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Geography of the Grenada

Map Page 1137
Area 133 square mile (344 square kilometer)
Population 89,258
Capital Saint George’s
Highest Point 2,756 foot (840 meter)
Lowest Point 0 m
GDP per capita $5,000
Primary Natural Resources timber, tropical fruit, agricultural products.

GRENADA IS AN independent island country in the Caribbean Sea. It is a member of the British Commonwealth. The country was in the news in 1983, when the United States led a successful military invasion of the island to protect U.S. citizens there and to restore the island’s parliamentary form of government. Free elections have taken place there ever since. Grenada is 1 of the smallest nations in the Western Hemisphere; it is about twice the size of Washington, D.C. The country consists of the main island of Grenada, which makes up three-fourths of the country’s total land area, as well as hundreds of mostly uninhabited tropical islets. Three landscapes divide the main island: a coral-lined shore, an agricultural plain fringed by mangrove swamps, and a mist-shrouded volcanic highland. Tropical storms and hurricanes traveling from the Atlantic Ocean menace the islands each year. Volcanic eruptions also threaten the tiny nation: A volcano (Mount St. Catherine) dominates the main island of Grenada and a submarine volcano (Kick-Em-Jenny), which is the most active volcano in the Windward Islands region, rumbles fitfully 5 mile (8 kilometer) offshore. The climate is the tropical-wet type. Temperatures average a sweltering 84 degrees F (29 degrees C) throughout the year. Northeast-flowing trade winds assure abundant moisture from June through November, when the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) passes over the islands. Precipitation decreases noticeably when the ITCZ shifts south during the remainder of the year. Due to the prevalence of the northeast trade winds, there is a prominent rain shadow area on the leeward (southwest) side of Mount St. Catherine. All but about 700 of the country’s population lives on the main island of Granada. Approximately 82 percent of the people are black, 13 percent mixed black and European, and 5 percent European and East Indian. The only large urban center is the capital, St. George’s (population 4,300). English is the official language, but most people also speak French patois. The main island’s impressive production of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves earns it the nickname Spice Island. Bananas, cocoa, citrus, avocados, sugar cane and root crops also earn income. Industry involves agricultural processing, construction, offshore financing, and tourism. Grenada was the world’s second-poorest country based on the percentage of the population living below the poverty line in 2003. (Dominica, which is also a Caribbean nation, ranked first.)

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