Grenada: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This South Atlantic Nation


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Grenada

Introduction Carib Indians inhabited Grenada when COLUMBUS discovered the island in 1498, but it remained uncolonized for more than a century. The French settled Grenada in the 17th century, established sugar estates, and imported large numbers of African slaves. Britain took the island in 1762 and vigorously expanded sugar production. In the 19th century, cacao eventually surpassed sugar as the main export crop; in the 20th century, nutmeg became the leading export. In 1967, Britain gave Grenada autonomy over its internal affairs. Full independence was attained in 1974, making Grenada one of the smallest independent countries in the Western Hemisphere. Grenada was seized by a Marxist military council on 19 October 1983. Six days later the island was invaded by US forces and those of six other Caribbean nations, which quickly captured the ringleaders and their hundreds of Cuban advisers. Free elections were reinstituted the following year and have continued since that time. Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada in September of 2004 causing severe damage.
History The recorded history of Grenada begins in 1498, when Christopher Columbus first sighted the island and gave it the name Conception Island, and later called it Granada. At the time the Island Caribs (Kalinago) lived there and called it Camerhogue. The Spaniards did not permanently settle in Camerhogue. 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 Camerhogue 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.

History 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 defense 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. In 1979, the New Jewel Movement under Maurice Bishop launched a successful armed revolution against the government. Maurice Bishop suspended the constitution and declared a People’s Revolutionary Government. All parties except the NJM were banned and elections were never held to legitimize the change.

A dispute later developed between Bishop and certain high-ranking members of the NJM. Party members including Bernard Coard demanded that Bishop either step down or enter into a power sharing arrangement. The dispute eventually led to Bishop being deposed in 1983 and placed under house arrest. These actions led to street demonstrations in various parts of the island. Bishop 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.

Six days after the execution of Bishop, the island was invaded by forces from the United States. The US stated this was done at the behest of Dame Eugenia Charles, of Dominica. Five other Caribbean nations participated with Dominica and the USA in the campaign, called Operation Urgent Fury. While the Governor-General, Sir Paul Scoon, later stated that he had requested the invasion, the governments of the United Kingdom and Trinidad and Tobago expressed anger at not having been consulted.

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. The commission was formed, bizarrely, 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.

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 4 hurricane and caused 90 percent of the homes to be damaged or destroyed. The following year, 2005, Hurricane Emily (July 14) a Category 2 hurricane struck the northern part of the island, causing an estimated USD $110 million (EC$ 297 million) worth of damage. This was much less damage than Ivan had caused.[citations needed]

Grenada has recovered with remarkable speed, due to both domestic labor 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.[citations needed]

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.

Geography Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 12 07 N, 61 40 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 344 sq km
land: 344 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 121 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; tempered by northeast trade winds
Terrain: volcanic in origin with central mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Saint Catherine 840 m
Natural resources: timber, tropical fruit, deepwater harbors
Land use: arable land: 5.88%
permanent crops: 29.41%
other: 64.71% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: NA
Natural hazards: lies on edge of hurricane belt; hurricane season lasts from June to November
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada
Politics 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 Sir Daniel Williams. 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 faction 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 48% of the votes and eight seats in the 2003 election, the New National Party remains the largest party in Grenada. The largest opposition party is the National Democratic Congress with 45.6% of the votes and seven seats.

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

People Population: 89,971 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 32.8% (male 14,876/female 14,641)
15-64 years: 64.1% (male 30,522/female 27,137)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 1,353/female 1,442) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 22.1 years
male: 22.6 years
female: 21.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.336% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 21.87 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 6.61 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -11.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.016 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.125 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.938 male(s)/female
total population: 1.082 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.92 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.57 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 65.21 years
male: 63.38 years
female: 67.05 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Grenadian(s)
adjective: Grenadian
Ethnic groups: black 82%, mixed black and European 13%, European and East Indian 5%, and trace of Arawak/Carib Amerindian
Religions: Roman Catholic 53%, Anglican 13.8%, other Protestant 33.2%
Languages: English (official), French patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%

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