Carriacou Parish, Grenada
Carriacou Parish encompasses the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique which are dependency of Grenada. These lie some 23 miles north-east of Grenada and 50 miles south of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Lesser Antilles. The Grenadine islands to the north of Carriacou and Petite Martinique now 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, 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, is about 16 miles long and is 13 square miles (37.7 km2) holding a population of 4,595 (1991 census). The main villages on the island are Hillsborough, L'Esterre, Harvey Vale, and Windward.
The island has several natural harbors and many coral reefs and small offshore islets. The highest point on the island is High Point North at 955 ft (291 m) above sea level. Carriacou has no rivers which means that residents rely on rainfall for their water which they collect and store. There are two seasons, the wet and the dry and this dry season, which is between January and June when the Trade winds dominate the tropical climate, can cause problems with draught.
Its tiny neighbouring island of Petite Martinique, just 2½ miles away and also part of Grenada, covers only 586 acres (2.37 km2) and has a population of 900. The residents of this smaller island live by boat-building, fishing and seafaring. Carriacou and Petite Martinique is known for its Regatta and Village Maroon.
Historically Carriacou is known for having identified its first settlers through archaeological studies which has shown the islands were settled many years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean in 1492. The first inhabitants have been identified as Cibony Indians who would have migrated from the Amazon area of South America possible over 2000 years ago. They are considered cave dwellers who survived by fishing, living off wild fruits and hunting indigenous animals.
It seems that around 1 A.D these Cibony Indians were replace by the Arawaks who would have came from the northern bank of the Orinnco River in Venezuela. They were considered cultivators of vegetables, shrubs and fruits, and fished using nets and hooks. They excelled in the field of art and handicrafts producing some of the finest pottery of the time.
Then another group called Carib Indians, also from the Orinoco Basin area, swept through the islands around 1000 A.D. often capturing the Arawaks women and children but killing the adult men. The Caribs were a seafaring people hollowing out the trunks of silk-cotton trees with fire and stone axe to make their canoes. It is believed seeing the reefs surrounding Carriacou they named the island Kayryaouacou meaning “land of (many) reefs.”
† This is considered the seventh parish of the nearby island of Grenada.