Grenada - Encyclopedia

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'GRENADA, the southernmost of the Windward Islands, British West Indies. It lies between 11° 58' and 12° 15' N. and between 61° 35 and 61° 50' W., being 140 m. S.W. of Barbados and 85 m. N. by W. of Trinidad. In shape oval, it is 21 m. long, 12 m. broad at its maximum and has an area of 133 sq. m. It owes much of its beauty to a well-wooded range of mountains traversing the island from N. to S. and throwing off from the centre spurs which form picturesque and fertile valleys. These mountains attain their highest elevation in Mount Catharine (2750 ft.). In the S.E. and N.W. there are stretches of low or undulating ground, devoted to fruit growing and cattle raising. The island is of volcanic origin; the only signs of upheaval are raised limestone beaches in the extreme N. Red and grey sandstones, hornblende and argillaceous schist are found in the mountains, porphyry and basaltic rocks also occur; sulphur and fuller's earth are worked. In the centre, at the height of 17 4 0 ft. above the sea, is the chief natural curiosity of Grenada, the Grand Etang, a circular lake, 13 acres in extent, occupying the site of an ancient crater. Near it is a large sanatorium, much frequented as a health resort. In the north-east is a larger lake, Lake Antoine, also occupying a crater, but it lies almost at the sea level. The island is watered by several short rivers, mainly on the east and south; there are numerous fresh water springs, as well as hot chalybeate and sulphurous springs. The southeastern coast is much indented with bays. The climate is good, the temperature equable and epidemic diseases are rare. In the low country the average yearly temperature is 82° F., but it is cooler in the heights. The rainfall is very heavy, amounting in some parts to as much as 200 in., a year. The rainy season lasts from May to December, but refreshing showers frequently occur during other parts of the year. The average annual rainfall at St Georges is 79.07 in., and at Grand Etang 164 in. The excellent climate and good sea-bathing have made Grenada the health resort of the neighbouring islands, especially of Trinidad. Good roads and byeways intersect it in every direction. The soil is extraordinarily fertile, the chief products being cocoa and spices, especially nutmegs. The exports, sent chiefly to Great Britain, are cocoa, spices, wool, cotton, coffee, live stock, hides, turtles, turtle shell, kola nuts, vanilla and timber. Barbados is dependent on Grenada for the majority of its firewood. Sugar is still grown, and rum and molasses are made, but the consumption of these is confined to the island.

Elementary education is chiefly in the hands of the various denominations, whose schools are assisted by government grants-in-aid. There are, however, a few secular schools conducted by the government, and government-aided secondary schools for girls and a grammar school for boys. The schools are controlled by a board of education, the members of which are nominated by the government, and small fees are charged in all schools. The governor of the Windward Islands resides in Grenada and is administrator of it. The Legislative Council consists of 14 members; 7 including the governor are ex-officio members and the rest are nominated by the Crown. English is universally spoken, but the negroes use a French patois, which, however, is gradually dying out. Only 2% of the inhabitants are white, the rest being negroes and mulattoes with a few East Indians. The capital, St George, in the south-west, is built upon a lava peninsula jutting into the sea and forming one side of its landlocked harbour. It is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, up the sides of which climb the red-brick houses of the town. At the extremity of the peninsula is Fort St George, with a saluting battery. The ridge connecting Fort St George with Hospital Hill is tunnelled to give access to the two parts of the town lying on either side. The population in 1901 was 5198. There are four other towns - on the west coast Gouyave, or Charlotte Town, and 4 m. N. of it Victoria; on the north coast Sauteurs; and Grenville at the head of a wide bay on the east. They are all in frequent communication with the capital by steamer. The population of the entire colony in 1901 was 63,438. History. - Grenada was discovered in 1498 by Columbus, who named it Conception. Neither the Spanish nor the British, to whom it was granted in 1627, settled on the island. The governor of Martinique, du Parquet, purchased it in 1650, and the French were well received by the Caribs, whom they afterwards extirpated with the greatest cruelty. In 1665 Grenada passed into the hands of the French West India Company, and was administered by it until its dissolution in 1674, when the island passed to the French Crown. Cocoa, coffee and cotton were introduced in 1714. During the wars between Great Britain and France, Grenada capitulated to the British forces in 1762, and was formally ceded next year by the Treaty of Paris. The French, under Count d'Estaing, re-captured the island in 1779, but it was restored to Great Britain by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. A rebellion against the British rule, instigated and assisted by the French, occurred in 1795, but was quelled by Sir Ralph Abercromby in the following year. The emancipation of the slaves took place in 1837, and by 1877 it was found necessary to introduce East Indian labour. Grenada, with cocoa as its staple, has not experienced similar depression to that which overtook the sugar-growing islands of the West Indies.

See Grenada Handbook (London, 1905).

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