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Christopher Columbus first sailed past the island in 1498 when the Carib indians lived on the land. The island's name came from Spanish sailors, who, several decades later, were mesmerized by the green hills and beautiful landscapes, reminiscent of Granada in Andalucia, Spain. From there, the French and British both adapted their own versions of the name - Grenade for the French and Grenada for the British.

During colonization, the Carib indians resisted attempts from both the Spanish and French until a French mission from Martinique purchased mass land on the island. Soon thereafter, hostilities between the Caribs and French ensued until finally the Caribs lost their great battle.

From thereon, the French and British fought for control of the island, but through the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, the island became permanently in the hands of British colonizers. The British began to establish slave plantations on the island until Julian Fedon, a blank planter schooled in the French Revolution challenged British rule. Fedon went on to lead a successful slave revolution and took control of the island. The British shortly thereafter re-took control of the island and until slavery was abolished in 1834, tensions remained high between the two groups.

In 1967, Grenada became a British Commonwealth state before gaining independence in 1974. Ironically, although the country was under British rule for most of its modern history, the country is most associated with French heritage visible in city names, buildings and its religious proclivities.



Updated: 5 June 2008

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