February 07, 2012


Happy Grenada Independence Day! Today, Grenadians are celebrating the 38th Anniversary of their country achieving independence from Great Britain.

Today, the Caribbean island will see a sea of red, green and gold flood the streets of the city as Grenadians portray their national colors with their best independence outfits. From farmers to folk dancers will join military parades amongst a cacophony of calypso and soca music, and the rich aroma from a pot of the national dish, ‘oil down’, will awaken the senses from almost every home.

The history of Grenada begins in the early 17th century. In April 1609, the first attempt at settlement by Europeans was made by an English expedition of 204 adventurers led by Messrs Godfrey, Hall, Lull and Robinson, who arrived in the ships Diana, the Penelope and the Endeavour. The settlement was attacked and destroyed by the indigenous islanders and many men, on both sides, were killed. The few survivors were evacuated when the ships returned in December 1609. 

Jacques Dyel du Parquet

Forty years later, in March 1649, a French expedition of 203 men from Martinique, led by Jacques Dyel du Parquet, who had been the Governor of Martinique on behalf of the Compagnie des Iles de l'Amerique (Company of the Isles of America) since 1637, landed at St. George’s Harbour and constructed a fortified settlement, which they named Fort Annunciation. A treaty was swiftly agreed between du Parquet and the indigenous Chief Kairouane to peacefully partition the island between the two communities. However, conflict soon broke out between them, and fighting lasted for five years until 1654, when the last opposition to the French on Grenada was crushed - although the island continued for some time after to suffer raids by war canoe parties from St. Vincent, who had aided the local Grenadian islanders in their struggle and continued to oppose the French. In September 1650, du Parquet bought Grenada, Martinique, and St. Lucia from the Compagnie des Iles de l'Amerique , as it was dissolved, for the equivalent of $1,800. In 1664, King Louis XIV bought out the independent island owners and established the French West India Company. In 1674, the French West India Company was dissolved, and Grenada became a French Colony, rather than a piece of private property in the hands of Companies of Frenchmen. In 1675, Grenada was captured by Dutch Privateers, but a French man-of-war arrived unexpectedly, and the island was recaptured.

Seven Years' War

Grenada was captured by the British during the Seven Years' War in March 1762, by Commodore Swanton, without a shot being fired. Grenada was formally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763. In 1767 a slave uprising had to be put down. France recaptured Grenada during the American War of Independence, and held off British relief in the naval Battle of Grenada in July 1779. However the island was restored to Britain with the Treaty of Versailles four years later, on September 3, 1783.
Control of the island was disputed by Great Britain and France in the 18th century, with the British ultimately prevailing. A March 1795 slave rebellion, led by Julien Fedon, a mixed race owner of the Belvedere estate, and inspired by the Haitian Revolution, very nearly succeeded. However, it was crushed with significant military intervention.


In 1833, Grenada became part of the British Windward Islands Administration and remained so until 1958. Slavery was abolished in 1834 and Nutmeg, which is now the national export crop, was introduced in 1843, when a merchant ship called in on its way to England from the East Indies. In 1958, the Windward Islands Administration was dissolved, and Grenada joined the Federation of the West Indies.

After the Federation of the West Indies collapsed in 1962, the British government tried to form a small federation out of its remaining dependencies in the Eastern Caribbean. Following the failure of this second effort, the British and the islanders developed the concept of "associated statehood". Under the Associated Statehood Act on March 3, 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs.

On February 7, 1974, Grenada became a fully independent state and achieved independence from Great Britain. Following a leftist coup in October, 1983, led by Deputy Prime Minister, Bernard Coard, in 1983, the island was somewhat controversially invaded by a U. S.-Caribbean force, and a democratic government was reinstated. After the invasion, the United States gave $48.4 million in economic assistance to Grenada, in 1984.

Grenada has continued to enjoy its independence; but sadly has been rocked by two, devastating hurricanes within the last eight years: Ivan and Emily, which have severely crippled the economy.  However, the Grenadians will continue to persevere and will nevertheless be dancing and laughing all day long today.

Try this delicious recipe for the Grenadian National Dish: Oil Down

Oil Down
By Travel Grenada


  •         1 lb. salted meat (beef or ham or salted cod fish)
  •         1 medium onion
  •         1 large green breadfruit (about 2 lb.)
  •         8-10 Callaloo leaves (you can use spinach if you cannot find callaloo)
  •         1¼ cups coconut milk
  •         1 celery stalk, chopped
  •         2 sprigs thyme
  •         Avocado and Fresh Fruit for garnish


1. Wash salted meat (note: If you are using salted cod fish, instead, for this dish, boil salt fish first by it self to get rid of extra salt), cut into small pieces. Put into heavy aluminum pot.

2.  Add sliced onion and chopped celery, and thyme. Mix.

3.  Wash and peel the skin of the breadfruit. Cut into 4-5 wedges. Remove centre core.   Cut wedges in halves across.

4.  Arrange breadfruit pieces on the meat.

callaloo/spinach leaves, peel stems, break stems into pieces, add to pot.

6.  Spread leaves open on the top of breadfruit putting the smaller leaves between
larger ones.

7. Add coconut milk. Cover pot tightly, put on medium heat. Cook until all the water is absorbed and food begins to fry.  Remove from fire.

8.  Open pot. Using a fork and spoon, roll up leaves into a ball-like mixture.

Serve on a warm dish.   Add the breadfruit pieces to the dish, then the meat. Complete the meal with avocado slices and a fresh fruit, for garnish.

Sources: Wikipedia, Grenada Grenadines, Google, Bing, Travel Grenada

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