History of Grenada
The Arawaks were probably the first settlers in what is today known as
Grenada, however later, perhaps as early as the 1100s the Caribs arrived
and either drove the Arawaks off the island or intermarried them.
The island was first found by Europeans in 1498 when Christopher
Columbus saw the island. Despite this early "discovery" of the island,
it remained almost untouched by the European powers through the 1500s. In 1609 the
British attempted to settle the island, but the local
Carib people fought this act and destroyed the settlement, leaving it abandoned
in the same year.
Next came the French in 1649 when they created a settlement
in what is today St. George. The French had more luck than the
British as they immediately established relations with the local Carib people
and partitioned the island. This peace was short lived and soon the two sides were
fighting, with the French proving a decisive victory in 1654.
In 1664 French King Louis XIV took the island under the jurisdiction
of the French West India Company. This only lasted until 1674 though, when the island
became an official French colony. Almost immediately from this time slaves were
brought to the island to work the land and by 1700 the slave population was about
twice that of the free population, most of whom were French. These slaves were brought
in to work on sugarcane and indigo plantations. Over time this slowly shifted to
the growth of coffee and cocoa, creating smaller farms and fewer plantations and
much later the economy shifted almost entirely to the growth of nutmeg.