Grenada's first known inhabitants were the Ciboneys. The first settlers, the peaceful Arawaks, moved to the island from the Amazon Basin of South America. Around 1000 A.D., the warlike Caribs arrived from South America. They destroyed the Arawak settlements. In 1498 Christopher Columbus discovered Grenada; he called it Concepci'on.
The name Grenada came from Spanish sailors who, passing by, found its hills reminiscent of their homeland.
The island changed hands several times between Britain and France until it was awarded to Britain in the 1783 Treaty of Versailles.
In 1974 Grenada declared independence from Britain. Sir Eric Gairy served as Grenada's leader until 1979; these years were filled with governmental violence and oppression.
In quelling one protest march, Gairy forces shot the father of opposition leader Maurice Bishop. Public sympathy and Cuban support for Bishop increased until Gairy's government was overthrown.
Four years later in 1983, Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, a zealous Marxist, overthrew Bishop. At this point the Organization of Caribbean States requested help from the United States. The US intervened on Oct. 25, 1983 and Herbert Blaize was elected Prime Minister on Dec. 3, 1984.