|The Arawak Indians were the first to inhabit Grenada, but they were all eventually massacred by the belligerent Carib Indians. When Columbus arrived on the island in 1498 he encountered the Caribs, who in fact 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 British forces invaded. The black slaves, who had been shipped to the island to work on the plantations, were granted freedom in 1833.
In 1877 Grenada became a Crown Colony, and in 1967 it became an associate state within the British Commonwealth before gaining independence in 1974. Despite the island's long history of British rule, the island's French heritage (both colonial and revolutionary) survives in its place names, its buildings, and its strong Catholicism.
In 1979, an attempt was made to set up a socialist/communist state in Grenada. Four years later, at the request of the Governor General, the United States, Jamaica, and the Eastern Caribbean States intervened militarily. Launching their now famous "rescue mission", the allied forces restored order, and in December of 1984 a general election re-established democratic government.
The decade 1990 - 1999 has been a period of considerable development in Grenada. While the expansion of the tourist industry has proceeded rapidly, the island nation has taken great care to protect their magnificent natural environment. National Parks have been developed, and the protection of both the rain forest and the coral reefs continues to be a high priority.