Grenada is an island nation and sovereign state consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago and northeast of Venezuela. Its size is 344 km² with an estimated population of 110,000. Its capital is St. George's. he recorded history of Grenada begins in 1498. At the time the indigenous Island Caribs (Kalinago) who lived there called it Camahogne. The Spaniards did not permanently settle on Camahogne.
Later the English failed their first settlement attempts, but the French fought and conquered Grenada from the Caribs circa 1650. The French took control of Camahogne 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 Saint 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.
Independence was granted in 1974. 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, accusing it of fraudulence. In 1979, the New Jewel Movement under Maurice Bishop launched a paramilitary attack on the government resulting in its overthrow. The constitution was suspended and Bishop's government ruled subsequently by decree. Cuban presence was welcomed and heavily invested in civic assistance (doctors, teachers, and technicians in the fields of health, literacy, agriculture, and agroindustries) during the ensuing era. Agrarian reforms started by the Gairy government were continued and greatly expanded under the revolutionary government of Maurice Bishop.
Some years later a dispute developed between Bishop and certain high-ranking members of the NJM. Though Bishop was cooperating with Cuba and USSR on various trade and foreign policy issues, he sought to maintain a "non-aligned" status. Bishop had been taking his time making Grenada wholly socialist, encouraging private-sector development in an attempt to make the island a popular tourist destination. Hard Marxist party members, including communist Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, deemed Bishop insufficiently revolutionary and demanded that he either step down or enter into a power sharing arrangement. In October 19, 1983, Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis, backed by the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop, who was placed under house arrest. These actions led to street demonstrations in various parts of the island. Bishop had massive support among the population and was eventually freed by a large demonstration in the capital. When they attempted to resume power Bishop was captured and executed by soldiers along with seven others, including cabinet ministers of the government. The Coard regime then put the island under martial law.
The overthrow of a moderate government by one which was strongly communist worried U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Of particular concern was the presence of Cuban construction workers and military personnel building a 10,000-foot airstrip on Grenada. Though Bishop had claimed the purpose of the airstrip was to allow commercial jets to land, Reagan believed its purpose was to allow military transport planes loaded with arms from Cuba to be transferred to Central American insurgents. Also weighing on Reagan was the security of the 800 American medical students enrolled at St. George's School of Medicine in the former British commonwealth. On October 25, Grenada was invaded by combined forces from the United States, the Regional Security System (RSS) and Jamaica, in an operation codenamed Operation Urgent Fury. It was highly criticized by the governments of the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada. Queen Elizabeth II also condemned the attack, claiming it to be an attack on her commonwealth realms. After the invasion of the island nation, the pre-revolutionary Grenadan constitution was resumed. 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.
Granada offers a underrated beaches and excellent scuba diving. St George’s, the largest town, has one of the most picturesque waterfronts in all of the Caribbean. Stone buildings, forts from a forgotten time and houses of all colors meld into a hilly buffet of urban aesthetics. Friendly, welcoming locals go about their lives and are happy to include you in the process. Carriacou, Grenada’s little sister is a step back in time and has all the aesthetics of the big island – beautiful beaches, quiet streets and friendly locals. In Windward you can watch the local boat-builders knock together a seaworthy vessel before your eyes. Visit the Petit Martinique and see how many laps you can do walking around this microparadise. Make the effort to get out to the Morne Rouge Bay beach, where the sand is soft and the water is super blue – it’s one of Grenada’s best.
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