History of Grenada

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About 2 million years ago Grenada was formed as an underwater volcano. Before the arrival of Europeans, Grenada, was inhabited by Carib Indians who had driven the more peaceful Arawaks from the island. Columbus sighted 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. In 1609 the British settled in Grenada. Partly because of the Caribs, Grenada remained uncolonized for more than one hundred 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.[1] After several skirmishes with the Caribs, the French brought in reinforcements from Martinique and defeated the Caribs, the last of whom leapt into the sea rather than surrender.

18th century

In 1705 The French began building Fort George as Fort Royal on St George's but it was completed by the British in 1710. The island remained under French control until its capture by the British in 1762, during the Seven Years' War. Grenada was formally ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris (1763). Although the French regained control during the American War of Independence , winning the Battle of Grenada in July 1779, the island was restored to Britain with the Treaty of Versailles (1783). Although Britain was hard pressed to overcome a pro-French revolt in 1795, Grenada remained British for the remainder of the colonial period.

During the 18th century, Grenada's economy underwent an important transition. Like much of the rest of the West Indies, it was originally settled to cultivate sugar, which was grown on estates using slave labour from Africa. But natural disasters paved the way for the introduction of other crops. In 1782, Sir Joseph Banks, the botanical adviser to King George III, introduced nutmeg to Grenada. The island's soil was ideal for growing the spice and because Grenada was a closer source of spices for Europe than the Dutch East Indies, the island assumed a new importance to European traders.

19th century

The collapse of the sugar estates and the introduction of nutmeg and cocoa encouraged the development of smaller land holdings, and the island developed a land-owning yeoman farmer class. Slavery was outlawed in 1834. In 1833, Grenada became part of the British Windward Islands Administration. The governor of the Windward Islands administered the island for the rest of the colonial period. On the 3rd of December 1882, the largest wooden Jetty ever built in Grenada,was opened and took place in Gouyave. In 1895 the 340 foot Sendall Tunnel was built for horse carriages.

Current territory  ·   Former territory
* now a Commonwealth Realm  ·   now a member of the Commonwealth of Nations

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