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Cane in the Valley and Spice in the Hills

Published: Nov 3rd 2018

Like many Caribbean islands, most of Grenada's present-day population is a result of the African slave trade. Sugar Cane was introduced from Brazil by the Portuguese in 1550, and 1843 saw the first nutmeg trees from then Dutch islands, brought by a merchant ship on its way to England. Slavery, a Dutch crop disaster in 1850, and the subsequent belief that nutmeg would ward off the plague, led Grenada to become the world's top producer. The island also branched out into cinnamon, bayleaf, ginger, allspice, star anise, clove, and turmeric, giving the island its colloquial name 'Isle of Spice'. Today, Grenada continues to be one of the world's top producers of nutmeg and other spices. 

Sugar cane and rum production also played a major role in the island's development. Considered a cash crop, large plantations were established that were initially tended to by vast numbers of African slaves, and then by Indian and Chinese indentured servants after slavery was abolished. Grenada currently has 2 rum factories, Clarkes Court and River Antoine, which has been in operation since 1785 and is the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in the Caribbean. 

Ruins of former rum, cane, and spice processing estates can be found throughout the island, many of which you can visit, along with some that are still in use, like the nutmeg processing plant in Gouyave. Almost all mountainous hikes throughout the island will provide opportunities to see some form of spice tree or bush.