History of St. Vincent & the Grenadines
St. Vincent was inhabited by numerous
people prior to European arrival, but it was the Carib people
who lived on the islands when the Europeans arrived in the early 1500s. The Europeans
though had little success in settling on the islands since the Caribs fought any
attempts at settlement.
Throughout the 1500s, 1600s, and even into the early 1700s the Caribs held
St. Vincent & the Grenadines. During this time they rejected the
Europeans, but welcomed many former African slaves
who had escaped from neighboring islands. These former slaves and the Caribs regularly
intermarried, later calling themselves Garifuna.
The success of the Carib and Garifuna ended in 1719 when the French
succeeded in taking the islands. They used the islands as a base to product numerous
crops, most notably coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugarcane. In order to
profit from these industries, the French brought in African slaves to work the plantations.