Grenada and six smaller islands close to the southern end of the Grenadines Islands chain make up the state of Grenada. The main island is located close to Trinidad and Tobago. Its capital is St. George’s. The island is also affectionately known as the “Island of Spice” thanks to its production of nutmeg and mace crops. Consequently, the island is one of the world’s largest exporters of spices.
Long before the arrival of the Europeans, the indigenous Arawaks peacefully inhabited Grenada, followed by the Island Caribs. Explorer Christopher Columbus discovered Grenada in 1498 during one of his voyages to the Americas. Although he claimed it as the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest the Spanish ever actually settled on the island or even landed.
Henceforth, there were several unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to colonise the island. Thanks to the resistance of the indigenous Island Caribs, French settlement and colonisation only began in 1650. On 10 February 1763, the British claimed Grenada under the Treaty of Paris.
From 1958 to 1962, Grenada became part of the West Indies – a short-lived federation of British West Indian colonies. Afterwards, on 3 March 1967, Grenada was granted full British autonomy over its internal affairs as an Associated State. Political troubles continued to dog the island for many years, including a short period of communist rule.
On 7 September 2004, after being hurricane-free for 49 years, the island suffered a direct hit by Hurricane Ivan. Altogether, the hurricane damaged or destroyed 90% of the island’s homes. On 14 July 2005, Hurricane Emily struck the northern part of the island causing a further $110 million worth of damage.