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Saturday, November 26, 2011


Welcome country #192:  Grenada.


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Carib Indians inhabited Grenada when COLUMBUS discovered the island in 1498, but it remained uncolonized for more than a century. The French settled Grenada in the 17th century, established sugar estates, and imported large numbers of African slaves. Britain took the island in 1762 and vigorously expanded sugar production. In the 19th century, cacao eventually surpassed sugar as the main export crop; in the 20th century, nutmeg became the leading export. In 1967, Britain gave Grenada autonomy over its internal affairs. Full independence was attained in 1974 making Grenada one of the smallest independent countries in the Western Hemisphere. Grenada was seized by a Marxist military council on 19 October 1983. Six days later the island was invaded by US forces and those of six other Caribbean nations, which quickly captured the ringleaders and their hundreds of Cuban advisers. Free elections were reinstituted the following year and have continued since that time. Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada in September of 2004 causing severe damage.

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By the way, this Grenada is not in Mississippi.  You must instead surely remember our invasion of Grenada, the country in the Caribbean, nearly three decades ago.  We sent 1200 American troops and enjoyed   a victory at last (after Vietnam, we needed something positive), killing 59 Cubans and 45 Grenadian soldiers.  Eventually, 7,000 Americans occupied the country.  The date of the attack, 25October1983, is now a national holiday and is called Thanksgiving.

Why did President Ronald Reagan authorize the attack?  Well, we had a few medical students studying there and he was worried about their safety.  Okay, there might have been other reasons, as democracy was restored, but we were condemned by the United Nations, Canada and the UK for a flagrant violation of international law.  In Grenada today, opinions remain mixed.

Hmm...the population was about 100,000 in 1983 and is only 104,000 today (although the above shows 90,739--which must be an underestimate).  There are 41 hotels.

The day was particularly successful on television, as LSU, Stanford and the University of Hawaii all won.  The football watching was especially enjoyable because of the presence of Dillon, Carl, Rhonda, Evan, Laverne and Curtis:


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