Grenada 1974 – 2012: 38 Years Of Independence

 

The islands are buzzing with excitement as the countdown to Grenada’s 38th Independence Anniversary Celebration continues. A sea of red, green and gold flood the streets of the city as Grenadians portray their national colours with their best independence outfits. The rich aroma from a pot of ‘oil down’ will awaken your senses from almost every street corner while calypso and Soca music can be heard echoing from every bar! Come experience a passion like no other as Grenadian nationals display their love for their country on Tuesday 7th February, 2012. Feel the fervour of our farmers, experience the elation of our folk dancers and make memories worth a lifetime with our military parade! Celebrating 38 years of Independence with Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique!.www.grenadagrenadines.com.

On Tuesday, February 7th, 2012, the Island of Grenada and its sister isles of Carriacou & Petite Martinique will celebrate its 38th year of independence under the theme;“Breaking all barriers, striving for greater achievements under one flag”  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150650101874913.450559.697434912&type=3&l=4e60addc28

The State of Grenada consists of three islands- Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique which form the southern end of the Windward Islands.  Grenada lies between Trinidad and Tobago to the south and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the north in the Eastern Caribbean.  It is the southern-most of the Windward Islands.  It is 100 miles north of Venezuela, 158 miles south west of Barbados. Grenada is 12 miles (18km) wide and 21 miles (34km) long, and covers a land area of 120 sq. miles (440 sq. km), Carriacou is 13 sq. miles (34 sq. km) and Petite Martinique is 486 acres (194 hectares).

Grenada’s volcanic origin has produced topography of great beauty and environmental variety, ranging from mountainous rainforest to dry lowlands and coastal mangroves.  The highest point is Mt. St. Catherine at 2,757 ft. and ancient volcanic craters can be found in the central massif.

Average temperatures range from 75ºF to 85ºF (24ºC to 30ºC), tempered by the steady and cooling trade winds. The lowest temperatures occur between November and February. Due to Grenada’s remarkable landscape, the island also experiences climate changes according to altitude. The driest season is between January and May while the rainy season is from June to December.

The total population is approximately 108,132 including the 6,521 inhabitants of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The nation’s citizens are primarily of African, East-Indian and European descent, with the largest proportion of the population, approximately 75%, of African descent. Grenada is an English-speaking nation.

Formerly colonized for many years, first by the French and then by the British, the islands of Grenada still retain traces of these European influences in their culture, architecture and place names. The Capital, St. George’s, is located on the south west coast of Grenada.  It is the seat of government and the main commercial centre.

Before the 14th century, the Caribs who displaced the earlier population of Arawaks, settled Grenada. Christopher Columbus during his third voyage to the new world in 1498 sited the island and named it Concepción.  The origin of the name “Grenada” is ambiguous but it is likely that Spanish sailors renamed the island for the city of Granada in Spain. The French then adapted Granada to Grenade, and the British followed suit, changing Grenade to Grenada.

European settlement was slow to follow due to the fierce resistance of the warlike Caribs. The island remained un-colonized for more than 150 years although Britain and France fought for control.  The French gained control of the island in 1672 and held on to it until the British successfully invaded the island in 1762 during the Seven Years’ War and acquired Grenada by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.  Although the French regained control in 1779, the island was restored to Britain in 1783 by the Treaty of Versailles.

During the 18th century the British established sugar plantations and slave labour was brought in from Africa to work on the estates.  Natural disasters in the late 18th century destroyed the sugar fields and paved the way for the introduction of other crops.  Cacao, cotton, nutmeg and other valuable spices were introduced and Grenada assumed a new importance to European traders.

Grenada gained independence from Britain in 1974 as an independent nation within the British Commonwealth. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State and is represented locally by the Governor General, who is appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister. Grenada has a Westminister Style Parliamentary form of Government.  The Parliament which exercises legislative power consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Executive power lies with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.  General Elections are held every five (5) years.

Grenada is known as the island of spice. Consequently, it is said that the most flavorful Caribbean dishes are Grenadian dishes; the country that produces food with literally a thousand different flavors. Spices like cinnamon cloves, nutmeg, mace (outer coating of the nutmeg) Lemongrass and Tankobean.

Some of the most delicious herbal teas in the Caribbean are made from the spice. There are those who swear or believe that these “possess the secret to youthfulness”! The leaves from the cinnamon tree are very versatile it is used to give the perfect flavor or aroma to all types of pastries.

The 38th year of Independence will be celebrated by Grenadians around the world. Grenadians in Toronto will host a Grand Ball commemorating this milestone under the theme, “Breaking all barriers, striving for greater achievements under one flag”. Grenada’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Tillman Thomas will be the guest of honour.

The official Grenada Independence Dinner & Dance, hosted by the Grenada Association of Toronto takes place on Sat, Feb 18, 2012 at the luxurious Liberty Grand, located at 25 British Columbia Road, Exhibition Place. 

Suggested Reading
Grenada at 39
Where is the Island of Grenada?
Grenada Coat of Arms
Tallest Waterfall in Grenada
Grenadian Song and Dance
Grenada’s National Dish – Oildown
Grenada Golden Boy – Kirani James
Mighty Sparrow
Spice Mas Carnival
Grenadian Singing Sensation – Sonika McKie
Grenada a must see – National Geographic

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