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This article was written on 20 Jul 2010, and is filled under To: Grenada.

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Discover Grenada

Welcome to Grenada, an island celebrated for its unparalleled beauty, its rich culture, and its welcoming inhabitants. The island has a host of intriguing cultural events and its beaches are some of the best in the Caribbean. Oh, and don’t forget to buy some of Grenada’s excellent spices.


HISTORY AND CULTURE

The island’s first occupants were the peaceful Arawak Indians, but by the time the first Europeans arrived they had already been wiped out by the Carib Indians. Christopher Columbus spotted Grenada in 1498 and dubbed it Concepcion, but never actually landed here. Spanish sailors later changed the name of the island to Granada, which refers to the city in the verdant hills of Andalusia. The French changed the spelling to Grenade and successfully colonized the island in 1650, but were met with fierce resistance by the Caribs. The natives clashed with the French in a series of desperate battles, but were eventually defeated in 1651. The remaining Caribs avoided capture by plunging to their deaths off a cliff, known today as the “Leaper’s Hill”, in the northern edge of Grenada.

Though the Indians had been eradicated, the French’s troubles were not over, and in 1762, the British conquered the island, ending a century of French rule. France formally gave up its claim on the island in 1783, and Grenada became home to slave-based sugar plantations. Tensions between landowners and their slaves escalated quickly, and in 1795, Grenada’s African slaves staged a major rebellion against their British masters. Although the revolt was eventually subdued, growing slave unrest and pressure from Britain’s abolitionists led to the ban of slavery in 1834.

In 1974, after more than two centuries of British rule, Grenada was granted full independence, and Sir Eric Gairy became prime minister. In 1979, the New Jewel Movement, a Marxist-Leninist political party led by Maurice Bishop organized a putsch to overthrow Gairy and set up a socialist state in Grenada. Bishop became the new prime minister, but internal disputes led his demise in 1983. Bishop was arrested and killed at Ft. George with seven of his followers by members of the New Jewel Movement who had turned on him.

After Bishop’s murder, Hudson Austin dissolved the previous administration and established a military regime, before decreeing four days of complete curfew. The Governor General of Grenada and the Eastern Caribbean States asked the U.S. to step in and on October 25th 1983, American troops invaded the island and removed the military government from power. A new administration was appointed by the governor and in December 1984, Grenadians voted for their next leader. Herbert Blaize, from the New National Party, emerged as the victor and became the new prime minister.

Since the return of democracy, the only events that have shaken Grenada’s stability are the hurricanes, such as the devastating Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The island has become an increasingly popular spot for tourists looking for lush tropical settings. Visitors also like sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique, which are quieter than bustling Grenada. Most hotels and restaurants are family-run and offer top-notch services. Ft. George and Ft. Frederick, built during the 18th century by the French to defend the capital’s harbor, attract a large number of visitors each year. Grenada’s capital St. George’s, its harbor, and the faraway mountains and countryside are visible from the locations of these two historic forts.

The central part of this small island is a mountainous landscape covered by luxuriant jungles and is home to a rich flora and fauna. Grenada is famous for its spices, including mace, cinnamon, tonka beans, nutmeg, and cocoa. Most Grenadians are of African descent, but there is also a sizable population of East Indian, French and British ancestry. English is the official language, but locals communicate among themselves in Grenadian Creole.

SIGHTS

Grenada

Leapers Hill (or Carib’s Leap), on the north of Grenada, is the 100-foot ravine where the defeated Caribs leaped to their deaths in 1651 to escape capture by the French. At the tourist center, you’ll find a memorial dedicated to this tragic episode.

Concord Falls consists of a series of three dramatic waterfalls in a forest sanctuary. The 65-foot high Fontainebleau Falls, with large boulders forming a fresh water basin at its foot, is truly breathtaking.

Set in a lush tropical environment, Annandale Falls streams down 50 foot into a basin encircled by lianas and elephant ears. A perfect setting for swimming and picnicking.

Grand Étang National Park is a natural preserve in Grenada’s craggy interior. Home to a great variety of birds, the park features an extensive network of natural trails, observation posts, and a 36-acre crater lake encircled by luxuriant mountain forests. You can learn more about the local fauna and flora at the Grand Étang Forest Center.

At the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Cooperative, you can learn how Grenada’s legendary nutmeg is processed. Before Hurricane Ivan swept onto the island, this 3-floor facility in the heart of the fishing town of Gouyave was producing 3 million pounds of nutmeg annually. Taking a tour to Grenville Cooperative Nutmeg Association is also strongly suggested.

The Levera National Park was founded in 1994 and covers 445 acres. Turtles come to the park’s white-sand beaches from May to September to lay their eggs, and away from the shore, a rich marine wildlife is thriving among the coral reefs and sea grass beds. The vast mangrove swamp shelters an impressive variety of birds, such as herons, black-necked stilts, and rare parrots.

In the capital St. George’s, the Grenada National Museum houses items on Grenada’s history, including a bathtub used by Empress Joséphine when she was a teenager. The museum is housed in a former French military barracks and prison.

Constructed in the early 1700s by the French to defend St. George’s Harbour from attackers, Fort George, formerly known as Fort Royal, offers a superb vista of the city and its harbor. Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was shot to death within these walls.

You can enjoy a magnificent view of the island from the site of Fort Frederick, though the fort was damaged during the U.S. military intervention in 1983. Construction was initiated by the French in 1779, but was finalised by the English in 1791.

Carriacou

This craggy, relatively dry island is notorious for its boat building expertise. Notable sights in Carriacou include scenic Belair, historical Carriacou Museum, picture-perfect Tyrrel Bay, and the boat-building village of Windward.

Petite Martinique

Petite Martinique is not quite as busy as its larger sister Grenada, but it doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do here. You can relax at the beach, observe the boat builders making a living, or watch the many events held on this diminutive islands, including sailboat races, wedding ceremonies and cultural festivals.

BEACHES

Grenada is blessed with 80 miles of seashore and 45 stretches of sugary-white sand. In the southwest coast, Grand Anse Beach, with its gentle waters and beautiful white sand, is definitely the island’s best beach. Another good beach is the quiet La Sagesse Beach, in the southeast shore. On the northern coast, Bathway Beach is the perfect spot for swimmers. You’ll find good beaches in Carriacou too, including Paradise Beach and Sandy Island.

ACTIVITIES

Many tourists come to Grenada for its excellent beaches, especially Grand Anse beach. Sister island Carriacou’s beaches are good too.

You’ll find great shopping opportunities and a few historical sights at St. George’s, Grenada’s capital. Check out the beautiful harbor.

Taking a tour to a spice plantation and a nutmeg production facility is an experience not to be missed. You can also hike up the verdant mountains in the center of the island.

Water sports include deep-sea fishing, sailing, diving, and snorkelling.

Take some time to explore the island’s beautiful landscape.

For more information about Grenada and other Caribbean islands, visit Cheap All Inclusive Caribbean Vacation now.

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