Grenada is a history aficionado’s dream
May 28, 2010. (Grenada, W.I.)–A trip to ‘the Spice of the Caribbean’ is an historical and cultural journey. Part of the Windward Islands, the tri-island nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique was first sighted by Christopher Columbus back in 1498 and it is steeped in rich history, unbeknownst to many visitors.
The Arawak speaking Amerindians from South America are thought to have been the first settlers in Grenada. These original inhabitants spent their lives working in agriculture and fishing, crafting jewelry and musical instruments, and building boats. These trades and traditions still play an influential role in today’s society.
There is a strong French influence in Grenada that goes back to 1649. The name Grenada dates back to this time, when the French named the country ‘la Grenade.’ This name originated in Granada, Spain, in the 1500’s.
After the British seized control in 1763, the country became known as Grenada. It was not until February 7, 1974, that Grenada received its independence from Britain, a day that is proudly celebrated each year with beach parties, sporting events and official speeches and presentations.
Inhabitants on the tiny island of Carriacou can be traced back as early as 1000 A.D., when Arawaks and then Caribs settled there. Written records from 1656 suggest that the name came from the Carib term, Kayryouacou, meaning ‘land surrounded by reef.’ The island has many unique customs and traditions and was once home to a village of Scottish boat builders.
“We are extremely proud of our history and culture in Grenada,” said William Joseph, director of tourism for the Grenada Board of Tourism. “We hope visitors will take the opportunity to explore some of our historical sites and really understand Grenada’s culture in this context.”
When visiting Grenada there are numerous historical sites that visitors can explore for the opportunity to step back in time, including:
Belmont Estate: This 300 year old plantation is found in Belmont, St. Patrick’s, and is home to a museum, gardens and an old cemetery.
Fedon’s Camp: Only accessible by foot, this site is located in the central mountain range of the Grand Etang. It was named after a French planter, who led a revolt against the British in 1795.
Fort George: Built back in 1706, Fort George offers a view of the entire skyline of the town of St. George’s.
Fort Frederick: This fort was completed in 1791 on Richmond Hill and is another perfect spot for photo opportunities, providing a spectacular view of St. George’s.
Grenada National Museum: Housing a variety of historical artifacts, this museum is found in the remains of the old army barracks and prison, built back in 1704.
Leapers Hill: This historical landmark received its name after the last Carib Indians sacrificed themselves and leapt off the cliff edge, instead of surrendering to the French in 1651.
Plantation House: This beautiful stone building was built back in the 18th century and is a relaxing spot to visit for lunch.
River Antoine Rum Distillery: This rum distillery is the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in the Caribbean. The process they use here to distill rum remains much the same as it did back in the 1800’s.
The Carriacou Museum: This museum is housed in a restored cotton gin mill and provides a look at life during the British and French occupation of the islands.
Grenada is home to fiercely proud people with a rich heritage and culture. With pristine, white sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, friendly, welcoming people and truly unique historical sites, a trip to Grenada is unlike anything else.
About Grenada Board of Tourism
The Grenada Board of Tourism objective is to market and promote Grenada as a preferred year round Caribbean tourist destination, while also providing technical and managerial support to the travel trade, industry partners and airlines. For more information on Grenada contact the Grenada Board of Tourism office in Toronto at 416-595-1339 416-595-1339 , email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.grenadagrenadines.com
How to Get to Grenada from Canada
Grenada can be reached via Air Canada Vacations that operates a seasonal direct flight from Toronto to Grenada (Sunday departure with easy connections from major Canadian gateways available at www.aircanadavacations.com ) from December until April. AC operates year round daily flights from Toronto to Barbados (Saturday & Sunday departure from Montreal) with connections on LIAT to Grenada. Caribbean Airlines operate regularly scheduled flights from Toronto to Barbados and Trinidad with connections on LIAT to Grenada. GG Tours and Titan Tours operate seasonal charter services (www.ggtours.ca and www.titantours.com ). West Jet operates a flight from Toronto to Barbados with connections on LIAT to Grenada year round. American Airlines operates a non-stop flight three times per week from Miami to Grenada.