the Caribbean inhabited the island of Grenada until 1498,
when Columbus arrived and named it "Concepción". The arrival
of the Europeans did not immediately disturb the peace, but
two centuries later the governor of the nearby French colony
of Martinique, Du Parquet, decided to occupy the island. By
1674, the French had brought the island under control
despite fierce resistance from the Caribbean.
By 1753, the French colonists from Martinique already had
100 sugar mills and 12,000 black slaves. The original native
population was already extinct then.
In the late 18th century, Britain conquered the island
and introduced the production of cocoa, cotton and nutmeg -
based on the use of slave labor. The number had increased to
24,000 in 1788, and it remained at this level until the
abolition of slavery in 1838.
100 years after the release of the slaves, the working
conditions of the land workers had by no means been
improved, and this was in the 1930's the background of the
formation of the country's first trade union: the Grenada
Manual and Metal Workers Union. In 1951, the first strike
broke out in the country and the workers achieved
significant wage increases. Young adventurer Eric Matthew
Gairy, who had spent most of his life outside the island,
took advantage of the radicalized situation and founded the
country's first political party, the Grenada United Labor
Party (GULP), which raised the demand for independence. The
same year, the party won the election to the Legislative
Council and Gairy became cabinet chief.
In 1958 Grenada joined the British West Indies
Federation, which in 1962 was again dissolved without much
regret. In 1967, the country became part of the State
Association of the British Antilles. That same year, Gairy
became prime minister when he won the election in August.
His main goal was total detachment from Britain.
GULP quickly succeeded in gaining some form of
semi-autonomy from the London Colony Administration, which
was slowly leading to independence. During the same period,
a left wing had emerged in Grenada in the form of the New
Jewel Movement (NJM). "Jewel" stood for: Joint Endeavor for
Welfare, Education and Liberation. Paradoxically, the NJM
went against a premature interruption of relations with the
colonial power. Many Grenadines therefore believed that the
left was personally governed by Gairy, who would thus
manipulate a population whose political insights were still