The spice island of the Caribbean
Grenada is the most southerly of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, and is a tiny point on most world maps with an area of only 133 square miles. Grenada has a population of about 100,000, and is 21 miles long and 12 miles wide. Grenada has a great deal to offer its visitors in terms of hiking, exploring, sailing, diving and much more.
This is a rolling, mountainous island, covered with fragrant spice trees and rare tropical flowers. Bordered by stunning beaches, and dotted with picturesque towns, this verdant island has long been a major source of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and cocoa. The seductive drifts through the colourful Saturday markets and Grenada's dense forests. In the interior of this volcanic island are cascading rivers and waterfalls, lush rainforests, and one of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain lakes imaginable. The capital, St. George's, is widely held to be the loveliest city in the Caribbean. Its horseshoe-shaped harbour is surrounded by a pastel rainbow of dockside warehouses and the red-tiled roofs of traditional shops and homes.
Grenada's physical beauty is complemented by its rich history and vibrant, living cultural heritage. Local festivals, fairs, and markets remain an integral part of life on Grenada. Its centuries-old spice plantations and rum distilleries still use traditional methods, emphasizing quality rather than quantity. Although the tourist industry has become more substantial in recent years, the island's easy rhythms and the friendly openness of its residents evoke an atmosphere that has long since vanished elsewhere.
For many visitors, of course, the measure of any island is taken by its beaches and coral reefs, and Grenada offers plenty of both. The island is ringed with miles of picture-perfect strands, including both entrancing black and sugar-fine white sand beaches. Grand Anse Beach, a smooth expanse stretching for two miles around the curve of a gentle bay, is world famous. Grenada has plenty to offer those interested in offshore pleasure as well, with easily accessible and pristine reefs off the coast of both Grenada and its sister island, Carriacou.
History & Culture
When Christopher Columbus sailed by Grenada in 1498, the island was already inhabited by the Carib Indians. The admiral dubbed the island Concepcion, but passing Spanish sailors found its lush green hills so evocative of Andalusia that they rejected this name in favor of Granada. The French then adapted Granada to Grenade, and the British followed suit, changing Grenade to Grenada (pronounced Gre-nay-da). Although none of the European powers had any trouble naming the island, they found colonization a much more difficult prospect. For a century and a half, the Caribs repulsed all attempts at European settlement, until an enterprising French expedition from Martinique succeeded in purchasing extensive tracts of land in return for a few beads, knives, and hatchets. Hostilities between the Caribs and the French broke out almost immediately afterward, as the French endeavoured to extend their control over the whole of the island. Determined not to submit to French rule, the Caribs fought a succession of losing battles, and ultimately 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."
For the next ninety years, the French struggled unsuccessfully to keep the island from falling into the hands of the British. Fort George and Fort Frederick, which still command the heights overlooking St. George's harbour, are relics of that fight. Finally, under the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, the island was permanently ceded to the British. Having gained stable possession of Grenada, the British immediately imported large numbers of slaves from Africa and established sugar plantations. In 1795, however, British control was seriously challenged once again, this time by Julian Fedon, a black planter inspired by the French Revolution. Under Fedon's leadership, the island's slaves rose up in a violent rebellion, effectively taking control of Grenada. Although the rebellion was crushed by the British, tensions remained high until slavery was abolished in 1834. The site of Fedon's Camp, high up in Grenada's beautiful central mountains, is today a popular destination for hikers and trekkers.
In 1877 Grenada became a Crown Colony, and in 1967 it became an associate state within the British Commonwealth before gaining independence in 1974. Despite the island's long history of British rule, the island's French heritage (both colonial and revolutionary) survives in its place names, its buildings, and its strong Catholicism