Area: 344 sq. km. (133 sq. mi.); about twice
the size of Washington, DC.
Cities: Capital--St. George's (est.
Terrain: Three volcanic islands (Grenada and
the smaller islands of Carriacou and Petit
Martinique) with mountainous rainforest.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Grenadian(s).
Population (2004 est.): 104,000.
Annual growth rate: 2003: +5.8%; 2004: - 3.0%;
2005 est.: +0.9%.
Ethnic groups: African descent (82%), some
South Asians (East Indians) and Europeans, trace
Religions: Roman Catholic, various
Protestant denominations, Islam, Rastafarianism.
Languages: English (official).
Education: Years compulsory--10
grades or age 16. Literacy--95% of adult
Health: Infant mortality rate--16.2/1,000.
Life expectancy--72 yrs.
Work force: Leading employment sectors are
services/tourism, government, industry,
agriculture/fishing. Unemployment is likely over
Type: Constitutional monarchy with
Independence: February 7, 1974.
Constitution: December 19, 1975.
Branches: Executive--governor general
(appointed by and represents British monarch,
head of state), prime minister (head of
government, leader of majority party), and
Cabinet direct a career civil service in the
administration of the government.
Legislative--Parliament composed of 15
directly elected members in the House of
Representatives and a 13-seat Senate appointed
by the governor general on the advice of the
majority party and opposition. Judicial--magistrates’
courts, Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (high
court and court of appeals), final appeal to
Privy Council in London.
Subdivisions: Six parishes and two
dependencies (Carriacou and Petit Martinique).
Major political parties: New National Party
(NNP), incumbent; National Democratic Congress (NDC);
Grenada United Labor Party (GULP).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Economy (U.S. $)
GDP (2005 est.): $454.3 million.
GDP growth rate (2004 est.): 4.01%.
Per capita GDP (2004): $4,200.
Agriculture: Products--nutmeg, cocoa,
bananas, other fruits, vegetables.
Industry: Types--tourism services,
construction, education, manufacturing.
Trade (2005 proj.): Merchandise exports
(f.o.b.)--$30.4 million: nutmeg, mace, cocoa,
bananas, other fruits, vegetables, fish.
Major markets--EU, U.S., OECS, CARICOM
countries. Merchandise imports--$276
million: food, machinery, transport,
manufactured goods, fuel. Major suppliers--U.S.
(36.6%), CARICOM countries, U.K., Japan.
Services exports (2005 proj.)--$37.7
million: tourism, education.
Transfers: $108.2 million (incl. remittances).
Total external debt outstanding (2004): $415
Exchange rate: U.S. $1=EC $2.67.
Most of Grenada's population is of African
descent; there is some trace of the early Arawak
and Carib Indians. A few East Indians and a
small community of the descendants of early
European settlers reside in Grenada. About 50%
of Grenada's population is under the age of 30.
English is the official language; only a few
people still speak French patois. A more
significant reminder of Grenada's historical
link with France is the strength of the Roman
Catholic Church, to which about 60% of
Before the arrival of Europeans, Carib Indians
who had driven the more peaceful Arawaks from
the island inhabited Grenada. Columbus landed on
Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the
new world. He named the island "Concepcion." The
origin of the name "Grenada" is obscure, but it
is likely that Spanish sailors renamed the
island for the city of Granada. By the beginning
of the 18th century, the name "Grenada," or "la
Grenade" in French, was in common use.
Partly because of the Caribs, Grenada
remained un-colonized for more than 100 years
after its discovery; early English efforts to
settle the island were unsuccessful. In 1650, a
French company founded by Cardinal Richelieu
purchased Grenada from the English and
established a small settlement. After several
skirmishes with the Caribs, the French brought
in reinforcements from Martinique and defeated
The island remained under French control
until its capture by the British in 1762, during
the Seven Years' War. The Treaty of Paris
formally ceded Grenada to Great Britain in 1763.
Although the French regained control in 1779,
the Treaty of Versailles restored the island to
Britain in 1783. Britain overcame a pro-French
revolt in 1795, and Grenada remained British for
the remainder of the colonial period.
During the 18th century, Grenada's economy
underwent an important transition. Like much of
the rest of the West Indies it was originally
settled to cultivate sugar, which was grown on
estates using slave labor. But natural disasters
paved the way for the introduction of other
crops. In 1782, Sir Joseph Banks, the botanical
adviser to King George III, introduced nutmeg to
Grenada. The island's soil was ideal for growing
the spice, and because Grenada was a closer
source of spices for Europe than the Dutch East
Indies the island assumed a new importance to
The collapse of the sugar estates and the
introduction of nutmeg and cocoa encouraged the
development of smaller landholdings, and the
island developed a land-owning yeoman farmer
class. Slavery was outlawed in 1834. In 1833,
Grenada became part of the British Windward
Islands Administration. The governor of the
Windward Islands administered the island for the
rest of the colonial period. In 1958, the
Windward Islands Administration was dissolved,
and Grenada joined the Federation of the West
Indies. After that federation 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 islands developed the
concept of associated statehood. Under the
Associated Statehood Act of 1967, Grenada was
granted full autonomy over its internal affairs
in March 1967. Full independence was granted on
February 7, 1974.
After obtaining independence, Grenada adopted
a modified Westminster parliamentary system
based on the British model, with a governor
general appointed by and representing the
British monarch (head of state) and a prime
minister who is both leader of the majority
party and the head of government. Sir Eric Gairy
was Grenada's first Prime Minister.
On March 13, 1979, the New Joint Endeavor for
Welfare, Education, and Liberation Movement (New
Jewel Movement--NJM), ousted Gairy in a coup and
established a People's Revolutionary Government
(PRG) headed by Maurice Bishop, who became Prime
Minister. His Marxist-Leninist government
established close ties with Cuba, the Soviet
Union, and other communist bloc countries.
In October 1983, a power struggle within the
government resulted in the arrest and execution
of Bishop and several members of his Cabinet and
the killing of dozens of his supporters by
elements of the People's Revolutionary Army
A U.S.-Caribbean force landed on Grenada on
October 25, 1983 in response to an appeal from
the Governor General and to a request for
assistance from the Organization of Eastern
Caribbean States. U.S. citizens were evacuated,
and order was restored.
An advisory council named by the Governor
General administered the country until general
elections were held in December 1984. The New
National Party (NNP) led by Herbert Blaize won
14 out of 15 seats in free and fair elections
and formed a democratic government. Grenada's
constitution had been suspended in 1979 by the
PRG, but it was restored after the 1984
The NNP continued in power until 1989 but
with a reduced majority. Five NNP parliamentary
members, including two Cabinet ministers, left
the party in 1986-87 and formed the National
Democratic Congress (NDC), which became the
In August 1989, Prime Minister Blaize broke
with the NNP to form another new party, The
National Party (TNP), from the ranks of the NNP.
This split in the NNP resulted in the formation
of a minority government until constitutionally
scheduled elections in March 1990. Prime
Minister Blaize died in December 1989 and was
succeeded as Prime Minister by Ben Jones until
after the elections.
The NDC emerged from the 1990 elections as
the strongest party, winning seven of the 15
available seats. Nicholas Brathwaite added two
TNP members and one member of the Grenada United
Labor Party (GULP) to create a 10-seat majority
coalition. The Governor General appointed him to
be Prime Minister.
In parliamentary elections on June 20, 1995,
the NNP won eight seats and formed a government
headed by Keith Mitchell. The NNP maintained and
affirmed its hold on power when it took all 15
parliamentary seats in the January 1999
General elections were held in November 2003;
the NNP won 8 of the 15 seats, holding on to
power with a much-reduced majority. The National
Democratic Congress (NDC) led by Tillman Thomas
won 7 seats and is now the official opposition.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Grenada is governed under a parliamentary system
based on the British model; it has a governor
general, a prime minister and a Cabinet, and a
bicameral Parliament with an elected House of
Representatives and an appointed Senate.
Citizens enjoy a wide range of civil and
political rights guaranteed by the constitution.
Grenada's constitution provides citizens with
the right to change their government peacefully.
Citizens exercise this right through periodic
free and fair elections held on the basis of
The political parties in Grenada are the New
National Party (NNP), which remains moderate;
the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which is
now made up of some members of the NJM and the
original NDC; the People’s Labor Movement (PLM),
which is a combination of members of the
original NDC and the Maurice Bishop Patriotic
Movement (MBPM); and the Grenada United Labor
Party (GULP). TNP and MBPM no longer exist.
Reconstruction from the devastation wreaked
by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and
Hurricane Emily in July 2005 is a major
political issue for the present government.
The 800 members of the Royal Grenada Police
Force (RGPF), which includes an 80-member
paramilitary special services unit (SSU) and a
30-member coast guard, maintain security in
Grenada. The U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard
provide periodic training and material support
for the SSU and the coast guard. The Departments
of State and Treasury provide support to the
Financial Investigative Unit (FIU).
Principal Government Officials
Head of State--Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General--Sir Daniel C. Williams,
Prime Minister--Dr. Keith C. Mitchell
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Ambassador to the United States and OAS--Denis
Ambassador to the United Nations--Ruth Rouse
Grenada maintains an embassy in the United
States at 1701 New Hampshire Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20009 (tel: 202-265-2561).
The economy of Grenada, based primarily upon
services (tourism and education) and
agricultural production (nutmeg and cocoa), was
brought to a near standstill by Hurricane Ivan
on September 7, 2004. Thirty-seven people were
killed by the hurricane, and approximately
8,000-10,000 left homeless. Hurricane Ivan
damaged or destroyed 90% of the buildings on the
island, including some tourist facilities.
Overall damage totaled as much as 2.5 times
annual GDP. Reconstruction has proceeded
quickly, but much work remains. The United
States has been the leading donor since the
hurricane, with an emergency program of about
$45 million aimed at repairing and rebuilding
schools, health clinics, community centers, and
housing; training several thousand Grenadians in
construction and other fields; providing grants
to private businesses to speed their recovery;
and providing a variety of aid to help Grenada
diversify its agriculture and tourism sectors.
Despite initial high unemployment in the
tourist and other sectors, urban Grenadians have
benefited post-hurricane from job opportunities
in the surging construction sector. Agricultural
workers have not fared as well. Hurricane Ivan
destroyed or significantly damaged a large
percentage of Grenada’s tree crops, and
Hurricane Emily further damaged the sector.
Recovery will take years. At the opening of the
2005-2006 tourist season in fall 2005, most of
Grenada’s tourism sector is repaired and in
operation. St. George’s University, a large
American medical and veterinary school with over
2,000 students, is in full operation.
Grenada is a member of the Eastern Caribbean
Currency Union (ECCU). The Eastern Caribbean
Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency for
all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages
monetary policy, and regulates and supervises
commercial banking activities in its member
Grenada is also a member of the Caribbean
Community and Common Market (CARICOM). Most
goods can be imported into Grenada under open
general license, but some goods require specific
licenses. Goods that are produced in the Eastern
Caribbean receive additional protection; in May
1991, the CARICOM common external tariff (CET)
was implemented. The CET aims to facilitate
economic growth through intra-regional trade by
offering duty-free trade among CARICOM members
and duties on goods imported from outside
The United States, China, Cuba and Venezuela
have embassies in Grenada. The United Kingdom is
represented by a resident commissioner (as
opposed to the governor general, who represents
the British monarch). Grenada has been
recognized by most members of the United Nations
and maintains diplomatic missions in the United
States, Canada, China, Cuba, Belgium, United
Kingdom and Venezuela.
Grenada is a member of the Caribbean
Development Bank, CARICOM, the Organization of
Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the
Commonwealth of Nations, and the World Trade
Organization (WTO). It joined the United Nations
in 1974, and then the World Bank, International
Monetary Fund, and Organization of American
States (OAS) in 1975. Grenada also is a member
of the Eastern Caribbean's Regional Security
The U.S. Government established an Embassy in
Grenada in November 1983. The U.S. Ambassador to
Grenada is resident in
Bridgetown, Barbados. The Embassy in Grenada
is staffed by a Charge d'Affaires who reports to
the Ambassador in Bridgetown.
The U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) has played a major role in Grenada's
development. In addition to the $45 million
emergency aid for reconstruction from Hurricane
Ivan, USAID provided more than $120 million in
economic assistance from 1984 to 1993. About 25
Peace Corps volunteers in Grenada teach special
education, remedial reading, and vocational
training and assist with HIV/AIDS work. Grenada
receives counter-narcotics assistance from the
U.S. and benefits from U.S. military
exercise-related construction and humanitarian
civic action projects.
Grenada and the U.S. cooperate closely in
fighting narcotics smuggling and other forms of
transnational crime. In 1995, the U.S. and
Grenada signed a maritime law enforcement
treaty. In 1996, they signed a mutual legal
assistance treaty and an extradition treaty as
well as an over-flight/order-to-land amendment
to the maritime law enforcement treaty. Some
U.S. military training is given to Grenadian
security and defense forces.
Grenada continues to be a popular destination
for Americans. Of the 147,286 stayover visitors
in 2003, 35,191 were U.S. citizens. It is
estimated that some 2,600 Americans reside in
the country, plus the 2,000 U.S. medical
students who study at the St. George's
University School of Medicine. (Those students
are not counted as residents for statistical
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
(all officials except the Charge are located at
the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados)
Deputy Chief of Mission--Meg Gilroy
Charge d'Affaires--Peter Secor
Political/Economic Counselor--Sheila Peters
Consul General--Clyde Howard Jr.
Public Affairs Officer--Julie O'Reagan
Regional Labor and Environment Attaché--Alfred
Peace Corps Director--Terry Amstrong (resident
in St. Lucia)
The U.S. Embassy in Grenada is located on the
Lance-aux-Epines Main Road, St. George's,
Grenada; tel: 1-(473)-444-1173/4/5/6/7; fax:
The mailing address is P.O. Box 54, St.
George's, Grenada, West Indies.