Celebrating Grenada Independence DayFeb 07, 2021 10:45AM ● By Oga Africa
Happy Independence Day, Grenada! Today in 1974, this beautiful country gained its independence from the British. Let’s take a journey inside this Caribbean country’s multicultural past and present.
Grenada is of volcanic origin, and is a blend of African, British, French and West Indian cultures. Carriacou and Petite Martinique, dependents of the main island Grenada, are a part of the nation of Grenada. The capital is St. George’s.
Grenada is known as the ‘Isle of Spice’ because it has an abundance of mace and nutmeg crops. When the Europeans arrived on the island, the Caribs, who misplaced the Awaraks, were inhabiting the region. The Caribs were strong warriors, and due to their resistance against the British and the French, it took the Europeans 150 years to colonize the island. The British and French battled for control until 1783, when the British gained control of the island under the Treaty of Versailles.
It was the British who brought enslaved Africans to the islands to work the sugar plantations. Resistance exhibited by French planters, supporters from Martinique and enslaved communities manifested in deadly uprisings, and by 1834, slavery in the islands was outlawed. By that time, the enslaved population on the island totaled to 24,000.
The country is predominantly Black. In 2011, the demographic makeup was 82.4% Black, 13.3% mixed, 2.2% East Indian and 1.3% other and .9% unspecified.
The national dish of the country is ‘Oil Down’, a stew made with meat, coconut milk, vegetables, breadfruit and dumplings. Other meals commonly eaten in Grenada include Nutmeg Icecream, Curry Goat, Roti, Pelau (a rice, chicken and veggies dish), Callaloo Soup and more.
(People in Grenada wait to grocery shop during COVID-19)
On the island of Carriacou, descendants of the enslaved do a ‘Big Drum Ritual’ in honor of their African ancestors. This event has influences from enslaved Africans of the Mandingo, Kromanti, Igbo and Congo tribes.
As at February 1st, 2021, Grenada has experienced 182 cases of COVID since the pandemic hit, and many industries, including tourism, have suffered immensely due to the pandemic. Learn more about efforts to aid Grenada during COVID-19 here.