Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)
Governor-General: Cécile La Grenade (2013)
Prime Minister: Keith Mitchell (2013)
Land area: 131 sq mi (339 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 110,152 (growth rate 0.52%); birth rate: 16.3/1000; infant mortality rate: 10.5/1000; life expectancy: 73.8
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): St. George's, 41,000
Monetary unit: East Caribbean dollar
Grenada (the first “a” is a long vowel) is the most southerly of the Windward Islands, about 100 mi (161 km) from the Venezuelan coast. It is a volcanic island traversed by a mountain range, the highest peak of which is Mount St. Catherine (2,756 ft; 840 m).
Constitutional monarchy. A governor-general represents the sovereign, Elizabeth II.
The Arawak Indians were the first to inhabit Grenada, but they were all eventually massacred by the Carib Indians. When Columbus arrived in 1498, he encountered the Caribs, who continued to rule over the island for another 150 years. The French gained control of the island in 1672 and held on to it until 1762, when the British invaded. Black slaves were granted freedom in 1833. After more than 200 years of British rule, most recently as part of the West Indies Associated States, Grenada became independent on Feb. 7, 1974, with Eric M. Gairy as prime minister.
In 1979, the Marxist New Jewel Movement staged a coup, and its leader, Maurice Bishop, became prime minister. Bishop, a protégé of Cuba's President Castro, was killed in a military coup on Oct. 19, 1983.