Grenadines > Carriacou


Carriacou is an island of the Grenadine Islands located in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, northeast of Grenada and the north coast of South America. The name is derived from the Carib language Kayryouacou.


Carriacou is a dependency of Grenada and part of the Carriacou and Petite Martinique Constituency.


Carriacou is the largest island in the Grenada Grenadines. It is also the largest island in the Grenadine Islands (Vincentian and Grenadian Grenadines). It is located at latitude 12° 28' N, longitude 61° 27' W.


Carriacou is home to 8,000 people. The capital city is Hillsborough, the only town or city on the island. The rest of the island settlements are very small villages. There are more than 100 rum shops in Carriacou. Carriacou is home to Herbert Augustus Blaize, the founder of GNP (Grenada National Party) and the former Chief Minister of Grenada. Carriacou is a popular vacation destination for Grenadians. Noteworthy beaches in Carriacou include Paradise Beach and Anse La Roche. European (English or French) dances, such as the Quadrille, are still popular on the island today. The Big Drum dance is the most popular dance on the island and is performed on a special occasions. Carriacou is reputed to be the friendliest, healthiest and safest island in the Caribbean. Carriacou's Pierrot, or Shakespeare Mas, is originally from Mt.Royal.

National facts


Carriacou is known as the "Isle of Reefs", and features some of the most unspoiled coral reefs in the region. Most diving takes place on the calmer Caribbean side of the island, where 33 dive sites suitable for all levels of divers can be found. Depths range from 12 m (39 ft) down to a maximum of 30 m (98 ft). Visibility is good throughout the year, with excellent opportunities for underwater photography.

All of Carriacou's dive sites boast a spectacular array of vibrant corals and schooling fish that have made the Caribbean a famous diving hotspot. Dive sites range from the tranquil and sheltered for beginners and underwater photography enthusiasts to fast drifts for those that love a challenge. Carriacou also features two wreck dives: the Westsider and Boris tug boats, both 30 m (98 ft) long, which were sunk as artificial wrecks for divers in 2004 and 2007 respectively.

Underwater fauna

As well as all the usual Caribbean reef fish, large nurse sharks, barracudas, Southern & roughtail stingrays, as well as spotted eagle rays, hawksbill and green turtles are frequently sighted. During the summer months spectacular schools of silversides may be seen. During late spring, humpback whales migrate past the island, and their song can be heard by scuba divers from a long way off.


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


The first record of a hurricane on the island was on August 14, 1944. In 1955 the second floor of the Beausejour great house was blown away by Hurricane Janet. Recent hurricanes: Hurricane Ivan on September 7, 2004 and Hurricane Emily on July 13, 2005.


Between 500 and 1000 AD\CE, Amerindians came to Carriacou. These Carib settlers called Carriacou Kayryouacou, meaning "the land of reefs."

In 1656, Jean-Baptiste Du Tertre, a turtle fisherman living in Guadeloupe, visited Carriacou. He was the first recorded French/European person to visit the island. It was colonized first by the French among the European newcomers.

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. It recorded 199 people (92 Whites, 92 Blacks and 15 Mixed Race, people of African descent were mostly enslaved) living in Carriacou.

In 1763 near the end of the Seven Years' War, Carriacou was ceded with Grenada by the French to the British after their defeat in the war. In addition, the British had captured neighbouring Grenada. In 1776, the island population was 3,239 (86 Whites and 3,153 slaves), not counting the free Blacks and the free Mulattos or people of color. In 1791, Gun Point (Rapid Point), which had been a division of the Grenadines, was made a latitude on the island. The Point belonged to Saint Vincent and the rest of Carriacou belonged to Grenada.

In 1870, Stephen Joseph Perry led a British government expedition to observe a solar eclipse at Carriacou. In the 19th century, the Pierrot Mas was first introduced to Carriacou. In 1922, Petite Charles first introduced the Jab Jab (Devil) Mas to Carriacou. The telephone system began operating in 1961 on Carriacou. Bishop's College was the first secondary school in Carriacou; it was opened in 1964 by the Anglican Church. In 1965, the Carriacou Regatta began. In 1965?1968 Lauriston airport/airstrip was opened. On October 31, 1975, the Carriacou Carib Organization (CCO) began.

The inhabitants of Carriacou perform the "Big Drum" or "Nation," dance which celebrates their West African ancestors who 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 during festivals and historic events.

A traditional boat-building culture located in the village of Windward, on the northeastern side of the island. Carriacou's people of Scottish and Irish ancestry are concentrated here.

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 (nickname for people from Carriacou) congregate are Huddersfield and South London (Lewisham). The rector of St Stephens is the Archbishop of Canterbury's Visitor to the Windward Island diocese. The United States, 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.

Colonial history

On 27th Sep 1650, Jacques du Parquet bought Grenada from the Compagnie des Iles de l'Amerique, which was dissolved, for the equivalent of £1160. In 1657, Jacques du Parquet sold Grenada to the Comte de Cerrillac for the equivalent of £1890. In 1664, King Louis XIV bought out the independent island owners and established the French West India Company. In 1674 the French West India Company was dissolved. Proprietary rule ended in Grenada, which became a French colony.

Carriacou was part of the French colony in 1762. Following French defeat in the Seven Years' War, it ceded its territories to Britain. The island 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.

On November 1, 1983 during Operation Urgent Fury, two companies from the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit made a combined sea and helicopter landing on Carriacou. The nineteen Grenadan soldiers defending the island surrendered without a fight. This was the last military action of the campaign.

Native name

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Carriacou was spelled 'Kayryouacou' in Carib.

Notable residents

In literature

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All content originates from the English Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0