Grenada - a small country with a turbulent history
02 December 2018
The commercial harbor in St Georges
Grenada was deemed the property of the king of Spain from 1498 although there was no Spanish settlement on the island. The French started colonization around 1650 but lost the islands to the British in 1763 as part of the peace treaty after a European war.
Both estate owners and slaves preferred the French rule, and there was a rebellion led by Julien Fedon who became a mythical figure in the local folklore. The revolt was overcome with a lot of bloodshed and Grenada was British until independence was granted in 1974. The leadership was given to Eric Gairy who treated the new country as his private kingdom. He was overthrown by a communist movement lead by Maurice Bishop. He was a "kind communist" who did a lot to better living conditions for people, and he is still popular. The airport and the main road on the island are named after him. But he was cooped by a more militant Moscow trained group who shot Bishop, his ministers, his pregnant girlfriend and a lot of civilians during several days of total curfew.
Ronald Reagan was afraid of a Soviet Air Base so close, and in 1983 Grenada was invaded in a U.S.-led operation code-named Operation Urgent Fury. The invasion was highly criticized internationally, but anyway the country has been democratic since then.
The hardline communist leaders, known as the Grenada 17 are imprisoned for lifetime in a prison on top of a hill overlooking the city of st Georges.