Did You Know Grenada Became an Independent Nation on This Day?

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This Day In History: February 7th

The Caribbean island country of Grenada is home to more than 110,000 residents and is known for being plentiful in spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. After losing control to French forces in 1649, Grenada fell subject to colonization until gaining independence on February 7, 1974. 

Grenada was originally inhabited by Arawak-speaking Amerindians from South America and Carib settlers until Europeans began to establish settlements on the island. French settlers established a colony and Saint George’s, which now serves as the island’s capital. However, after more than 120 years of control over Grenada, power was given to the British in 1763 in accordance with the Treaty of Paris

Under British rule, the enslaved population expanded due to the use of sugar plantations. However, in 1833 the emancipation of Grenada’s enslaved individuals took effect but they were still tied to the British government. Grenada was used as the headquarters of the British Windward Islands government from 1885 until 1958. Grenada even joined the West Indies Federation until it disbanded in 1962. 

During this time, there was also the establishment of the Grenada United Labor Party (GULP), which was founded in 1950 by Eric Gairy. Gairy was a trade unionist and politician who started his career as an advocate for the working class and their rights. On March 3, 1967, Grenada became a self-governing state but matters pertaining to foreign and defense affairs remained under British control. An election was held in August of 1967 and Grenada United Labor Party managed to defeat the Grenada National Party.

After making several steps towards independence, Grenada finally achieved it on February 7, 1974 and Gairy was named prime minister. Gairy’s reign lasted less than a decade before he was overthrown in a coup led by Maurice Bishop and the New Jewel Movement in 1979. The country faced economic and political instability due to coups and natural disasters in the years following independence.

In 2013, Keith Mitchell of the New National Party (NNP) began serving in the role of Prime Minister for the second time. Mitchell was first elected prime minister in 1995 but lost to  Tillman Thomas of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2008. The next election is scheduled to take place in March of 2023. 

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