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Written by Staff Writer

Country Overview:
Carib Indians inhabited Grenada when COLUMBUS arrived to the island in 1498, but it remained uncolonized for more than a century. The French settled Grenada in the 17th century, established sugar estates, and imported large numbers of African slaves. Britain took the island in 1762 and vigorously expanded sugar production. In the 19th century, cacao eventually surpassed sugar as the main export crop; in the 20th century, nutmeg became the leading export. In 1967, Britain gave Grenada autonomy over its internal affairs. Full independence was attained in 1974, making Grenada one of the smallest independent countries in the Western Hemisphere. Grenada was seized by a Marxist military council on 19 October 1983. Six days later the island was invaded by US forces and those of six other Caribbean nations, which quickly captured the ringleaders and their hundreds of Cuban advisers. Free elections were reinstituted the following year and have continued since that time. Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada in September of 2004 causing severe damage.

Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates:
12 07 N, 61 40 W

Total: 344 sq km, land: 344 sq km, water: 0 sq km

Area – Comparative:
Twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

121 km

Tropical; tempered by northeast trade winds

Volcanic in origin with central mountains

Elevation extremes:
Owes point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

Highest Point:
Highest point: Mount Saint Catherine 840 m

Natural Resources:
Timber, tropical fruit, deepwater harbors

90,343 (July 2008 est.)



Ethnic groups:
Black 82%, mixed black and European 13%, European and East Indian 5%, and trace of Arawak/Carib Amerindian

Roman Catholic 53%, Anglican 13.8%, other Protestant 33.2%

English (official), French patois

Country Name:

Government Type:
Parliamentary democracy

Capital Name:
Saint George’s

7 February 1974 (from UK)

National Holiday:
Independence Day, 7 February (1974)

19 December 1973

Legal System:
Based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Executive Branch:
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Daniel WILLIAMS (since 9 August 1996)

Head of Government:
Rime Minister Tillman THOMAS (since 9 July 2008)

Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

The monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general

About the author

Staff Writer