About Carriacou Island

 

Carriacou, at just 13 square miles and with a population of approximately 7,000 people, is the largest and most southern island in the Grenadines. It is part of the independent tri-island nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, and is 23 miles northeast of Grenada at 12 28' N, 61 28' W.

 

From the many discoveries on Carriacou of pottery and tools, it is known that around 1000 AD. Arawaks, followed by Caribs, both from South America, settled on the island. The earliest written records go back to 1656 when the name was spelt Kayryouacou, originating, it is believed, from the Carib meaning "land surrounded by reef".

 

Carriacou was settled by the French, but in 1763 was ceded with Grenada to the British. The majority of the inhabitants today are of African descent, with the influence in the island mainly British, such as driving on the left, though French names are still noticed, especially in the L'Esterre area. The village of Windward was home to a group of Scottish boat builders who settled here in the 19th century. The Scottish names and boatbuilding skills have been passed down through the generations. Many locally built boats from small fishing sloops to large trading schooners are seen in the Carriacou waters.

 

Historically, Carriacou produced cotton, sugar, limes, coffee and cocoa. Today the inhabitants grow corn, pigeon peas, okra and watermelon for their own consumption and subsistence farming, live stock rearing, fishing, construction and seafaring form the main occupations.