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Carriacou - Early Beginnings

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Grenada is made up of the sister isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Carriacou is the bigger of the Sister isles.


The name of the island is of Amerindian origin. It means "the land surrounded by reefs".


The total size of Carriacou is 13 square miles.

View of Carriacou
View of Carriacou


Carriacou is located 23 miles north of Grenada and 2.5 miles from its neighbouring sister isle, Petite Martinique. Unique about Carriacou is the the relatively flatness of the lands, and that the only water bodies are the beaches which surround the island. The island is without any rivers.

Colonial occupation

Like the mainland, Carriacou was inhabited by the British and the French. Evident of the French occupation of the island are the names of places that remain today including:

  • Belair - Nice Air

  • Belmont - Nice hill

  • Belvidere - Beautiful view

  • Anse de la Roche - Bay of rocks

European influence can be seen in Carriacou dance and music. Quadrille music and dance has Scottish origin and Shakespeare mas is of British origin.

African influence

African influence can be found in may aspects of Carriacou culture and heritage.

  • Dance - Read more about Big drum dance.

  • Surnames - Cudjoe, Quamina, Quashie, and Cato are of the Cromanti nation. Cox, Mathurine, Fleary and Adams are of Ibo origin.

  • Religion - Shango is practiced and has roots in West Africa.


Local estates produced limes, cotton, corn, and pigeon peas. The Dumfries Estate was a lime factory that produced limes which were exported.

Early Development

The first secondary school built on island was Bishop's College. The school was built by the Anglican church in 1964.

Bishop College
Bishop's College

The first Carriacou Regatta was held in 1965. The founder of the regatta was a Jamaican man who had moved to Carriacou, John Linton Riggs. In 1973, Linton received an OBE for his contribution to Regatta and boat building in Carriacou.

Carriacou regatta

The only airport on island is the Lauriston Airport. Lauriston Airport was opened in 1968.

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