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Le Bourg du Grand Marquis

What do the ruins in this village tell us about Grenada's history?  The name “Marquis” was quite common in 17th century France (also used as a title for nobility), and several colonists of the La Grenade colony carried the name. For instance, “Fort Marquis” in Beausejour (yes, Beausejour) was named after its commander Lieutenant Le Marquis (later convicted for assisting a rebellion with one Major Le Fort). It was also the name given to an indigenous “Captain” on the eastern side of the island who presumably lived in the area of Marquis, St. Andrew today.1 The remains of his village were mostly destroyed when the French town of Grand Marquis was built, but there are still some remnants left. Indeed, unbeknownst to most people, the pre-Columbian site at Grand Marquis is one of only a handful that date before ~AD 500 in Grenada.
The Earliest Human PresenceIn 1992 (and again in 1994), archaeologist Anne Cody surveyed along the Little St. Andrew’s River behind the ruins of the old F…

The Grenadines Will Always Be Grenadian! (Because of Their Name)

The Grenadines, from Bequia to Carriacou, were once entirely owned and administered by Grenada, hence their original name Granada y Granadillos (<AmSp Granada + illos: “little Grenadas”). A few of the approximately 125 small islands, islets, and rocks were first settled by the French in the mid-1700s, the last islands to be colonized by Europeans, most likely due to their small size, arid landscape, and the absence of yearlong streams. Today, Carriacou, Petite Martinique, Ronde, and some 30 small islets are dependencies of Grenada. The rest are now part of St. Vincent.

In 1784, the Grenadines were officially partitioned on the recommendation of Lieutenant Governor Valentine Morris of St. Vincent who believed that the islands, especially those closer to his island, would be better served administratively and for security reasons if transferred to St. Vincent. Following the outbreak of the War of American Independence, Governor Morris had become weary that if Grenada was returned to…

Carriacou: “Land of Reefs” or “Land of Ramiers”?

The name Carriacou has intrigued us all, especially because its origin, like Camáhogne for Grenada, is indigenous and remains one of several islands that have retained or reverted to their original names (or some version of it, including Bequia, Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti).

Carriacou is, in fact, the Anglicized spelling of the Carib/Kalinago name for the island, which was recorded by Father Jean-Baptiste DuTertre as Kayryouacou in 1656 when he sailed past the island on his way to Grenada and observed:

“The most beautiful of all the little isles is Kayrioüacou, where I stopped long enough to note its peculiarities. It is a very beautiful and good isle, capable of supporting a colony: it is about eight or nine leagues in circumference, and on a line of land to the north (sic) it has a very beautiful bay, almost semicircular, and on the northern end of this bay there is a great rock [bluff] which protects one of the most beautiful harbors that I have seen in the islands” (DuTerte 1…