Grenada History and Culture

By | June 17, 2021

The first residents

Grenada was first settled by the Arawak who came to the island from South America. They were later driven from the island Caribs.

Columbus and the Spaniards

In 1498 Christopher Columbus discovered the island on his third voyage and named it ConcepciĆ³n. Spanish sailors later called it Grenada, probably because the island reminded them of their Spanish homeland, Granada. A settlement by the Spaniards did not take place, however, probably because the Caribs defended themselves against the invaders. The attempt by the English to colonize the island also failed in 1609.

French colony

In 1649 the French settled in Grenada and defeated the Caribs, who resisted under Chief Kairouane. The French founded Fort Royal, later St. George’s. Sugar cane and indigo were grown, and slaves were brought from Africa to work on the plantations.

British colony

In 1762 the British conquered Grenada in the Seven Years’ War and officially received the island a year later in the Peace of Paris. The French tried to retake Grenada in 1779, but returned it to Great Britain again in 1783. In 1795 there was an uprising against British rule, which could only be ended a year later.

In 1834 slavery was abolished. Because there was now a shortage of workers, the British brought some from their Indian colonies to Grenada. The nutmeg tree was introduced and its cultivation and that of cocoa replaced the old plantation economy.

Independence 1974

Great Britain granted Grenada independence on February 7, 1974. The country remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The head of state is thus the British king or the British queen, represented by a governor. Eric Gairy became the first prime minister. However, he ruled increasingly dictatorial and was deposed in 1979 in a bloodless revolution.

From Gairy to Bishop

Gairy followed the politically left-wing Maurice Bishop into office. Relations with the US deteriorated under President Reagan and a boycott was imposed on Grenada in 1981. The social situation in the country improved under Bishop, but there were no free elections. The construction of an airport began. In 1983, Bishop was deposed and murdered by his deputy.

Invasion of the United States in 1983

The Governor General of Grenada asked the United States for help in this situation. The socialist government was overthrown.

Development since 1984

Free elections took place in 1984. The conservative New National Party (NPP, New National Party) has been the government for many years; its political opponent is the National Democratic Congress party. From 1995 to 2008 and again since 2013, Keith Mitchell was Prime Minister of the NPP.

In 2004, Grenada was badly hit by Hurricane Ivan. Most of the houses were destroyed as well as the nutmeg trees, and more than 30 people died. In economic terms, the hurricane Grenada set back sharply. In 2005, Hurricane Emily hit the island and damage occurred again.

Typical Grenada

Carnival

As on all Caribbean islands, carnival is celebrated extensively and with pleasure in August. Costumes are lavishly tailored and music groups practice for the competition. All dance and many spray themselves with a color and are then all red or blue or yellow. The typical music of Grenada is of course also played: Soca and Calypso are their names.

Cricket

Cricket is the most popular sport in Grenada – a British heritage with left-hand cars, the English language and red telephone boxes. There is a cricket stadium in St. George’s. Together with Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada has a team together, the Windward Islands Cricket Team.

You as a Grenadian child

Imagine if you were born in Grenada! You’d probably have a first name like Kenny or Nathan as a boy or Chandra or Tonya as a girl. You would have black skin and you would probably speak a Creole language and not learn English until school. That would be sorely needed, because the lessons are in English!

Maybe Oil Down would be your favorite dish, a stew with meat and vegetables in coconut milk. In any case, you’d like to eat spicy, because that’s what everyone here does. As a girl, you’d often have a braided hairstyle or braids with lots of hair clips. Boys have short hair or dreadlocks.

You wouldn’t have winter shoes or a thick jacket, because Grenada is always warm. However, you would also know: From July onwards, the risk of a hurricane increases. It’s very dangerous, the strong wind destroys entire houses. You never know when a hurricane is coming. Sometimes two come in a row like 2004 and 2005 and then none for years.

Life in Grenada

According to timedictionary.com, most of the people in Grenada live in rural areas. Even the capital St. George’s only has 10,000 inhabitants. There are no high-rise buildings there either. So everything looks manageable. The people in the country mostly live in houses or huts made of wood. There are no tarred roads in the country. Many houses in St. George’s are also built of stone.

Most Grenaders prefer to do their shopping at the market in St. George’s. There are also shopping centers and supermarkets, but the market is also a meeting point. Payment is made in the East Caribbean dollar.

Life in Grenada