Facts at a Glance:
Capital: St. George’s
Form of Government: Parliamentary Democracy in the British Commonwealth
Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General, Sir Daniel Williams
Head of Government: Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon.Tillman Thomas
Location: 12EN; 62.5EW – 135km (83.8 mi.) north of Trinidad
Area: 344 sq. km (133 sq. mi.) including some of the islands of the Grenadines, the largest of which is Carriacou (22.5 sq.mi)
Population: 89,211 (2002 est.)
Ethnic Make-Up: 85% of African descent, 11% mixed, 1% white, 3% other.
Adult Literacy: 95%
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$)
Exchange rate: US$1.00 = EC$ 2.70; EC$1.00 = US$0.37
Time zone: EST +1; GMT -4
Phone code: Regional Code (473) plus local number
History: Although ‘discovered’ by Christopher Columbus in 1498, Grenada was first settled by the French in 1650 whereafter it was ruled alternately by the French and the British until 1783 when it was formally ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Versailles. Subsequently, the British imported large numbers of African slaves to work on the sugar cane plantations.
From 1833 during the period of Crown Colony rule, Grenada was included in the administration of the Windward Islands and following the withdrawal of Barbados and Tobago from the group, became the seat of the Windward Islands Administration until 1958 when the West Indian Federation was introduced. With the collapse of the Federation in 1962, Grenada became an Associated State with Great Britain until it was granted full Independence in 1974.
In March 1979, the Government of Prime Minister Eric M. Gairy was overthrown in a coup led by the head of the left-wing New Jewel Movement, Maurice Bishop. The 1973 Constitution was suspended and a People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) was formed. This government was overthrown in October 1983 in a violent coup in which Prime Minister Bishop and several other government officials were executed. A sixteen-member military council led by Army Commander Hudson Austin took control of the island. Subsequently, at the request of CARICOM states Jamaica and Barbados, the United States government sent Marine forces into Grenada to stabilize the situation. The Revolutionary Army was ousted and members of the Military Council were arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Prime Minister Bishop and members of his Cabinet. (This sentence was eventually converted to life imprisonment).
Governor-General, Sir Paul Scoon, assumed power and reinstated the 1973 Constitution. A nine-member Interim Advisory Council was appointed in November 1983 to serve until elections could be held. Democratic elections were held in December 1984 and every five years since then. The current Prime Minister is Dr. the Hon. Tillman Thomas whose party forms the government.
UWI Connections: The Grenadian Government contributes to the budget of UWI. A non-campus country, there are a total of 91 (2004/2005) registered students from Grenada.