Grenada Explained

For other uses see Grenada (disambiguation).

Native Name:Grenada
Common Name:Grenada
National Motto:“Ever Conscious of God We Aspire, Build and Advance as One People”
National Anthem:Hail Grenada
Royal Anthem:God Save the Queen
Official Languages:English, Patois
Demonym:Grenadian
Capital:St. George’s
Latd:12
Latm:03
Latns:N
Longd:61
Longm:45
Longew:W
Largest City:capital
Government Type:Parliamentary democracy
Leader Title1:Queen
Leader Name1:Queen Elizabeth II
Leader Title2:Governor General
Leader Name2:Carlyle Glean
Leader Title3:Prime Minister
Leader Name3:Tillman Thomas
Sovereignty Type:Independence from the United Kingdom
Established Event1:Date
Established Date1:February 7 1974
Area Rank:203rd
Area Magnitude:1 E7
Area Km2:344
Area Sq Mi:132.8
Percent Water:1.6
Population Estimate:110,000
Population Estimate Rank:185th
Population Estimate Year:July 12 2005
Population Density Km2:259.5
Population Density Sq Mi:672.2
Population Density Rank:45th
Gdp Ppp:$1.127 billion[1]
Gdp Ppp Year:2007
Gdp Ppp Per Capita:$10,632
Gdp Nominal:$605 million
Gdp Nominal Year:2007
Gdp Nominal Per Capita:$5,708
Hdi: 0.777
Hdi Rank:82nd
Hdi Year:2007
Currency:East Caribbean dollar
Currency Code:XCD
Utc Offset:-4
Utc Offset Dst:-4
Drives On:left
Cctld:.gd
Calling Code:1 473
Footnotes:a 2002 estimate.

Grenada is an island nation that includes the southern Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Its size is 344 km² with an estimated population of 110,000. Its capital is St. George's. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada Dove.

History

See main article: History of Grenada.

1498 - 1958: Colonization

The recorded history of Grenada begins in 1498. At the time the Island Caribs (Kalinago) lived there and called it Camahogne. The Spaniards did not permanently settle on Camahogne. Later the English failed their first settlement attempts, but the French fought and conquered Grenada from the Caribs circa 1650. The French conquest resulted in the genocide of 17th century Caribs from present-day Grenada. Warfare also existed between the Caribs of present day Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines with the French invaders. The French took control of Camahogne and named the new French colony La Grenade. La Grenade prospered as a wealthy French colony; its main export was sugar. The French established a capital known as Fort Royal in 1650 as ordered by Cardinal Richelieu. To wait out harsh hurricanes, the French navy would shelter in the capital's natural harbour. No other French colony had a natural harbour to even compare with that of Fort Royal (later renamed St. George's). The colony was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris. A century later, in 1877 Grenada was made a Crown Colony.

1958 - 1984: Independence and Revolution

The island was a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962.
In 1967, Grenada attained the status of “Associated State of the United Kingdom”, which meant that Grenada was now responsible for her own internal affairs, and the UK was responsible for her defence and foreign affairs. Independence was granted in 1974 under the leadership of the then Premier, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, who became the first Prime Minister of Grenada.

Civil conflict gradually broke out between Eric Gairy’s government and some opposition parties including the New Jewel Movement (NJM). Gairy’s party won elections in 1976 but the opposition did not accept the result, accusing it of fraudulence. In 1979, the New Jewel Movement under Maurice Bishop launched a paramilitary attack on the government resulting in its overthrow. The constitution was suspended and Bishop's government ruled subsequently by decree. Cuban presence was welcomed and heavily invested in civic assistance (doctors, teachers, and technicians in the fields of health, literacy, agriculture, and agroindustries) during the ensuing era. Agrarian reforms started by the Gairy government were continued and greatly expanded under the revolutionary government of Maurice Bishop.

Some years later a dispute developed between Bishop and certain high-ranking members of the NJM. Hard left Party members, including Bernard Coard, demanded that Bishop either step down or enter into a power sharing arrangement. The dispute eventually led to the popular Bishop being deposed on October 19, 1983 and placed under house arrest. These actions led to street demonstrations in various parts of the island. Bishop had massive support among the population and was eventually freed by a large demonstration in the capital. Soon after, he was captured and executed by soldiers along with seven others including cabinet ministers of the government.

After the execution of Bishop, the People's Revolutionary Army formed a military government with General Hudson Austin as chairman. The army declared a four-day total curfew during which it said that anyone leaving their home without approval would be shot on sight. This marks the celebration of Thanksgiving in Grenada, which is celebrated with a large feast much like other Thanksgivings in The United States and Canada.

Invasion of Grenada by the U.S. and OECS military

See main article: Invasion of Grenada. On October 19, 1983, Bernard Coard, a communist, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop. Though Bishop was cooperating with Cuba and USSR on various trade and foreign policy issues, Bishop sought to maintain a "non-aligned" status, and so was deemed insufficiently revolutionary by Marxists in his government. A few days later Bishop and several of his followers were executed by the Coard regime, which then put the island under martial law. For four days no one was allowed to leave their homes, under threat of summary execution, and over 1000 American medical students became de facto hostages of the regime. The next day, October 25, Grenada was invaded by combined forces from the United States, the Regional Security System (RSS) and Jamaica, in an operation codenamed Operation Urgent Fury. The U.S. stated this was done at the behest of Dame Eugenia Charles, of Dominica. While the Governor-General, Sir Paul Scoon, later stated that he had also requested the invasion, it was highly criticised by the governments of the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada. The United Nations General Assembly condemned it as "a flagrant violation of international law"[2] by a vote of 108 in favor to 9, with 27 abstentions.[3]

After the invasion of the island nation, the pre-revolutionary Grenadan constitution was resumed. Eighteen members of the PRG and the PRA (army) were arrested after the invasion on charges related to the murder of Maurice Bishop and seven others. The eighteen included the top political leadership of Grenada at the time of the execution as well as the entire military chain of command directly responsible for the operation that led to the executions. Fourteen were sentenced to death, one was found not guilty and three were sentenced to forty-five years in prison. The death sentences were eventually commuted to terms of imprisonment. Those in prison have become known as the Grenada 17.

Twenty-first century history

In 2000 - 2002, much of the controversy of the late 1970s and early 1980s was once again brought into the public consciousness with the opening of the truth and reconciliation commission. The commission was chaired by a Roman Catholic priest, Father Mark Haynes, and was tasked with uncovering injustices arising from the PRA, Bishop’s regime, and before. It held a number of hearings around the country. Brother Robert Fanovich, head of Presentation Brothers’ College (PBC) in St. George’s tasked some of his senior students with conducting a research project into the era and specifically into the fact that Maurice Bishop’s body was never discovered. Their project attracted a great deal of attention, including from the Miami Herald and the final report was published in a book written by the students called Big Sky, Little Bullet. It also uncovered that there was still a lot of resentment in Grenadian society resulting from the era, and a feeling that there were many injustices still unaddressed.

In 2004, after being hurricane-free for forty-nine years, the island was directly hit by Hurricane Ivan (September 7). Ivan struck as a Category 3 hurricane and caused 90 percent of the homes to be damaged or destroyed. The following year, 2005, Hurricane Emily (July 14) a Category 1 hurricane at the time struck the northern part of the island with 80 kt winds, causing an estimated USD $110 million (EC$ 297 million) worth of damage. This was much less damage than Ivan had caused.

Grenada has recovered with remarkable speed, due to both domestic labour and financing from the world at large. By December 2005, 96% of all hotel rooms were to be open for business and to have been upgraded in facilities and strengthened to an improved building code. The agricultural industry and in particular the nutmeg industry suffered serious losses, but that event has begun changes in crop management and it is hoped that as new nutmeg trees gradually mature, the industry will return to its pre-Ivan position as a major supplier in the Western world.

In April 2007, Grenada jointly hosted (along with several other Caribbean nations) the 2007 Cricket World Cup. After Hurricane Ivan, the Chinese government paid for the new $40 million national stadium, along with the aid of over 300 Chinese labourers to build and repair it.[4] During the opening ceremony the Taiwanese anthem was accidentally played, leading to the firing of top officials. http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2007/02/070205_grendiplomatic2.shtmlhttp://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/04/world/main2429938.shtml

Geography

See main article: Geography of Grenada. The island Grenada itself is the largest island; smaller Grenadines are Carriacou, Petit Martinique, Ronde 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. The largest settlement on the other islands is Hillsborough on Carriacou.

The islands are of volcanic origin with extremely rich soil. Grenada’s interior is very mountainous with Mount St. Catherine being the highest at 2756feet. Several small rivers with beautiful waterfalls flow into the sea from these mountains. The climate is tropical: hot and humid in the rainy season and cooled by the trade winds in the dry season. Grenada, being on the Southern edge of the hurricane belt, has suffered only three hurricanes in fifty years. Hurricane Janet passed over Grenada on 23 September 1955 with winds of 115 mph, causing severe damage. The most recent storms to hit have been Hurricane Ivan on September 7, 2004 causing severe damage and thirty-nine deaths and Hurricane Emily on July 14, 2005, causing serious damage in Carriacou and in the north of Grenada which had been relatively lightly affected by hurricane Ivan.

Parishes

See main article: Parishes of Grenada. Grenada is divided into 6 parishes:

  1. Saint Andrew
  2. Saint David
  3. Saint George
  4. Saint John
  5. Saint Mark
  6. Saint Patrick

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

Politics

See main article: Politics of Grenada.

As a Commonwealth realm, Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Grenada and Head of State. The Crown is represented by a Governor-General, who is currently Mr. Carlyle Glean. Day-to-day executive power lies with the Head of Government, the Prime Minister. Although appointed by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the Parliament.

The Parliament consists of a Senate (thirteen members) and a House of Representatives (fifteen members). The senators are appointed by the government and the opposition, while the representatives are elected by the population for five-year terms. With 51% of the votes and eleven seats in the 2008 election, the National Democratic Congress won the July 8, 2008 election. The opposition New National Party won the remaining four seats.

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

Economy and tourism

See 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)[5]

Grenada is called The Spice Isle because it is a leading producer of several different spices. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, allspice, orange/citrus peels, wild coffee used by the locals, and especially nutmeg, providing 20% of the world supply, are all important exports. The nutmeg on the nation's flag represents the economic crop of Grenada; the nation is the world’s second largest producer of nutmeg (after Indonesia).Tourism is Grenada’s main economic force. Conventional beach and water-sports tourism is largely focused in the southwest region around St Georges, the airport and the coastal strip; however, ecotourism is growing in significance. Most of these small ecofriendly guesthouses are located in the Saint David and Saint John parishes. The tourism industry is increasing dramatically with the construction of a large cruise ship pier and esplanade. Up to 4 cruise ships per day were visiting St. Georges in 2007 - 8 during the cruise ship season.

The island has also pioneered the cultivation of organic cocoa which is also processed into finished bars by The Grenada Chocolate Company.

Tourism is concentrated in the southwest of the island, around St. Georges, Grand Anse, Lance Aux Epines, and Point Salines. Grenada has many idyllic beaches around its coastline including the 3 km long Grand Anse Beach in St George's which is considered to be one of the finest beaches in the world, and often appears in countdowns of the world's top 10 beaches.[6]

Grenada is linked to the world through the Point Salines International Airport and the St. George’s harbour. International flights connect with other Caribbean islands, The United States, and Europe. There is also a daily fast ferry service between St. George’s and Hillsborough.

Demographics

See main article: Demographics of Grenada. A majority of the citizens are descendants of the African slaves brought by the Europeans; few of the indigenous Carib and Arawak population survived the French purge at Sauteurs. A small percentage of descendants of East Indian indentured servants were brought to Grenada mainly from the North Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh between May 1,1857 - January 10,1885. There is also a small community of French and English descendants. The rest of the population is of mixed descent.

Grenada, like many of the Caribbean islands is subject to a large amount of migration, with a large number of young people wanting to leave the island to seek life elsewhere. With just over 100,000 people living in Grenada, estimates and census data suggest that there are at least that number of Grenadian-born people in other parts of the Caribbean (such as Barbados and Trinidad) and at least that number again in First World countries. Popular migration points for Grenadians further north include New York City, Toronto, the United Kingdom (London and Yorkshire predominantly - see Grenadians in the UK) and sometimes Montreal, or as far south as Australia. This means that probably around a third of those born in Grenada still live there.

The official language, English, is used in the government, but Grenadian Creole is considered the lingua franca of the island. French Patois (Antillean Creole) is still spoken by about 10% - 20% the population. Some Hindi/Bhojpuri terms are still spoken amongst the Indian descendants, mostly those pertaining to the kitchen; such as aloo, geera, karela, seim, chownkay, and baylay. The term bhai, which means 'brother' or 'partner' in Hindi, is a common form of greeting amongst Indo-Grenadian males of equal status. Aside from a marginal community of Rastafarians living in Grenada, nearly all are mainstream Christians, about half of them Roman Catholics; Anglicanism is the largest Protestant denomination with Presbyterian and Seventh Day Adventist taking up the remainder. Most Churches have denomination-based schools but are open to all. There is a small Muslim population mostly from Gujarati Indian immigrants who came many years ago and set up some merchant shops.

Culture

See main article: Culture of Grenada and Music of Grenada.

See also: Cricket in the West Indies. Although French influence on Grenadian culture is much less visible than on other Caribbean islands, surnames and place names in French remain, and the every day language is laced with French words and the local dialect or Patois. Stronger French influence is found in the well seasoned spicy food and styles of cooking similar to those found in New Orleans and some French architecture has survived from the 1700s. Island culture is heavily influenced by the African roots of most of the Grenadians but Indian influence is also seen with dhal puri, rotis, Indian sweets, and curries in the cuisine.

The "oildown" is considered to be the national dish. The phrase "oil-down" refers to a dish cooked in coconut milk until all the milk is absorbed, leaving a bit of coconut oil in the bottom of the pot. Early recipes call for a mixture of salted pigtail, pigs feet (trotters), salt beef and chicken, dumplings made from flour, provision: Breadfruit, green banana,yam and potatoes. Callaloo leaves are some times used to retain the steam and for extra flavour.

This dish is a common tradition at family and other gatherings at the beach, There is a modest debate in the West Indies about the origin of this dish, with some experts attributing it to other islands like Barbados or Trinidad & Tobago.

Foods aren’t the only important aspect of Grenadian culture. Music, dance, and festivals are also extremely important. Soca, calypso, and reggae set the mood for Grenada's annual Carnival activities. Zouk is also being slowly introduced onto the island. The islanders’ African heritage plays an influential role in many aspects of Grenada’s culture.

As with other islands from the Caribbean Cricket is the national and most popular sport and is an intrinsic part of Grenadian culture.

An important aspect of Grenadian culture is the tradition of story telling, with folk tales bearing both African and French influences. The character, Anancy, a spider god who is a trickster, originated in West Africa and is prevalent on other Caribbean islands as well. French influence can be seen in La Diablesse, a well-dressed she-devil, and Ligaroo (from Loup Garoux), a werewolf.

See also

Bibliography

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Grenada. International Monetary Fund. 2008-10-09.
  2. Web site: United Nations General Assembly resolution 38/7. United Nations. November 2, 1983.
  3. Web site: Assembly calls for cessation of "armed intervention" in Grenada.
  4. News: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Grenada: Bandleader Loses Job in Chinese Anthem Gaffe. February 8, 2007. New York Times. 2008-08-05.
  5. http://www.oecs.org/
  6. Web site: The 10 Best Beaches in the World.