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GrenadaAlthough there is some doubt, Grenada likely obtained its name from Spanish sailors who named the island after the city of Granada, Spain.


The island of Grenada is somewhat mountainous, but with regular rains these mountains provide steady streams and hence a great water supply, making life on the island quite suitable. The soil is also fairly fertile and the seas provide other food sources, meaning the island is an ideal home for people and it has been inhabited for a long time. This environment makes the coasts of the island fairly livable, but the highlands make farming more difficult and throughout history the people of this Caribbean island have stayed near the coasts.

Due to the mountains and forests the island's interior is fairly difficult to access. The Caribs dominated the Caribbean Sea for centuries and even lent their name to the surrounding sea, but on most islands the invading Europeans quickly destroyed the people and their culture. However, on the island of Grenada these people and their historic culture that tied them to the lands survived even after the Europeans arrived.

Eventually, the French diseases and wars defeated the Carib people, almost wholly replacing the indigenous culture with that of the French. Most of the surviving Caribs became enslaved and with this lost much of their historic culture, although their language survives to a degree.

With French colonization of the island, the European power sought economic development, which required cheap labor. Since most of the Caribs had died from diseases and wars, the French turned to slavery from Africa to fill this labor shortage. This again altered the culture, but it also returned the island to agriculture, which was at the island's core for centuries.

Farming under French rule was focused on sugarcane and indigo, while today it is focused on coffee and cocoa. Although these agricultural goods have changed over time, the lifestyle of working the lands has remained fairly stable. What drastically changed over time came in the form of the culture. The Caribs, French, and Africans all have very different cultures and each has left its mark on the island to some degree, although today few Carib influences can be found without seeking them out.

Later, another vast cultural change took place when the British took control over the islands; many of the more visible aspects of the culture and way of life result from this time. The most lasting English influences come in the form of the most commonly spoken language, English, and the lifestyle to a great degree. The French left traces of their language behind in the French patois language and Catholicism, which is the dominate religion on the island. However, it's the African population that made the greatest impact on the present culture through their foods, clothing, music, and lifestyle. This influence is becoming even more pronounced with each passing decade as the government is dominated by the majority, which is the ethnic Africans. Despite these changes over time in the culture, the way of life in the country remains tied to the land as agriculture is the dominant form of work and the people tend to live in the coastal regions.

Information for Grenada was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks