GRENADA AFRICANS IN CARIBBEAN ISLAND OF SPICE AND THE BIG DRUM NATION

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Grenada is a hilly  tri- island state at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea.  Grenada is located specifically at the northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The three major islands that make this southern most oasis of Caribbean chain Grenada are Grenada itself, Carriacou and Petite Martinique which form the southern end of the Windward Islands.

Black Grenadians, or Afro-Grenadians (referred to simply as African or Black constitute 82%),  and  mixed black and European ancestry (Mulatto are 13%) constitute 95% of the Grenadian population according to 2012 Census.
The Europeans  and indigenous Arawak Caribs are only a 5% of the population. Ghanaian Fante (Akan) people with their population of 19% constitute single most largest African tribe, followed by Yoruba and Igbos at 34%.

Grenada, an island nation in the eastern Caribbean archipelago, early in history earned its nickname as "The Isle of Spice," as shiploads of  nutmeg, cinnamon, mace and clove made their way across the Atlantic to satisfy the European demand for the exotic aromas and tastes of the New World and beyond.

 

Grenada was originally inhabited by Arawak Caribs until it was discovered by Columbus on his third voyage in 1498 and was colonized by the French and later by the English, the islands of Grenada still retain traces of these European influences in their culture, architecture and place names. The Capital, St. George’s, is located on the south west coast of Grenada.  It is the seat of government and the main commercial centre.

Geography
The island of Grenada is the largest island in the Grenadines; smaller islands are Carriacou, Petit Martinique, Ronde Island, Caille Island, Diamond Island, Large Island, Saline Island, and Frigate Island. Most of the population lives on Grenada, and major towns there include the capital, St. George’s, Grenville and Gouyave. The largest settlement on the other islands is Hillsborough on Carriacou.

 

There is still some French influence on the island, which is found in the surnames of the locals and in the names of villages such as L'Esterre, La Resource, and Beausejour. The main language is English, with some local patois derived from French and African languages.  The main religions are Catholic and Anglican.
The main town and port of entry is Hillsborough, the business center with a small hospital and the main police station. Business hours are generally between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. Transportation between the islands is provided via a regular ferry service, in addition to daily flights for persons who prefer traveling by air.
Other main settlements are the villages of L'Esterre, Harvey Vale and Windward.

 

Rich in tradition, Carriacou has many unique customs and festivals handed down from African and European ancestors.  These include traditional weddings, traditional boat launching, Tombstone Feast "Saraca" Libations, Big Drum Nation Dance, Village Maroons, Shakespeare Mas, All Saints Candle Lighting "Pass Play" and Fishermen’s Birthday Celebrations.

Other major events held each year are Carriacou Carnival which is held in February or early March of each year; Carriacou Regatta, a racing event for locally built boats held on the first weekend in August and Parang Festival, a celebration of the island's traditional Christmas music and culture held prior to Christmas.
Famous personalities originating from Carriacou include, two Prime Ministers in Hon. Herbert Blaize and Sir Nicholas Brathwaite, Dr. Lamuel Stanisclaus – former Grenada Ambassador to the United Nations, Anthony C. George - the designer of the national flag and Canute Calliste - national artist.

“Vicissitudes” Underwater sculpture in Grenada in honor of African Ancestors who were thrown overboard the slave ships during the Middle Passage of the African Holocaust

The language of Grenada evolved from its heritage of English, French and African ancestry. Grenadian English is based upon a tradition of British education. An American may read a quaint word like 'whilst' and be charmed, but if you live in Grenada you get to use this word.

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