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there is some doubt, Grenada likely obtained its name from Spanish sailors who named
the island after the city of Granada, Spain.
The island of Grenada is somewhat mountainous, but with regular rains these mountains
provide steady streams and hence a great water supply, making life on the island
quite suitable. The soil is also fairly fertile and the seas provide other food
sources, meaning the island is an ideal home for people and it has been inhabited
for a long time. This environment makes the coasts of the island fairly livable,
but the highlands make farming more difficult and throughout history the people
of this Caribbean island have stayed near the coasts.
Due to the mountains and forests the island's interior is fairly difficult to
access. The Caribs dominated the Caribbean Sea for centuries and even lent their
name to the surrounding sea, but on most islands the invading Europeans quickly
destroyed the people and their culture. However, on the island of Grenada these
people and their historic culture that tied them to the lands survived even after
the Europeans arrived.
Grenada's flag is quite colorful;
the yellow represents the sun and warmth of the people, the green symbolizes the
vegetation and agriculture, while the red represents harmony, unity, and courage.
The seven stars on the flag represent the administrative districts of the country,
the center star for the capital of St. George. The odd yellow and red object in
the green triangle is a nutmeg pod, perhaps the country's most important crop.
Independence: February 7, 1974
Capital: Saint George's
Currency: East Caribbean Dollar
Population: 109,590 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: African, mixed, & others
Eventually, the French diseases and wars defeated the Carib people, almost wholly
replacing the indigenous culture with that of the French. Most of the surviving
Caribs became enslaved and with this lost much of their historic culture, although
their language survives to a degree.
With French colonization of the island, the European power sought economic development,
which required cheap labor. Since most of the Caribs had died from diseases and
wars, the French turned to slavery from Africa to fill this labor shortage. This
again altered the culture, but it also returned the island to agriculture, which
was at the island's core for centuries.
Farming under French rule was focused on sugarcane and indigo, while today it is
focused on coffee and cocoa. Although these agricultural goods have changed over
time, the lifestyle of working the lands has remained fairly stable. What drastically
changed over time came in the form of the culture. The Caribs, French, and Africans
all have very different cultures and each has left its mark on the island to some
degree, although today few Carib influences can be found without seeking them out.
Later, another vast cultural change took place when the British took control over
the islands; many of the more visible aspects of the culture and way of life result
from this time. The most lasting English influences come in the form of the most
commonly spoken language, English, and the lifestyle to a great degree. The French
left traces of their language behind in the French patois language and Catholicism,
which is the dominate religion on the island. However, it's the African population
that made the greatest impact on the present culture through their foods, clothing,
music, and lifestyle. This influence is becoming even more pronounced with each
passing decade as the government is dominated by the majority, which is the ethnic
Africans. Despite these changes over time in the culture, the way of life in the
country remains tied to the land as agriculture is the dominant form of work and
the people tend to live in the coastal regions.
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