The first known settlers in Grenada were the Ciboney and Arawak peoples. They were conquered by a South American tribe called the Caribs. The Caribs occupied Grenada when Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1498.

 Europeans found the island difficult to colonize for over 150 years, because of the fierce resistance of the Caribs. Eventually the French overcame the Caribs and established plantations for tobacco, indigo (a dye), sugar and cotton. They used slave labour from Africa to work these plantations.

Did you know? 

The town of Sauteurs ("leapers" in French) is so named because it is believed that the last Carib warriors jumped to their death from a nearby cliff, rather than submit to the Europeans. 

Between 1650 and 1762, the British fought the French for control of Grenada. In 1763 the island became a British colony. In 1834 slavery was abolished. During the 19th century, many East Indians came to Grenada as indentured labourers.

 In 1967 Grenada became an associate state within the British Commonwealth with control over its own internal affairs. Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique adopted a constitution in 1973 and became an independent nation within the Commonwealth in February 1974 under the leadership of Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, who is known as the Father of Independence in Grenada.

In 1979 a leftist group called the New Jewel Movement seized power. The government was headed by Maurice Bishop, who sought close relations with Cuba and the Soviet Bloc countries. In 1983, there was a struggle for power with the opposition. Bishop and some of his associates were arrested by their political opponents and executed at Fort George. Because of the threat of further unrest, a joint U.S.-Caribbean force took control of the island. In 1984 the U.S. troops withdrew and elections were held on the island.
Did you know? 

Governor Du Parquet of Martinique "purchased" Grenada from the Caribs in 1650. The payment was a few hatchets, some glass beads and a couple of bottles of alcohol. 

Since then there have been a series of governments, all of which have had good relations with the United States. Relations with Cuba have also been resumed. Tourism and agricultural exports have grown in recent years and the island is currently stable politically and economically.
Did you know? 

By the time of the emancipation of slaves in 1834, the slave population was more than 24,000.