George's
Queen Queen Elizabeth II
Governor-General Sir Daniel Williams
Prime Minister Keith Mitchell
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 217th
344 km²

 - Total (2002)
 - Density

Ranked 180th


Independence February 7, 1974
Currency East Caribbean Dollar
Time zone UTC -4
National anthem Hail Grenada
Internet TLD .gd
Calling Code 1-473



Main article: History of Grenada

The recorded history of Grenada begins in 1498, when Christopher Columbus first sighted the island. At the time of settlement the island was occupied either by Island Caribs (Kalinago) or by their mainland cousins, the Kariña. After a failed British settlement attempt, the French "purchased" the island from the indigenous people in 1650, which resulted in warfare with the Caribs of Dominica and St. Vincent who feared losing their trade routes to the mainland. The island was again ceded to Britain in 1783. Grenada was made a Crown Colony in 1877.

The island was a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962. Independence was granted in 1974 under the leadership of Eric Gairy. Gairy's government became increasingly authoritarian, prompting a coup d'état in 1979 by the charismatic and popular left-wing leader Maurice Bishop. Bishop's failure to allow elections, coupled with his socialism and cooperation with Communist Cuba did not sit well with the country's neighbours including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Dominica and the United States. A power struggle between Bishop and a Stalinist sect within the ruling New Jewel Movement loyal to the Moscow agent Bernard Coard led to Bishop's house arrest and later execution on October 19, 1983 under disputed circumstances.

Six days later, the island was invaded by forces from the United States and six other Caribbean nations in part of a military campaign called Operation Urgent Fury. Although the Governor-General, Sir Paul Scoon later stated that he had requested the invasion, the British Government and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago expressed anger because they were not consulted. The forces quickly captured the ringleaders and their hundreds of Cuban advisers, most of whom were laborers working on the construction of a major airport for the island which the United States completed years later. Elections were held the following year. A publicised tactical concern of the United States was the safe recovery of U.S. nationals enrolled at St. George's University.

In 2004, the island was directly hit by Hurricane Ivan (September 7). The category 4 hurricane caused 90 percent of the homes to be damaged or destroyed. The following year, Hurricane Emily (July 14) struck the island, causing an estimated USD $110 million (EC$ 297 million) worth of damage.


Main article: Politics of Grenada

As a Commonwealth Realm, Queen Elizabeth II is recognised as Queen of Grenada. She is represented by a governor general, but real executive power lies with the head of government, the prime minister. Although appointed by the governor general, the prime minister generally is the leader of the largest faction in the parliament.

The parliament consists of a Senate (13 members) and a House of Representatives (15 members). The senators are appointed by the government and the opposition, while the representatives are elected by the population for 5-year terms. With 49.9% of the votes and 8 seats in the 2003 election, the New National Party remains the largest party in Grenada. The largest opposition party is the National Democratic Congress with 45.1% of the votes and 7 seats.

Grenada is a full & participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).


Main article: Parishes of Grenada

Politically, Grenada is divided into six parishes:

Carriacou and Petit Martinique, two of the Grenadines have the status of dependency.


Main article: Geography of Grenada

Map of Grenada

The island Grenada itself is the largest island; smaller Grenadines are Carriacou, Petit Martinique, Rhonde Island, Caille Island, Diamond Island, Large Island, Saline Island and Frigate Island. Most of the population lives on Grenada itself, and major towns there include the capital St. George's, Grenville and Gouyave. Largest settlement on the other islands is Hillsborough on Carriacou.

The islands are of volcanic origin, and Grenada's inlands are slightly mountainous, with several small rivers flowing into the sea. The climate is tropical: hot and humid, and Grenada occasionally suffers from hurricanes. The most recent storms to hit have been Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and Hurricane Emily in July 2005.


Main article: Economy of Grenada

Economic progress in fiscal reforms and prudent macroeconomic management have boosted annual growth to 5%-6% in 1998-99; 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).

Mace within nutmeg fruit
Mace within nutmeg fruit

Grenada is sometimes called spice island. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, and nutmeg are important exports. There is a nutmeg on the nation's flag.

The red lacy material in the photo is mace. It is found between the nutmeg fruit and the nut itself.


Main article: Demographics of Grenada

About 80% of the population are descendants of the African slaves brought by the Europeans; very little of the indigenous Carib and Arawak population remains.

The official language, English, is spoken by virtually everyone, although a few still speak a French-based creole (called Patois or Patwa). Aside from a marginal community of Rastafarians living in Grenada, nearly all are Christians, about half of them Catholics; Anglicanism is the largest Protestant denomination.


Main article: Culture of Grenada

French influence on culture is much less than in other Caribbean islands, and culture is heavily influenced by the African roots of most of the Grenadians. The local dishes are also a rich part of their heritage and culture. The national dish is Oil Down, which is a combination of Breadfruit, coconut milk, saffron, and anything else that you can fit in the pot. It is best cooked in a large cast-iron pot with a banana leaf to cover it. Oil down (pronounced "I'll Dun") is rare on other islands because of the lack of spices available.


  • Stark, James H. 1897. Stark's Guide-Book and History of Trinidad including Tobago, Granada, 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.

See also

External links

Countries in the Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas | Barbados | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Haiti | Jamaica | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad and Tobago

Dependencies: Anguilla | Aruba | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Guadeloupe | Martinique | Montserrat | Navassa Island | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Turks and Caicos Islands | U.S. Virgin Islands

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Flag of the Caribbean Community
Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas¹ | Barbados | Belize | Dominica | Grenada | Guyana | Haiti | Jamaica | Montserrat | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Suriname | Trinidad and Tobago
Associate members: Anguilla | Bermuda | Cayman Islands | British Virgin Islands | Turks and Caicos Islands
Observer status: Aruba | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Mexico | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Venezuela
¹ member of the community but not the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy.
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