Carriacou and Petite Martinique

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Carriacou and Petite Martinique
Carriacou et La Petite Martinique
Anthem: Hail Grenada
Royal anthemGod Save the Queen
Location of Carriacou and Petite Martinique (red) relative to Grenada (white).
Location of Carriacou and Petite Martinique (red) relative to Grenada (white).
and largest city
12°28.9′N 61°27.5′W / 12.4817°N 61.4583°W / 12.4817; -61.4583
Official languages
  • Carriacouan
  • Petit Martiniquian
Government Dependency of Grenada
 -  Monarch Queen Elizabeth II
 -  Governor General Cécile La Grenade
 -  Prime Minister Keith Mitchell
 -  Member of Parliament Elvin G. Nimrod
 -  Minister for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs Elvin G. Nimrod
 -  Part of British Grenada 1763 
 -  Constituency 1944 
 -  Part of Grenada February 7, 1974 
 -  Total 37.7 km2
13.2 sq mi
 -  estimate 10,000
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Time zone (UTC−4)
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC−4)
Drives on the left
Calling code +1 473
Internet TLD .gd
a. The main patois language is Kweyol (French Patois).

Carriacou and Petite Martinique is a dependency of Grenada, lying north of Grenada island and south of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Lesser Antilles. The Grenadine islands to the north of Carriacou and Petite Martinique belong to the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Carriacou Island in the Caribbean Sea, is the largest island of the Grenadines, an archipelago in the Windward Islands chain. The island is 13 square miles (34 km2) with a population of 4,595 (1991 census). The main settlements on the island are Hillsborough, L'Esterre, Harvey Vale, and Windward.

The neighbouring island of Petite Martinique is 2½ miles away from Carriacou, and also a part of Grenada. With its 586 acres (2.37 km2) and population of 900, it is smaller than Carriacou. Petite Martinique is much smaller, comprising about 9.8% of the total area and 30% of the entire population which is estimated at 10,000. The residents of this island live by boat-building, fishing and seafaring. Carriacou and Petite Martinique is known for its Regatta and Village Maroon.


Carriacou is the largest of the Grenadines and is characterized by hilly terrain sloping to white sand beaches. The island stretches from Pegus Point in the south to Gun Point in the north and it is about 7 miles long.

The island has several natural harbors and many coral reefs and small offshore islets.[1]

The highest point on the island is High Point North at 955 feet (291 m)[2] above sea level. Carriacou has no rivers. Residents rely on rainfall for their water. There are two seasons, wet and dry seasons. The dry season is between January and June when the trade winds dominate the climate. The climate is tropical.



View from Hillsborough looking south over the beach.
Nautical Chart of Carriacou from 1891
A view of Hillsborough, Carriacou
Map of Carriacou Island near Grenada

The earliest settlers, the Amerindians, called Carriacou "Kayryouacou", meaning "the land of reefs."

In 1656, Père du Tertre from Guadeloupe visited Carriacou and he was the first French/European person (turtle Fisherman) to visit Carriacou. The island of Carriacou was originally settled by the French

In 1720, Bartholomew Roberts captured a French ship near Carriacou and commandeered it, renaming it the Royal Fortune. In 1750, the first census of the island was conducted, and there were 199 people (92 Whites, 92 Blacks and 15 Mixed Race) living in Carriacou. In 1763 was ceded with Grenada to the British when they captured neighbouring Grenada. In 1776, the island population was 3,239 (86 Whites and 3,153 slaves) people, not counting the free Blacks and the free Mulattos. In 1791, Gun Point (Rapid Point) which had been a division of the Grenadines, was made a latitude on the island, but the point belonged to Saint Vincent and the rest of Carriacou belonged to Grenada.

In 1870, Stephen Joseph Perry went in charge of a government expedition to observe a solar eclipse at Carriacou. The first record of a hurricane on the island was on August 14, 1944. Bishop's College was the first Secondary School in Carriacou, it was opened in 1964 and the Anglican Church established this school. In 1965 Lauriston airport/airstrip was opened. On October 31, 1975 Carriacou Carib Organization (CGO) began. In 1922, Petite Charles first introduced the Jab Jab (Devil) Mas to Carriacou. In the 19th century, the Pierrot Mas was first introduced to Carriacou. In 1965, the Carriacou Regatta began. The Telephone system began operating in 1961 on the island of Carriacou.

The inhabitants of Carriacou perform the "Big Drum" or "Nation" dance which celebrates their West African ancestors that were brought to the island during slavery. These Big Drum dances are usually performed at "Maroons" village festivals or fetes, where food and drink are prepared. They can also be danced at wakes and tombstone feasts in honor of dead relatives. The Quadrille dance is also performed on the island of Carriacou during festivals and historic events.

There still is a traditional boat-building culture located in the village of Windward, on the northeastern side of the island, where Carriacou's people of Scottish and Irish ancestry are concentrated.

Carriacouans have migrated to the United Kingdom, and especially to the county town of Bedford. It is said that if you live in Carriacou you will have a family member in Bedford, and if you live in Bedford you will surely know someone from Carriacou. Other English locations where Kayaks congregate are Huddersfield and South London (Lewisham) where the rector of St Stephens is the Archbishop of Canterbury's visitor to the Windward Island diocese. The USA, particularly New York City, is home to a significant number of Carriacouans. Many Carriacouans do return for holidays or to retire "back home".

Limes and citrus products were the leading exports during the 18th century.

Carriacou was part of the French colony in 1762. It was part of the British Grenada colony from 1763–1779 and 1783–1974. It was part of French Grenada colony from 1779–1783. It has been a dependency of Grenada since 1974.

Petite Martinique[edit]

The first European founder of the island of Petite Martinique was a French Fisherman called Mr. Pierre from Martinique. It is thought that he figured that the isle was shaped roughly like Martinique so he named it Petite (little) Martinique.

Recent history[edit]

The majority of the inhabitants today are of Indian, Scottish, Portuguese, French and African descent. There still is a British influence on the island as it was colonised by the British Empire and it is part of Grenada, a Commonwealth state. There is still a French influence which is demonstrated in village names, such as L'Esterre, La Resource, Beausejour, et cetera, and the local patois is still spoken. The main patois language is Kweyol (French Patois)

The Sacred Heart Church was the first Roman Catholic church on the of Petite Martinique and the first wooden building. It was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1940s and the Church standing today was built in 1947.

Though Hurricane Ivan in 2004 dealt a devastating blow to the island of Grenada, remarkably, Carriacou and Petite Martinique suffered significantly less damage. However, in 2005, Hurricane Emily hit Carriacou, damaging and forcing evacuation of its only hospital and destroying or damaging hundreds of homes.


Carriacou and Petite Martinique is a Grenadian Constituency. Elvin Nimrod, NNP, is the representative for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Constituency. George Prime, NDC, is the Minister of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs.


There are four major cultural festivals held on Carriacou and one on Petite Martinique. Carnival (see external link below) is held in February or early March. The Carriacou Regatta, held on the first weekend in August, is a racing event for locally built boats. In 2005, the Regatta celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Parang on the weekend prior to Christmas celebrates the island's traditional Christmas music and culture. Village Maroons all year round and since the turn of the millennium, and finally a new festival of growing popularity has been started – the Carriacou Maroon & String Band Music Festival held on the last week end of April of the year. On the week end of whitsuntide Petite Martinique holds their annual Whitsuntide Regatta.

National icons[edit]


National ..... Icon
Dish Coo-Coo, Stew Peas, Stew Pork, Rolled rice
Plant Flamboyant
Drink Jack Iron
Telephone company Cable & Wireless
Banks FCIB, Republic & Grenada Cooperative Bank
Hospital Princess Royal Hospital in Belair

Petite Martinique[edit]


Carriacou and Petite Martinique main transport system include roads and ferries. The people of Carriacou travel mainly by privately run 15 seater buses. Rental cars and taxis are also available and boats are commonplace. A smaller airport located in Lauriston, Carriacou is the Lauriston Airport, the island's major airport and a small ferry boat known as the "Osprey" that runs between Carriacou, Grenada and Petite Martinique. The short distances between the Grenadines enables travel between them by small boats.


Dry season is from January to June and the rainy season is from July to December.


Celsius °C Fahrenheit °F
Land 27–32 80–85
Sea 26–30 78–82

Petite Martinique[edit]

Celsius °C Fahrenheit °F
Land 27–32°C 80–85°F
Sea 26–30°C 78–82°F


Panoramic view on Carriacou

In Literature[edit]

Carriacou plays a central role in Paule Marshall's novel "Praisesong for the Widow." The memory of Carriacou (from which her parents emigrated to New York) figures prominently in Audre Lorde's autobiographical work Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.


  • KYAK106 - 106.3 FM Carriacou's Home Grown Radio Station.[1]
  • The Harbour Light of the Windwards is a local Christian radio station.
  • Sister Isles - 92.9 FM


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Carriacou". Professional Travel Guide. 
  2. ^ "National Park". Paradise Inn. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°29.0′N 61°27.7′W / 12.4833°N 61.4617°W / 12.4833; -61.4617