1. An island state in the West Indies; an independent state within the British Commonwealth.
2. City in Mississippi (USA); zip code 38901.
Island country in the Caribbean, the southernmost of the Windward Islands.
The constitution, which dates from full independence 1974, provides for a system modeled on that of Britain, with a resident governor-general, representing the British monarch, as the formal head of state, and a prime minister and cabinet drawn from and collectively responsible to parliament.
Parliament consists of two chambers, a 15-member House of Representatives, elected by universal suffrage, and a Senate of 13, appointed by the governor-general, seven on the advice of the prime minister, three on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and three after wider consultation. Both serve five-year terms.
Prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus 1498, Grenada was inhabited by Carib Indians. The island was eventually colonized by France 1650 and ceded to Britain 1783. Grenada remained a British colony until 1958, when it joined the Federation of the West Indies until its dissolution 1962. Internal self-government was achieved 1967 and full independence within the Commonwealth 1974. The early political life of the nation was dominated by two figures: Eric Gairy, a labor-union leader who founded the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) 1950, and Herbert Blaize, of the Grenada National Party (GNP).
On independence 1974, Gairy was elected prime minister. He was knighted 1977, but his rule became increasingly autocratic and corrupt, and he was replaced 1979 in a bloodless coup by the leader of the left-wing New Jewel Movement (NJM), Maurice Bishop. Bishop suspended the 1974 constitution, established a People's Revolutionary Government, and announced the formation of a people's consultative assembly to draft a new constitution. He promised a nonaligned foreign policy but became convinced that the US was involved in a plot to destabilize his administration; this was strongly denied.
Grenada's relations with Britain and the US deteriorated while links with Cuba and the USSR grew stronger. In 1983 Bishop tried to improve relations with the US and announced the appointment of a commission to draft a new constitution. His conciliatory attitude was opposed by the more left-wing members of his regime, resulting in a military coup, during which Bishop and three of his colleagues were executed.
A Revolutionary Military Council (RMC), led by General Hudson Austin, took control. In response to public outcry at the executions, Austin promised an early return to civilian rule, but on 25 Oct about 1,900 US troops, accompanied by 300 from Jamaica and Barbados, invaded the island. It was not clear whether the invasion was in response to a request from the governor-general or on the initiative of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The RMC forces were defeated and Austin and his colleagues arrested.
new political parties.
In Nov 1983 the governor general appointed a nonpolitical interim council, and the 1974 constitution was reinstated. Several political parties emerged from hiding, including Eric Gairy's GULP and Herbert Blaize's GNP. After considerable maneuvering, an informal coalition of center and left-of-center parties formed the New National Party (NNP), led by Blaize. In the 1984 general election the NNP won a clear majority in the House of Representatives and Blaize became prime minister.
The US withdrew most of its forces by the end of 1983 and the remainder by July 1985. In party elections Jan 1989, Blaize lost the leadership of the NNP to Keith Mitchell but continued as prime minister. Blaize died Dec 1989 and was succeeded by a close colleague, Ben Jones. Elections in 1990 brought Nicholas Braithwaite of the National Democratic Congress to power. George Brizan succeeded Braithwaite as premier and NDC leader Sept 1994.
In 1991 representatives of Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada proposed federal integration of the Windward Islands.