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Greneda History - History

Greneda History - History


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GRENADA

Grenada was under the control of the Carib Indians in the 1600s. Then the British and French struggled to establish control over the island until 1783 when the British won. Gaining independence in 1974, the government was displaced in a coup headed by the leftist New Jewel Movement in 1979. Another coup in 1983 ended with the assassination of New Jewel Movement leader Maurice Bishop. The United States invaded and power was restored to the hands of the governor-general. In the early 1990s, a coalition government was in place until 1995 when the New National party, headed by Keith Mitchell, gained a majority in Parliament. Mitchell became prime minister. In 1999 elections, the party won all 18 seats in Parliament.


Transportation of Grenada

Bus service is available between the larger towns and villages. An international airport at Point Salines was inaugurated in 1984. Pearls Airport—providing service to nearby islands with connecting flights to Venezuela—is located on the northeastern coast. An airport on Carriacou also provides flights to nearby islands.

The harbour at St. George’s has berths for oceangoing vessels, as well as a yacht basin and service facilities. Several shipping lines maintain regular passenger and cargo services to North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and neighbouring West Indian islands.


History of Grenada

Christopher Columbus discovered Grenada in 1498. The island was already inhabited by the Carib Indians, who had migrated from the South American mainland, killing or enslaving the peaceful Arawaks who where already inhabitants here. The Amerindians called their island Camerhogue, but Columbus renamed it Concepcion. However, passing Spanish sailors found its lush green hills so evocative of Andalusia that they rejected this name in favor of Granada.

The French then called it La Grenade, and the British followed suit, changing Grenade to Grenada (pronounced Gre-nay-da).

Aggressive defence of the island by the Caribs prevented settlement by Europeans until the 17th century. In 1609 some Englishmen tried and failed, followed by a group of Frenchmen in 1638 but it was not until 1650 that a French expedition from Martinique landed and made initial friendly contact with the inhabitants.

Hostilities between the Caribs and the French broke out almost immediately afterward, as the French endeavoured to extend their control over the whole 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."

The French & The British

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.

Independence

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 the names of places, its buildings, and its strong Catholicism.

In 1979, an attempt was made to set up a socialist/communist state in Grenada. Four years later, at the request of the Governor General, the United States, Jamaica, and the Eastern Caribbean States intervened militarily. Launching their now famous "rescue mission," the allied forces restored order, and in December of 1984 a general election re-established democratic government.

Today's Democracy

The last 20 years have been a peaceful, democratic and fruitful. Back to normal existence, which has included many new building structures and vastly improved infrastructure. Grenada continues to grow, while still evoking the idyllic lifestyle of the Caribbean of old, which portrayed that rare quality called gracious living.


Contents

Approximately 2 million years ago, Grenada was formed by volcanic activity which then resulted in land formation.

The earliest potential evidence for human presence on Grenada comes from the increase of charcoal particulates and the decline of arboreal pollen from the original climax forests, around 3760-3525 BC, [1] during the Archaic Age. This evidence remains controversial, as it could be natural (e.g., lightning fires, volcanic eruptions, etc.). Several shell fragments from archaeological sites have been dated 1700-1380 BC, but are from mixed, insecure contexts. [2] More secure are the shell middens at Point Salines, dated between 765-535 BC. None of these dates are associated with definitively human artifacts, however. The earliest human-made artifacts that have been scientifically dated are from Early Ceramic Age settlements at Beausejour (260-410 AD) and Pearls (370-645 AD). [2] Only one other known site (Grand Marquis) may have been occupied during this time as well.

Beginning around AD 750, the Amerindian population began to rise, probably as a result of continued migration from the South American mainland. Most of the 87 pre-Columbian sites identified in Grenada have a component during this period (AD 750-1200), marking the height Grenada's indigenous population. [3] This period also represents major cultural and environmental changes throughout the Caribbean. [4] Several waves of groups arrived in prehistory, often associated with Arawakan or Cariban languages, but linguistic reconstruction has shown the Cariban dialect to be fragmentary (as a trade language), the primary language family being Arawakan. [5]

Christopher Columbus reportedly sighted the island on his third voyage in 1498, but he did not land and the name he gave ("La Concepcion") was never used. By the 1520s, it was known as "La Granada," after the recently conquered city in Andalusia (and thus the Grenadines were "Los Granadillos"—or "little Granadas"). [6] [7] By the beginning of the 18th century, the name "la Grenade" in French, was in common use, eventually Anglicized to "Grenada". [8]

Partly because of indigenous resistance, Grenada (and much of the Windwards) remained uncolonized for nearly 150 years after Columbus passed by. When the French finally settled Grenada in 1649 (see below), there were at least two, separate indigenous groups: “Caraibe” (Caribs) in the north and “Galibis” in the southeast. [9] Evidence suggests the “Galibis” were more recent arrivals from the mainland (arriving around AD 1250), whereas the group the French called “Caraibe” were living in villages that had been (in some cases) continuously occupied for over millennium, per archaeological evidence. [2] That is, the indigenous names were somewhat reversed in Grenada: the people the French called “Caribs” were likely descendants of the earliest peoples on Grenada, whereas the Galibis appear to have been more recent arrivals from the mainland (and thus, closer to the Carib stereotype).

English attempted settlement Edit

In June 1609, the first attempt at settlement by Europeans was made by an English expedition of 24 colonizers led by Mossis Goldfry, Hall, Lull, and Robincon, who arrived in the ships Diana, the Penelope, and the Endeavour. The settlement was attacked and destroyed by the indigenous islanders and many tortured and killed. The few survivors were evacuated when the ships returned on 15 December 1609. [10]

French settlement and conquest Edit

On 17 March 1649, a French expedition of 203 men from Martinique, led by Jacques Dyel du Parquet who had been the Governor of Martinique on behalf of the Compagnie des Iles de l'Amerique (Company of the Isles of America) since 1637, landed at St. Georges Harbour and constructed a fortified settlement, which they named Fort Annunciation. [11] A treaty was swiftly agreed between du Parquet and the indigenous Chief Kairouane to peacefully partition the island between the two communities. [12] Du Parquet returned to Martinique leaving his cousin Jean Le Comte as Governor of Grenada. [13] Conflict broke out between the French and the indigenous islanders in November 1649 and fighting lasted for five years until 1654, when the last opposition to the French on Grenada was crushed. Rather than surrender, Kairouane and his followers chose to throw themselves off a cliff, a fact celebrated in the poetry of Jan Carew. [14] The island continued for some time after to suffer raids by war canoe parties from St. Vincent, whose inhabitants had aided the local Grenadian islanders in their struggle and continued to oppose the French. [15]

French administration Edit

On 27th Sep 1650, du Parquet bought Grenada, Martinique, and St. Lucia from the Compagnie des Iles de l'Amerique, which was dissolved, for the equivalent of £1160. [13] In 1657 du Parquet sold Grenada to Jean de Faudoas, Comte de Sérillac for the equivalent of £1890. [16] [17] In 1664, King Louis XIV bought out the independent island owners and established the French West India Company. [18] In 1674 the French West India Company was dissolved. Proprietary rule ended in Grenada, which became a French colony as a dependency of Martinique. In 1675, Dutch privateers captured Grenada, but a French man-of-war arrived unexpectedly and recaptured the island. [19]

French colony Edit

In 1700, Grenada had a population of 257 whites, 53 coloureds, and 525 slaves. There were 3 sugar estates, 52 indigo plantations, 64 horses, and 569 head of cattle. [20] Between 1705 and 1710 the French built Fort Royal at St. George's which is now known as Fort George. [21] The collapse of the sugar estates and the introduction of cocoa and coffee in 1714 encouraged the development of smaller land holdings, and the island developed a land-owning yeoman farmer class. [22] In 1738 the first hospital was constructed. [22]

British colony Edit

Grenada was captured by the British during the Seven Years' War on 4 March 1762 by Commodore Swanton without a shot being fired. Grenada was formally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris on 10 February 1763. [23] In 1766 the island was rocked by a severe earthquake. In 1767 a slave uprising was put down. In 1771 and again in 1775 the town of St. George, which was constructed solely of wood, was burnt to the ground – after which it was sensibly rebuilt using stone and brick. [24] France recaptured Grenada between 2–4 July 1779 during the American War of Independence, after Comte d'Estaing stormed Hospital Hill. A British relief force was defeated in the naval Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779. However the island was restored to Britain with the Treaty of Versailles four years later on 3 September 1783. In 1784 the first newspaper, the Grenada Chronicle, began publication. [22]

Fédon's Rebellion Edit

Julien Fédon, a mixed race owner of the Belvedere estate in the St. John Parish, launched a rebellion against British rule on the night of 2 March 1795, with coordinated attacks on the towns of Grenville, La Baye and Gouyave. Fédon was clearly influenced by the ideas emerging from the French Revolution, especially the Convention's abolition of slavery in 1794: he stated that he intended to make Grenada a "Black Republic just like Haiti". Fédon and his troops controlled all of Grenada except the parish of St George's, the seat of government, between March 1795 and June 1796. During those insurgent months 14,000 of Grenada's 28,000 slaves joined the revolutionary forces in order to write their own emancipation and transform themselves into "citizens" some 7,000 of these self-liberated slaves would perish in the name of freedom. [25] The British defeated Fédon's forces in late 1796, but they never caught Fédon himself, and his fate is unknown.

Early 19th century Edit

In 1833, Grenada became part of the British Windward Islands Administration and remained so until 1958. Slavery was abolished in 1834. Nutmeg was introduced in 1843, when a merchant ship called in on its way to England from the East Indies. [26]

Late 19th century Edit

In 1857, the first East Indian immigrants arrived. [22] In 1871 Grenada was connected to the telegraph. In 1872 the first secondary school was built. On 3 December 1877 the pure Crown colony model replaced Grenada's old representative system of government. [27] On 3 December 1882, the largest wooden jetty ever built in Grenada was opened in Gouyave. In 1885, after Barbados left the British Windward Islands, the capital of the colonial confederation was moved from Bridgetown to St. George on Grenada. From 1889–1894 the 340 foot Sendall Tunnel was built for horse carriages.

Early 20th century Edit

The 1901 census showed that the population of the colony was 63,438. In 1917 T.A. Marryshow founded the Representative Government Association (RGA) to agitate for a new and participative constitutional dispensation for the Grenadian people. Partly as a result of Marryshow's lobbying the Wood Commission of 1921–1922 concluded that Grenada was ready for constitutional reform in the form of a 'modified' Crown Colony government. This modification granted Grenadians from 1925 the right to elect 5 of the 15 members of the Legislative Council, on a restricted property franchise enabling the wealthiest 4% of Grenadian adults to vote. [27] In 1928 electricity was installed in St. George's. [22] In 1943 Pearls Airport was opened. [22] On 5 August 1944 the Island Queen schooner disappeared with the loss of all 56 passengers and 11 crew. [22]

Towards independence:1950–1974 Edit

In 1950, Grenada had its constitution amended to increase the number of elected seats on the Legislative Council from 5 to 8, to be elected by full adult franchise at the 1951 election. In 1950 Eric Gairy founded the Grenada United Labour Party, initially as a trade union, which led the 1951 general strike for better working conditions. This sparked great unrest – so many buildings were set ablaze that the disturbances became known as the 'red sky' days – and the British authorities had to call in military reinforcements to help regain control of the situation. On 10 October 1951 Grenada held its first general elections on the basis of universal adult suffrage. [28] United Labour won 6 of the 8 elected seats on the Legislative Council in both the 1951 and 1954 elections. [28] However the Legislative Council had few powers at this time, with government remaining fully in the hands of the colonial authorities.

On 22 September 1955, Hurricane Janet hit Grenada, killing 500 people and destroying 75% of the nutmeg trees. A new political party, the Grenada National Party led by Herbert Blaize, contested the 1957 general election and with the cooperation of elected independent members took control of the Legislative Council from the Grenada United Labour Party. In 1958, the Windward Islands Administration was dissolved, and Grenada joined the Federation of the West Indies.

In 1960, another constitutional evolution established the post of Chief Minister, making the leader of the majority party in the Legislative Council, which at that time was Herbert Blaize, effective head of government. In March 1961 the Grenada United Labour Party won the general election and George E.D. Clyne became chief minister until Eric Gairy was elected in a by-election and took the role in August 1961. Also in 1961 the cruise ship the Bianca C caught fire in the St Georges harbor. All on board were rescued except for the engineer who was fatally burnt. In April 1962 Grenada's Administrator, the Queens representative on the island, James Lloyd suspended the constitution, dissolved the Legislative Council, and removed Eric Gairy as Chief Minister, following allegations concerning the Gairy's financial impropriety. At the 1962 general election the Grenada National Party won a majority and Herbert Blaize became Chief Minister for the second time.

After the Federation of the West Indies collapsed in 1962, the British government tried to form a small federation out of its remaining dependencies in the Eastern Caribbean. Following the failure of this second effort, the British and the islanders developed the concept of "associated statehood". Under the West Indies Act on 3 March 1967 (also known as the Associated Statehood Act) Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs. Herbert Blaize was the first Premier of the Associated State of Grenada from March to August 1967. Eric Gairy served as Premier from August 1967 until February 1974, as the Grenada United Labour Party won majorities in both the 1967 and 1972 general elections.

Independence Edit

On 7 February 1974, Grenada became a fully independent state. Grenada continued to practise a modified Westminster parliamentary system based on the British model with a governor general appointed by and representing the British monarch (head of state) and a prime minister who is both leader of the majority party and the head of government. Eric Gairy was independent Grenada's first prime minister serving from 1974 until his overthrow in 1979. Gairy won re-election in Grenada's first general election as an independent state in 1976 however, the opposition New Jewel Movement refused to recognize the result, claiming the poll was fraudulent, and so began working towards the overthrow of the Gairy regime by revolutionary means. In 1976 St. George's University was established.

The 1979 coup and revolutionary government Edit

On March 13, 1979, the New Jewel Movement launched an armed revolution which removed Gairy, suspended the constitution, and established a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop who declared himself prime minister. His Marxist-Leninist government established close ties with Cuba, Nicaragua, and other communist bloc countries. All political parties except for the New Jewel Movement were banned and no elections were held during the four years of PRG rule.

The 1983 coups Edit

On 14 October 1983, a power struggle within Bishop's ruling party ended with his house arrest. His erstwhile friend and rival, Deputy Prime Minister, Bernard Coard, briefly became Head of Government. This coup precipitated demonstrations in various parts of the island which eventually led to Bishop being freed from arrest by an impassioned crowd of his loyal supporters on Oct. 19, 1983. Bishop was soon recaptured by Grenadian soldiers loyal to the Coard faction and executed along with seven others, including three members of the cabinet.

That same day the Grenadian military under Gen. Hudson Austin took power in a second coup and formed a military government to run the country. A four-day total curfew was declared under which any civilian outside their home was subject to summary execution.

Invasion Edit

A U.S.–Caribbean force invaded Grenada on October 25, 1983, in an action called Operation Urgent Fury, and swiftly defeated the Grenadian forces and their Cuban allies. During the fighting 45 Grenadians, 25 Cubans, and 19 Americans were killed. This action was taken in response to an appeal obtained from the governor general and to a request for assistance from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, without consulting the island's head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, Commonwealth institutions or other usual diplomatic channels (as had been done in Anguilla). Furthermore, United States government military strategists feared that Soviet use of the island would enable the Soviet Union to project tactical power over the entire Caribbean region. U.S. citizens were evacuated, and constitutional government was resumed. The United States gave $48.4 million in economic assistance to Grenada in 1984.

In 1986, members of the PRG and the PRA were criminally tried for civilian killings associated with the Oct. 19 coup. Fourteen, including Coard and his wife, Phyllis, were sentenced to death for actions related to the murder of 11 people including Maurice Bishop. Three other defendants, all PRA soldiers, were convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced to 30 or more years. The convicted prisoners came to be known as the Grenada 17, and the subject of an ongoing international campaign for their release. In 1991, all the murder sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. In October 2003 Amnesty International issued a report which stated that their trial had been "gross violation of international standards governing the fairness of trials." [29] In 2009, the last seven prisoners were released after serving 26 years. [30]

Post invasion politics Edit

When US troops withdrew from Grenada in December 1983, Nicholas Braithwaite was appointed Prime Minister of an interim administration by the Governor General Sir Paul Scoon until elections could be organized.

On 28 October 1984, the new Point Salines International Airport was opened, which enabled Grenada to receive large commercial jets for the first time.

The first democratic elections since 1976 were held in December 1984 and were won by the Grenada National Party under Herbert Blaize who won 14 out of 15 seats in elections and served as Prime Minister until his death in December 1989. The NNP continued in power until 1989 but with a reduced majority. Five NNP parliamentary members, including two cabinet ministers, left the party in 1986–87 and formed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which became the official opposition. In August 1989, Prime Minister Blaize broke with the GNP to form another new party, The National Party (TNP), from the ranks of the NNP. This split in the NNP resulted in the formation of a minority government until constitutionally scheduled elections in March 1990. Prime Minister Blaize died in December 1989 and was succeeded as prime minister by Ben Jones until after the 1990 elections.

The National Democratic Congress emerged from the 1990 elections as the strongest party, winning 7 of the fifteen available seats. Nicholas Brathwaite added 2 TNP members and 1 member of the Grenada United Labor Party (GULP) to create a 10-seat majority coalition. The governor general appointed him to be prime minister for a second time. Braithwaite resigned in Feb 1995 and was succeeded as Prime Minister by George Brizan who served until the Jun 1995 election.

In parliamentary elections on 20 June 1995, the NNP won 8 of the 15 seats and formed a government headed by Keith Mitchell. The NNP maintained and affirmed its hold on power when it took all 15 parliamentary seats in the January 1999 elections. Mitchell went on to win the 2003 elections with a reduced majority of 8 of the 15 seats and served as Prime Minister for a record 13 years until his defeat in 2008.

The 2001 census showed that the population of Grenada was 100,895.

The 2008 election was won by the National Democratic Congress under Tillman Thomas with 11 of the 15 seats. [31]

In 2009, Point Salines International Airport was renamed Maurice Bishop International Airport in tribute to the former Prime Minister.

Truth and reconciliation commission Edit

In 2000–02, 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 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. The commission was formed because of a school project. 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 boys 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. The commission began shortly after the boys concluded their project.

Hurricane Ivan Edit

On September 7, 2004, Grenada was hit directly by category four Hurricane Ivan. The hurricane destroyed about 85% of the structures on the island, including the prison and the prime minister's residence, killed thirty-nine people, and destroyed most of the nutmeg crop, Grenada's economic mainstay. Grenada's economy was set back several years by Hurricane Ivan's impact. Hurricane Emily ravaged the island's north end in June 2005.


Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Staples such as bread, rice and peas, fruits, and vegetables figure prominently in the diet. Cocoa tea made from local cocoa and spices is a popular breakfast drink. Lunch is usually a heavier meal that may include salted cod in a "bake," which is fried bread about the size and shape of a hamburger bun. Fish is plentiful and affordable, as is chicken. Beef is scarce. Pork is reserved for special occasions such as Christmas, while goat and lamb are eaten commonly. Dishes are seasoned heavily with local spices. The national dish, "oil down," is a stew-like concoction made in large quantities with local vegetables such as callalou, dasheen, breadfruit, green fig (banana), and plantain. Pig snout, pig tail, salt mackerel, crab, and "back and neck" of chicken are popular additions. The boullion is a mixture of coconut milk, saffron, water, and seasonings.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Meals are social occasions, and holidays such as Christmas are spent visiting family, friends, and neighbors, with small "meals" eaten at each stop. Beef, spice cakes, and guava cheese are popular fare. Foods such as ham are expensive and often reserved for just the very important holidays, such as Christmas. Boudin, or blood sausage, is also a holiday favorite, along with a sweet ground cornmeal cake, which is cooked in the wrapped leaves of the banana tree and served tied with a string like a little gastronomic gift. A shot of local rum or creamy rum grog is a traditional accompaniment.

Basic Economy. The currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. Approximately 2.68/2.70 Eastern Caribbean dollars are equivalent to one U.S. dollar. Basic foods are readily available, with the possible exception of grains. Other than nutmeg, virtually all other products are imported. Tourism is growing rapidly.

Land Tenure and Property. Because of the presence of unmonitored squatters in rural areas, the government has been hampered in its actions unless a development prospect is likely. Primitive shacks lack electricity and running water. When these communities grow into villages, programs may be implemented to offer the land for sale at a discounted rate.

Commercial Activities. The economy is driven by nutmeg and tourism. Other spices are produced for local consumption and export, including mace, cinnamon, and cloves.

Major Industries. The major industry is the production of textiles, although they are produced in relatively small amounts by industrial standards. Batik, or hand-designed waxed cloth, is a popular industry for tourism, but not widely worn by the local population.

Trade. The majority (32 percent) of goods are exported to other Caribbean island nations. Another 20 percent of exports goes to the United Kingdom. Virtually everything except perishable food is imported, including, but not limited to, electronics, automobiles, appliances, clothing, and non-perishable foods. Imports come mainly (32 percent) from the United States.

Division of Labor. Service industries account for 29 percent of the labor force, followed by agriculture with 17 percent and construction with 17 percent.


Greneda History - History

The French then called it La Grenade, and the British followed suit, changing Grenade to Grenada (pronounced Gre-nay-da).

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.

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.

In 1979, an attempt was made to set up a socialist/communist state in Grenada. Four years later, at the request of the Governor General, the United States, Jamaica, and the Eastern Caribbean States intervened militarily. Launching their now famous "rescue mission," the allied forces restored order, and in December of 1984 a general election re-established democratic government.

The last 20 years has been a peaceful, democratic and fruitful back to normal existence, which has included many new building structures and vastly improved infrastructure. Grenada continues to grow, while still evoking the idyllic lifestyle of the Caribbean of old, which portrayed that rare quality called gracious living.


Grenada’s history hidden under a bushel

“For some strange and unknown reason, we’ve hidden our history under a bushel,” said Dr Nicole Phillip-Dowe, head of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus in Grenada.

“The children are willing to learn because they want to know about their story they are eager to know about their story,” Phillip-Dowe said at an online lecture titled, “Malcolm, Maurice and the Movement for Reparations in Grenada”.

The event, organised by the Grenada National Reparations Commission (GNRC), in collaboration with UWI’s Open Campus, was dedicated to the memory of Alimenta Bishop mother of late Grenada Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop and Louise Norton Langdon-Little Grenadian mother of famed US human rights activist, Malcolm X.

The virtual gathering, the first public lecture of the GNRC, was held 19 May – the anniversary of Malcolm’s birthday. He would have been 96.

Bishop, who headed the 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada, was assassinated on 19 October 1983. He would have been 77 on 29 May.

“There is no doubt in my mind, that the life and legacy of these 2 revolutionary sons of Grenadian soil, have laid the foundation and paved the way for our current movement for reparations in Grenada and in the Caribbean region,” Ambassador Arley Gill said in delivering opening remarks at the lecture.

“Both Brother Maurice and Brother Malcolm understood the global struggle for the liberation of oppressed Black people and sacrificed their lives for freedom and justice,” added Gill, who is chairman of the GNRC.

Dr Ron Daniels, a veteran African-American political activist who was the lecture’s keynote speaker, dismissed the suggestion by “retrograde forces”, who want to “demean reparations” by claiming it’s about just trying to get money.

“Some individuals may be “deserving of a direct payment” but reparations are not about payment, Daniels said. “It is about healing our communities it is about repairing our communities,” he explained. “There is no amount of money that could pay for the enormous depth of wealth of Black people.”

Daniels, convener of the National African American Reparations Commission recalled visiting Grenada on the first anniversary of the Revolution in 1980, attending a rally of thousands including then Jamaica Prime Minister Michael Manley and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Ortega. “That was an inspiring moment,” said Daniels, who now serves as president of the New York-based Institute of the Black World Twenty-First Century.

Grenada, which was “unique”, was a “base for Pan-Africanists all over the world” and the “source of a global movement” during the Revolution, Daniels said. The demise of the Revolution in 1983, he said, “left a hole in the heart and soul and mind of Grenadians and revolutionaries all over the world.”

Daniels said the formation of the GNRC is “special and significant” with Grenadians having “a sacred duty” to participate in the regional and global efforts at seeking reparations for the enslavement of African people. “It’s time for you to take your rightful place” in the reparations’ movement, said Daniels. “You know that Maurice Bishop and Malcolm X are in the ancestral land cheering us on.”

Attendees submitted a series of questions during the lecture that was moderated by St George’s University professor Dr Damian Greaves, with the vote of thanks given by journalist Earl Bousquet, chairman of the Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee.

Audience questions covered not just issues around reparations, but also on the Grenada Revolution, Grenada and Caribbean history, and students’ knowledge of history.

Phillip-Dowe, GNRC Research Coordinator and the commission’s deputy chairperson, encouraged the teaching of Grenada history by school educators. “I’m a teacher by training. I remember, as a young teacher, no one had to tell me that I had to teach Grenada’s history. That came as something natural. And, even if you have a syllabus and you have to follow the syllabus, there are ways and means of putting your country’s history into the existing syllabus that you have,” Phillip-Dowe said. “It’s now about hiding. It’s about sharing with the next generation, so that they understand so that when we talk about things like reparations, they can understand where we are coming from and, the only how they can do that, is if they understand their history.”

Phillip-Dowe admitted that recent Grenada history is “sometimes very difficult to speak about because persons are still alive, and because there are so many wounds from the Grenada Revolution, especially the way that the Grenada Revolution ended.”

However, she argued that it remains the responsibility of adults, including parents and teachers, “to let our young people know the truth – the good, the bad and the ugly. They have to know it. It is their story. It is about their country. So, it is our responsibility to actually let them know.”

Ambassador Gill, a former history teacher who once served as culture minister of Grenada, said it “saddens” him that the country doesn’t have a museum of the history of the Revolution. “There must be conscious political leadership with regards to ensuring that our history is taught to younger generations,” he said.

Gill noted that while there are streets named after former colonisers and slave owners, nothing exists as a tribute to Grenadians – including retired educators – who made “tremendous sacrifices” for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“There is nothing to remind us of those stalwarts who have served this country so well,” he said. “We must make the conscious political decision to teach the history of our people to our students.”

Gill publicly announced, for the first time, other members of the GNRC. They include US-based Grenadian Dr Kellon Bubb, who is Diaspora Coordinator. Other members are Peter Antoine, John Angus Martin, Sharon Pascal, Rochel Charles and Lincoln DePradine.

“The GNRC has embarked on a “very important” mission, said Gill, and “our work for justice will not be in vain.”

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Our History

The earliest written records dating back to 1656, suggest that the Kalinago (Caribs) named Carriacou ‘Kayryouacou’ – meaning ‘land surrounded by reef’s. Discoveries of pottery tools reveal that Arawaks from South America were the first settlers on the island, followed by various waves and ending with the Kalinago.

The French were the first European settlers in Carriacou around the 1740s. In 1763, it was surrendered along with Grenada to the British. Although the majority of Carriacou’s inhabitants are of African descent, European influences can still be found in the way Carriacouians live and also in the names of our towns, cities and people.

On the shores of Carriacou, you will see rows of locally built boats, from small fishing sloops to large trading schooners. The village of Windward was home to a group of Scottish boat builders who settled in Carriacou during the 19th century and passed on their practices, which are still used in boat building today. You can still witness boats being built in the traditional way on the beaches of Carriacou.

Carriacouians today earn their living through rearing their own livestock, farming, growing corn and mainly fishing. Previously, they produced their own cotton, indigo, sugar, limes, coffee and cocoa.


A bit of history .

Belmont Estate dates back to the late 1600s, during the colonial area, when plantations were first established under the system of land allocation under French rule. First owned by the Bernago family of France, it became the property of Mr. John Aitcheson Jr. of Rochsolloch, Airdie, Scotland, following the cession of the island by the French to the British in 1763. Mr. Aitcheson appeared to have taken an active role in affairs of the island as in 1764 he signed a petition to the King protesting instructions to Governor Melville that would deprive the privileges of the representatives of the people.

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He was also a signatory to several other petitions throughout the 1760s. Upon his death Belmont Estate became the property of his father, Mr. John Aitcheson Sr. Mr. Aitcheson was mostly an absentee landlord who in 1770 leased the estate to Mr. Alexander Campbell Esq, owner of the then adjoining estate, Tivoli. The lease was for a period 13 years a price of £2,520 a year.

Mr.Campbell was a colonist of high standing, a former colonial agent for the island and speaker of the Grenada Assembly, the hero of the "Campbell V Hall" case of 1764-1774. He was also a close friend of planter Ninian Home who later became the island's governor. On the night of March 02, 1795, the beginning of Fedon's Rebellion, Campbell and Home were at Home's estate in Paraclete and they were captured the following morning. In Fedon's Declaration of March 4, 1795, only two names - Home and Campbell - were cited among the 40 prisoners captured at that time. Campbell and Home were executed on April 8th, 1795.

In 1779, the French regained control of Grenada and the island was not returned to British rule until 1783. It is not certain what effect this change of ownership of the island had on Belmont but in 1780, Mr. Aitcheson Sr. left Scotland for Grenada , and died at Belmont Estate on May 31st, 1780 at age 75. He was buried at the estate's cemetery, and his tombstone can still be viewed.

In his will, Aitcheson bequeathed Belmont Estate to his eldest daughter Bethia, stipulating that she was to sell it in the event of his death and after paying all his debts, and to share the proceeds among herself and her two sisters, Margaret and Isabella, and his nephew Gilbert Hamilton, a merchant in Glasgow. At the time of Aitcheson's death, the total value of the estate's assets - including the slaves, animals, sugar mill, coppers, stews, ladles, skimmers, sugar pots, stills, furnaces, still heads, tools, implements, chattels, lands and buildings - was £21,183.00 about £1.5 million or US$2.5 million by today's standards.

Following Aitcheson's death Belmont was sold to Robert Alexander Houston of Clerkington East Lothian in Scotland. Following his death Belmont was bequeathed to a family member, Major James Flower Houston and his son Lieutenant Alexander Houston of Her Majesty's Royal Artillery, both of whom were from Montepelier Square, London. The estate remained in the hands of the Houston Family for more than 170 years and in 1944 Norbert and Lyris Nyack of Hermitage, St. Patrick purchased it from the trustees of the Houston Family.

The Nyacks were the first Grenadians of Indian decent to own an estate on the island. Though simple people with only a basic education from the River Sallee Government School, they were both entrepreneuring, diligent and savvy. They made Belmont Estate their home and the base of their new business - operating the plantation. At one time they owned six of the most productive estates on the island - Waltham & Diamond in St. Mark Plains, Le Tage & Belmont in St. Patrick and Mt Horne in St. Andrew - and employed more than a thousand persons. They also purchased the Hankeys business at Grenville and commenced the business of a supermarket, hardware store and lumberyard. Mr. and Mrs. Nyack were also horse lovers. They owned several horses over the years and raced and won at horse races in Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. They established the Telescope Race track, just outside of Grenville, a popular sporting and social destination in Grenada in the fifties and sixties. They were a socially vibrant couple - entertaining and being entertained. They both had strong social and civil consciences. Quiet philanthropists, they gave of their time, talent, love or means. Without fanfare or pronouncement, they shared benevolently with Grenada 's Homes for children, the elderly, hospitals, and churches and schools, and to individuals or causes of need. Mr. Nyack was actively involved in politics, and he was appointed Senator, by Premier Eric M. Gairy, a post he held until his death in 1969. His wife Lyris continued to reside at and manage the affairs of Belmont Estate up until her death on December 19, 2001, at the age of 94. She was laid to rest close to her residence at the estate. Belmont continues to be owned by the Nyack family. Though they had no natural born children, they were blessed to raise several nieces and nephews as their very own children including: Tommy, Jean, and Leah and Norbert's sister Lydia.

Throughout its history, Belmont has played a major role in Grenada's agricultural economy. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, it was one of the 81 plantations established on the island with coffee being its major produce. Sugarcane was introduced as the main crop later in the 1700s the ruins of the water mill remains as testament to that part of its history. Cotton, was also a major crop of the estate, being later replaced with cocoa, nutmegs in the 1800s and bananas coming later. The estate is still a major producer of cocoa and nutmegs.

As with most businesses, Belmont Estate has faced several challenges through the years, and has gone through peaks and valleys. Grenada has seen the disintegration of the plantation system and plantations, and the partitioning of lands, and today very few plantations have survived. The transformation of Belmont Estate to this agri-tourism product is the brainchild of Shadel Nyack Compton, grand niece of Lyris Nyack. The estate first opened it's doors to tourists in April 2002, offering plantation tours, a museum and a charming 20 seat-restaurant. The product was well-received by locals and foreign guests, and within a year, the restaurant had grown to 110 seats. Unfortunately, Grenada was devastated by hurricane Ivan in September 2004, and Belmont Estate sustained severe damage during the hurricane, resulting in total destruction of the restaurant and museum, and significant damage to our cocoa drying facilities. The fields also received significant damage, resulting significant loss of tree crops, particularly nutmegs, and to a lesser extent cocoa and other fruits and vegetables. The tourism component of the business reopened in 2007 after being closed for almost three years.

Through all of our challenges, and in particular the recovery since hurricane Ivan, our team of committed staff has worked ardently to restore, re-build and preserve Belmont Estate, so that you can come and experience all the delights that we offer. We welcome all our guests, to tour and witness a traditional historic plantation at work. The fusion of agriculture, tourism, food and historic and cultural traditions crowned with outstanding warmth and friendliness of our people provide visitors with a unique and outstanding destination so far unparalleled in Grenada.


Grenada revolution history of Maurice Bishop.

Guides » History of Grenada – from Prehistory to the Grenada revolution and beyond. » The Grenada Revolution.

The Grenada Revolution.

Prologue of the Grenada revolution.

Power changes on Grenada in short.
  1. Sir Eric Gairy was Grenada’s first prime minister.
    Gairy governed the islands in a most unsatisfactory manner.
  2. The in protest arisen New Jewel Movement launched an armed takeover of the radio station, police barracks and various other key locations in Grenada.
    This happened while P.M. Gairy was on a trip outside the country.
    The takeover was conducted by the People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA), formed in secret within the NJM.
  3. The People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) was proclaimed on 13 March 1979.
    The New Jewel Movement overthrew the government of Grenada in this revolution on Grenada.
  4. In 1983 internal divisions occurred within the central committee of the PRG.
    A group led by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard attempted to convince Bishop to enter into a power-sharing agreement with Coard.
    Eventually Coard placed Bishop under house arrest and took control of the PRG government.
  5. 1983 Americans invade Grenada.
  6. In 1984 a new government led by the NNP is installed on the islands.

The Trial of coup leaders in August 1986.

Why did the Grenada Revolution happen?

During six years of growing mass mobilizations they created a virtual stalemate with the Gairy regime.
The revolutionary forces launched an armed uprising on March 13, 1979.
Within hours, government troops surrendered and the NJM was in power.

  • Dramatic advances in poor people’s access to education and health care, land reform, and advances in women’s rights soon followed.

The governor was appointed by and representing the British monarch (head of state).
In the case of Grenada the country was ruled by a prime minister who is both leader of the majority party and the head of government.
The British head of state was hardly involved in the countries welfare.

Sir Eric Gairy was Grenada’s first prime minister.
Eric Gairy headed the nation through the latter half of the 1970s.
His rule was opposed by many in Grenada, who viewed him as a corrupt tyrant.

In 1979, Gairy was ousted in a bloodless coup and the Marxist-Leninist People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) came to power.

The New Jewel Movement was headed by the new Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.

New Joint Endeavor for Welfare Education and Liberation

In 1969 Maurice Bishop returned to Grenada after studying law in England.
Soon afterwards he helped form the Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP) and the Movement for the Advance of Community (MACE).

Bishop would later be executed in St. Georges.
In a showdown at Fort George in the capital city of St. George’s, many Bishop supporters were massacred and Bishop was executed by a firing squad.

Grenada under the lead of Maurice Bishop.

Maurice Bishop – Grenada Revolution.

Under Bishop, Grenada aligned itself with Cuba and other Soviet block countries.
This alarmed the U.S. and other Caribbean nations.

  • In 1973 these organizations merged with Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation (JEWEL) to establish the New Jewel Movement (NJM).
  • In 1979 a rumour began circulating that Gairy planned to use his “Mongoose Gang” to assassinate leaders of the New Jewel Movement while he was out of the country.
  • In 1983, the PRG split and the faction opposed to Bishop had him arrested.
On 13th March 1979, Maurice Bishop and the NJM took over the nation’s radio station.

With the support of the people the New Jewel Movement was able to take control of the rest of the country.

Maurice was strongly influenced by the ideas of Marxists such as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Daniel Ortega.
Bishop began establishing Workers Councils in Grenada.

Maurice Bishop Hunter College speech.

In his Hunter College speech, Bishop mockingly paraphrased a State Department report, bringing down the house:

Grenada is a particular threat as an English-speaking, Black revolution that could have a dangerous influence on Blacks in the U.S.

Which indeed it did, and keeps on inspiring progressives worldwide.

Maurice Bishop speeches at Hunters College Grenada.

The video below is part of a documentary on 3 political figures who have transformed the island of Grenada.

Russian aid to Grenada – Point Salines Airport construction.

Construction of Grenada airport.

Bishop received aid from the Soviet Union and Cuba and with this money constructed a aircraft runway to improve tourism.
He attempted to develop a good relationship with the United States and allowed private enterprise to continue on the island.

Bernard Coard, the Minister of Finance, disagreed with this policy.
He also disliked Bishop’s ideas on grassroots democracy.

The inability of Grenada’s new leaders to resolve differences over governance led to the turmoil that opened the gates for the U.S. invasion.

Bernard Coard, the finance and deputy prime minister, began waging factional warfare against Bishop and his allies.
This culminated in the October 13 military coup.

Bernard Coard commited the military coup of Grenada on October 13.
Subsequently Coard overthrows the Bishop Government on 19 october.

US helicopters at Point Salines.

The initial assault on 25th October, 1983, consisted of some 1,200 troops, and they were met by stiff resistance from the Grenadian army.

Heavy fighting continued for several days, but as the invasion force grew to more than 7,000.
The defenders either surrendered or fled into the mountains.

Bishop and his closest confidants-including Rojas-were put under house arrest.
Thus provoking massive popular protests led by high school students.
Rojas was one of several officials who gained freedom amidst the chaos.

Rojas remembered the events as follows.

Six days later, a wave of students swept past the soldiers, freed Maurice and brought him to Fort Rupert, the military headquarters in the capital city of St. George’s,
But the anti-revolutionary government forces violently stormed the fort.

Maurice told me and a squadron of men to flee and inform the world of the repression.
Moving quickly, we commandeered a bank of phones in the central telecommunications building nearby and began calling Grenada’s embassies abroad and international news agencies.
From this location, we could also see the tragic drama unfolding.

Eastern Caribbean Defence Force.

Pro-coup soldiers killed 13 of Bishop’s defenders, and minutes later murdered Bishop himself and several other cabinet ministers and union leaders.

Rojas went underground, sought and was denied political asylum in Canada.
He was repeatedly refused entry into the U.S..

  • As a result Rojas lectured and worked in Europe, Africa, and Latin America as a journalist and editor for several years before finally being admitted to the U.S. in 1990.

Cuban involvement.

The Grenadian Marxist-Leninist NJP Government had established close ties with Cuba, the Soviet Union, and other communist-bloc countries.

The American involvement on Grenada.

Under the pretext of protecting U.S. medical students on the island, President Reagan authorized the invasion.

He felt justified in moving against a government that was using Cubans to build an airport and was a threat to U.S. hegemony in the Caribbean.

At this turn of events, U.S. President Ronald Reagan dispatched a joint U.S.-Caribbean force to Grenada.

The Grenada intervention – operation Urgent Fury.

The US invasion.

Americans arresting Grenadians.

In October 1983 the power struggle within the government had resulted in the arrest and subsequent murder of Bishop and several members of his cabinet by elements of the people’s revolutionary army.

Following a breakdown in civil order, a U.S.-Caribbean force landed on Grenada on October 25.
This was in response to an appeal from the governor general and to a request for assistance from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
U.S. citizens were evacuated, and order was restored.

U.S. marines killed dozens of Grenadian soldiers and civilians and 18 Cuban construction workers.
A client regime was quickly installed.
They took control of the island, bringing an end to Grenada’s revolutionary government.

One of the reasons given for the invasion was to rescue U.S. medical students who were studying in Grenada, though the leaders of the coup had reportedly offered them safe passage off the island.

Collage of Grenada invasion airborne troups.

Withdrawal of the U.S. troops and new elections.

After U.S. troops withdrew, elections in 1984 installed the first of several postrevolutionary governments.
Aid and technical assistance programs sponsored by the U.S. have strengthened the country’s economy.

The Trial of coup leaders in August 1986.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada is convinced that for Grenada to move forward it has to purge itself of the ghosts of the past – and among those is the freeing of the 17.

Epilogue – Grenada after the revolution.

The New National Party of Grenada – NNP.

An advisory council, named by the governor general, administered the country until general elections were held in December 1984.
The New National Party (NNP), led by Herbert Blaize, won 14 out of 15 seats in free and fair elections and formed a democratic government.

Grenada’s constitution had been suspended in 1979 by the PRG, but it was restored after the 1984 elections.

The NNP continued in power until 1989 but with a reduced majority.
Five NNP parliamentary members-including two cabinet ministers-left the party in 1986-87 and formed the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which became the official opposition.

Blaize breaks with the NNP.

In August 1989, Prime Minister Blaize broke with the NNP to form another new party-The National Party (TNP)-from the ranks of the NNP.
This split in the NNP resulted in the formation of a minority government until constitutionally scheduled elections in March 1990.
Prime Minister Blaize died in December 1989 and was succeeded as prime minister by Ben Jones until after the elections.

The NDC rises.

P.M. Keith Mitchell of Grenada.

The NDC emerged from the 1990 elections as the strongest party, winning seven of the 15 available seats.
Nicholas Brathwaite added two TNP members and one member of the Grenada United Labor Party (GULP) to create a 10-seat majority coalition.
The governor general appointed him to be prime minister.

In parliamentary elections on June 20, 1995, the NNP won eight seats and formed a government headed by Dr. Keith Mitchell.
source: U.S. State Department Background Notes 1998.

Comments about the Grenada revolution.
Documentation on film – producers of coverage during the Grenada revolution.
  • Valerie van Isler, then WBAI’s international affairs director and later general manager, visited as well and coordinated frequent and thorough coverage of developments there.
  • Bernard White, then a producer and now program director.
  • Elombe Brath, then and now host of WBAI’s Afrikaleidoscope, also provided coverage, as did other reporters throughout Pacifica.
  • Samori Marksman, the late, brilliant intellectual and WBAI producer who later became program director, traveled to the island twice.
    He brought back the voices of the revolution to New York, both on the air and in community forums.

Maurice Bishop speech at Hunters College.

Whenever NJM leaders came to New York, Marksman set up public events and radio interviews for them.
He was a key organizer of the historic, standing-room-only forum at Hunter College in June 1983.

Repeatedly broadcast on WBAI-at which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop made a memorable speech excoriating U.S. imperialist policies in the Caribbean.

Don Rojas, who often hosted programs on government-owned Radio Free Grenada, concludes:

The political importance of radio was underscored at several critical moments during the Grenada events of 1979-83, from the seizing of the country’s radio station by NJM rebels on the morning of the insurrection, to the active use of radio during the revolution to educate and mobilize the masses, to the U.S. bombing of the station in the invasion’s first hours.
And back in New York, WBAI was always there to tell the story to the world.

Don Rojas, WBAI’s current general manager, was Bishop’s press secretary and the main liaison with community journalists.

He was both a participant in and eyewitness to the tumultuous events of October 1983, which almost cost him his life.

Historian Gordon Lewis reminded us after the invasion as follows.

No examination of the Grenada Revolution should end on a pessimistic note.
There is much to be proud of.



Comments:

  1. Silsby

    Fuck a sober student ... Othello missed! A loud rustle of money is heard - this goof went to spawn! FATE, AS A WOMAN, SHOULD BE SURPRISED WITH A GOOD END AND SUDDEN TURN. No matter how much you lie to the state, you still can't get yours back.

  2. Axton

    He didn't mean it

  3. Averell

    What an amazing topic



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