The island of Mustique in the Grenadines. *Photo from Wikipedia
October 27 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from United Kingdom in 1979.
The island now known as Saint Vincent was originally named Youloumain by the native Island Caribs who called themselves Kalina/Carina. The Caribs aggressively prevented European settlement on Saint Vincent until 1719. Prior to this, formerly enslaved Africans, who had either been shipwrecked or who had escaped from Barbados, Saint Lucia and Grenada and sought refuge in mainland Saint Vincent, intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Black Caribs or Garifuna.
The first Europeans to occupy St Vincent were the French. But St Vincent was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris (1763), after which friction between the British and the Caribs led to the First Carib War. The island was restored to French rule in 1779 and regained by the British under the Treaty of Versailles (1783). Like the French before them, the British also used African slaves to work plantations of sugar, coffee, indigo, tobacco, cotton and cocoa until full emancipation in 1838. Slavery was abolished in Saint Vincent (as well as in the other British colonies) in 1834, and an apprenticeship period followed which ended in 1838.
During the period of its control of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the British made several unsuccessful attempts to affiliate the island with other Windward Islands (the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies). This would have simplified Britain’s control over the region through a unified administration. In the 1960s, several regional islands under British control, including Saint Vincent, also made an independent attempt to unify.
Saint Vincent was granted “associate statehood” status (the collective name for a number of islands in the Eastern Caribbean whose status changed from being British colonies to states in free association with the United Kingdom in 1967) by Britain on October 27, 1969. This gave Saint Vincent complete control over its internal affairs but was short of full independence. On October 27, 1979, following a referendum, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country, which lies on the Caribbean Sea. The country is also known as St. Vincent.