Grenada (/ɡrɪˈneɪdə/ (About this soundlisten) grin-AY-də) is a sovereign state
in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Grenadines
island chain. Grenada consists of the island of Grenada itself plus six smaller
islands which lie to the north of the main island. It is located northwest of
Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela and southwest of Saint Vincent and
the Grenadines. Its size is 348.5 square kilometres (134.6 sq mi), and it had an
estimated population of 112,200 in July 2018. Its capital is St. George's.
Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" due to its production of nutmeg
and mace crops, of which it is one of the world's largest exporters. The
national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada dove.
Before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, Grenada was inhabited by the
indigenous Arawaks and later by the Island Caribs. Christopher Columbus
sighted Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the Americas. Although it
was deemed the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest
the Spanish ever landed or settled on the island. Following several unsuccessful
attempts by Europeans to colonise the island due to resistance from the Island
Caribs, French settlement and colonisation began in 1650 and continued for the
next century. On 10 February 1763, Grenada was ceded to the British under the
Treaty of Paris. British rule continued until 1974 (except for a period of
French rule between 1779 and 1783). From 1958 to 1962 Grenada was part of the
Federation of the West Indies, a short-lived federation of British West Indian
colonies. On 3 March 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal
affairs as an associated state.
Independence was granted on 7 February 1974, without breaking formal ties with
the Commonwealth, under the leadership of Eric Gairy, who became the first Prime
Minister of Grenada, with Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. In March 1979,
the Marxist–Leninist New Jewel Movement overthrew Gairy's government in a
popular bloodless coup d'état and established the People's Revolutionary
Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop as Prime Minister. Bishop was later
executed by military hardliners, prompting a U.S.-led invasion in October 1983.
Since then democratic governance has been restored and the island has remained
The origin of the name "Grenada" is obscure, but it is likely that Spanish
sailors renamed the island for the Andalusian city of Granada. By the
beginning of the 18th century, the name "Grenada", or "la Grenade" in French,
was in common use.
On his third voyage to the region in 1498, Christopher Columbus sighted Grenada
and named it "La Concepción" in honour of the Virgin Mary. It is said that he
may have actually named it "Assumpción", but it is uncertain, as he is said to
have sighted what are now Grenada and Tobago from a distance and named them both
at the same time. However, history has accepted that it was Tobago go.