Grenada is a country in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain. Grenada consists of the island of Grenada itself plus six smaller islands which lie to the north of the main island. It is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Its size is 348.5 km2, and it had an estimated population of in. Its capital is St. George's. Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" due to its production of nutmeg and mace crops, of which it is one of the world's largest exporters. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada dove.
Before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, Grenada was inhabited by the indigenous Arawaks and later by the Island Caribs. Christopher Columbus sighted Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the Americas. Although it was deemed the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest the Spanish ever landed or settled on the island. Following several unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to colonise the island due to resistance from the Island Caribs, French settlement and colonisation began in 1650 and continued for the next century. On 10 February 1763, Grenada was ceded to the British under the Treaty of Paris. British rule continued, except for a period of French rule between 1779 and 1783, until 1974. From 1958 to 1962, Grenada was part of the Federation of the West Indies, a short-lived federation of British West Indian colonies. On 3 March 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs as an Associated State. Herbert Blaize was the first Premier of the Associated State of Grenada from March to August 1967. Eric Gairy served as Premier from August 1967 until February 1974.
Independence was granted on 7 February 1974, without breaking formal ties with the Commonwealth, under the leadership of Eric Gairy, who became the first Prime Minister of Grenada, with Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. In March 1979, the Marxist–Leninist New Jewel Movement overthrew Gairy's government in a coup d'état and established the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop as Prime Minister. On 19 October 1983, hard-line Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis, backed by the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop and placed Bishop under house arrest. Bishop was later freed by popular demonstration and attempted to resume power, but he was captured and executed by soldiers, and replaced with a military council chaired by Hudson Austin. On 25 October 1983, forces from the United States and the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) invaded Grenada in a U.S.-led operation code-named Operation Urgent Fury. The invasion was highly criticised by the governments of Britain, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, along with the United Nations General Assembly. Elections were held in December 1984 and were won by the Grenada National Party under Herbert Blaize, who served as Prime Minister until his death in December 1989.
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.
On his third voyage to the region in 1498, Christopher Columbus sighted Grenada and named it "La Concepción" in honour of the Virgin Mary. It is said that he may have actually named it "Assumpción", but it is uncertain, as he is said to have sighted what are now Grenada and Tobago from a distance and named them both at the same time. However, history has accepted that it was Tobago he named "Assumpción" and Grenada he named "La Concepción".
In 1499, the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci travelled through the region with the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda and mapmaker Juan de la Cosa. Vespucci is reported to have renamed the island "Mayo", which is how it appeared on maps for around the next 20 years.
In the 1520s, the Spanish named the islands to the north of Mayo as Los Granadillos (Little Granadas), presumably after the mainland Spanish town. Shortly after this, Mayo disappeared from Spanish maps and an island called "Granada" took its place. Although it was deemed the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest the Spanish ever landed or settled on the island.
After French settlement and colonisation in 1652, the French named their colony "La Grenade". On 10 February 1763, the island of La Grenade was ceded to the British under the Treaty of Paris. The British renamed it "Grenada", one of many place name anglicisations they carried out on the island during this time.