Grenada (/ɡrᵻˈneɪdə/; French: La Grenade) is an island country in the southeastern Caribbean Sea consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain. It is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Its size is 344 square kilometres (133 sq mi), and it had an estimated population of 110,000 in 2012. Its capital is St. George's. Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" due to its production of nutmeg and mace crops, of which it is one of the world's largest exporters. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada dove.
Before the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, Grenada was inhabited by the indigenous Arawaks and later by the Island Caribs. Christopher Columbus sighted Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the Americas. Although it was deemed the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest the Spanish ever landed or settled on the island. Following several unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to colonise the island due to resistance from the Island Caribs, French settlement and colonisation began in 1650 and continued for the next century. On 10 February 1763 Grenada was ceded to the British under the Treaty of Paris. British rule continued, except for a period of French rule between 1779 and 1783, until 1974. From 1958 to 1962 Grenada was part of the Federation of the West Indies, a short-lived federation of British West Indian colonies. On 3 March 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs as an Associated State. Herbert Blaize was the first Premier of the Associated State of Grenada from March to August 1967. Eric Gairy served as Premier from August 1967 until February 1974.
Independence was granted on 7 February 1974, under the leadership of Eric Gairy, who became the first Prime Minister of Grenada. In March 1979, the Marxist–Leninist New Jewel Movement overthrew Gairy's government in a coup d'état and established the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop as Prime Minister. On 19 October 1983 hard-line Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis, backed by the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop and placed Bishop under house arrest. Bishop was later freed by popular demonstration and attempted to resume power, but was captured and executed by soldiers. On 25 October 1983 forces from the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) and the United States invaded Grenada in an operation code-named Operation Urgent Fury. The invasion was highly criticised by the governments of Britain, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, along with the United Nations General Assembly. Elections were held in December 1984 and were won by the Grenada National Party under Herbert Blaize who served as prime minister until his death in December 1989.
On 7 September 2004, after being hurricane-free for 49 years, the island was directly hit by Hurricane Ivan, which damaged or destroyed 90% of the island's homes. On 14 July 2005 Hurricane Emily struck the northern part of the island, causing an estimated USD $110 million (EC$297 million) worth of damage.