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A Short History of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines




Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was also known as Hairouna which signifies Land of the Blessed to Carib settlers. Indian Caribs were the original inhabitants of the islands who prevented foreign settlement. In the 18th century though, African refugees found their new home within the Vincentian land hence the emergence of Black Caribbean lineage later on.

Among the Supreme European Empires, the Spaniards were the first to discover the territory. Although due to lack of substantial interest, they passed on the colonial opportunity to the French. In 1719, French rule was declared that lasted until 1763 in favour of Britain which seized the colony. It was only in 1779 when France reinstated its reign.

In 1783, Treaties of Versailles provided for the official turnover of the protectorate to the Kingdom of Britain. Along with the commencement of British power comes the national uprising of the Black Carib populace that was only concluded in 1796 which led to the banishment of most African Caribs (approximately more than 5,000).

Authorization of the Representative Assembly in 1776 marked the budding of national liberation. It was followed in 1877 by the institution of the Crown Colony Government. Later on Legislative Council (1925) and Right of Suffrage (1951) were incorporated into the political system.

Saint Vincent under Associate Statehood assumed internal governance in October 27, 1969. After ten years of internal autonomy, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines by virtue of the referendum (under Milton Cato) gained full independence making them the last Windward Islands to be conferred independent Statehood.

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