Modern history in Grenada starts with the discovery of the island by Christopher Columbus in 1498; he named the island Concepcion and it is unclear how it derived its modern name.
After the initial discovery, little happened until 1609 when an attempted British settlement was driven away by locals. The French were the first to secure a fortified settlement in 1649 but it was not until 1664 that the island came under the rule of King Louis XIV of France.
The French developed the island for sugar, cocoa and coffee but the island was captured by the British in 1762 during the Seven Years’ War. Control of the island then fluctuated between the British and the French until the country was returned to the British as part of the Treaty of Versailles of 1783.
Fédons Rebellion, by a large number of the slaves on the island, broke out in 1795 but it was defeated by the British a year later.
In 1833 Grenada became part of the Windward Islands Administration and remained so until 1958. In 1925 the island was granted the right to elect five of the 15 members of the legislative council and this was increased to 8 elected members in 1950.
The first election held under universal suffrage was in 1951 with United Labour winning six of the eight seats; they held on to those seats in the 1954 election.
The Grenada National Party was founded in 1957 and in 1958 the Windward Islands Administration was dissolved and Grenada joined the short lived Federation of the West Indies. Grenada became the Associated State of Grenada in 1967 (a halfway stage to independence) and on 7th February 1974 the island gained full independence.
Eric Gairy of the Grenada United Labour Party became the island’s first prime minister after independence and went on to win the 1976 general election. He was, however, overthrown in a coup d’état in 1979 by members of the New Jewel Movement.
A People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) was established headed up by Maurice Bishop working to a Marxist-Leninist doctrine. The revolution was over within three years when in 1983 the military held their own coup d’état and executed most of the Cabinet including Bishop.
The military were defeated within months by a US-Caribbean force which invaded Grenada in October 1983. After the US forces withdrew Nicholas Braithwaite of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was appointed prime minister of an interim administration by the Governor-General. Fresh elections were held in December 1984 and Herbert Blaize and his Grenada National Party (GNP) won 14 of the 15 seats; Blaize served until his death in 1989.
Fresh elections in 1990 saw the election of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by Nicholas Braithwaite who became prime minister until 1995.
In the 1995 elections the New National Party (NNP) led by Keith Mitchell won eight of the 15 seats and in 1999 they took all 15 seats. The NNP and Mitchell went on to win the 2003 elections with eight of the 15 seats and in total held office for 13 years until their defeat in 2008.
The 2008 general election was won by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), after a break of 13 years, under the leadership of Tillman Thomas, taking 11 of 15 seats in the House of Representatives.
Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State
The bicameral parliament is composed of the Senate with 13 seats of which 10 members are appointed by the government and 3 by the leader of the opposition. The House of Representatives has 15 members elected by popular vote to serve five year terms.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Grenada at 46th out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 56 (where 100 is least corrupt).