On 7 February, Grenada observes its Independence Day, looking back to the day in 1974 when independence was granted by the UK after successful negotiations.
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Grenada long had a Native American population, but it was wiped out after the arrival of Europeans. Several European powers vied for control of the island over the years, but France had taken charge and established a thriving and strategic sea port of Fort Royal by 1650. The island was also valuable at the time for its sugar production, while today, it is a major centre of nutmeg production.
After France was defeated by Britain, Grenada went to the UK as part of the 1763 Treaty of Paris. This began a period of two centuries of British rule.
In the 1970’s, Grenada’s premier, Eric Gairy, began negotiations for independence from the UK. He was opposed by many in Grenada at the time, but ultimately, his vision of an independent Grenada became a reality. On 7 February, 1974, the new flag of an independent Grenada was raised on the island, and Gairy became the new nation’s first prime minister.
Every Independence Day, there are parades, street concerts, games, and numerous other public festivities all over Grenada. There is also a sailing festival, numerous tourist events, and much time spent celebrating together by local families.