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Exploring the Lasting Effects of French Colonization in Grenada: A Historical Perspective

The French colonized Grenada twice during its pre-independence history. The first period was for 114 years from 1649 to 1763. The second period was from 1779 to 1783. Thus, Grenada was under a French rule for 118 years.

Grenada was purchased by a French man named Du Parquet in 1650. Du Parquet ran into financial problems and Grenada was resold to Comte de Cerrillac in 1664.

While as a French colony, many aspects of Grenada were named with French names including parishes, villages and family surnames. Further, French influence can be found in our cultural traditions including Jab Jab and bélé dance. The patois language that is now extinct was formed as a Creole language stemming from the merging together of English and French words. Therefore, the influence of the French on the island is long lasting, and impactful as part of the Grenadian identity.

Original Parish names

The six parishes on mainland Grenada had French names.

  • Basseterre (St. George)

  • Ance Gouyave (St. John)

  • Grand Pauvre (St. Mark)

  • Sauteurs (St. Patrick)

  • Grand Marquis (St. Andrew)

  • Maigrin (St. David)

Names of Villages

There are over 70 villages with French names in Grenada. They include:

  • Beaulieu

  • Beausejour

  • Beauregard

  • Belair

  • Belle Isle

  • Belle Plain

  • Bellevue

  • Belmont

  • Belvidiére

  • Bonair

  • Café

  • Calliste

  • Carriere

  • Champ Fleurs

  • Chantimelle

  • Clozier

  • Concord

  • Crochu

  • Darbeau

  • Duquesque

  • Fontenoy

  • Gouyave

  • Grand bras

  • Grand Anse

  • Grand étang

  • Grand mal

  • Grand Roy

  • Gros Point

  • Jean Anglais

  • L'Esterre

  • La Poterie

  • La Baye

  • La Digue

  • La Femme

  • La Fillette

  • La Fortune

  • La Mode

  • La Sagesse

  • La Tante

  • La Taste

  • La Borie

  • Lance aux epines

  • Mardigras

  • Marigot

  • Marquis

  • Mirabeau

  • Moliniere

  • Mont Toute

  • Morne Delice

  • Morne Rouge

  • Morne Longue

  • Non Pariel

  • Palmiste

  • Perdmontemps

  • Petit Bacaye

  • Petit Esperance

  • Pomme Rose

  • Point Salines

  • Plaisance

  • Requin

  • Sans Souci

  • Sauteurs

  • Thebaide

  • Tivoli

  • Tuilleries

  • Vincennes

  • Vendome

Surnames of French origin

There are family surnames of French origin among the populace. Examples are:

  • Chateau

  • La Guerre

  • Pierre

  • Du Bois

  • Rogier

  • La touche

  • Lambert

  • Allard

  • De Roche

  • Toussaint

  • Du Point

  • Bernard

French words in Grenadian living and culture

There are several words that are referred to on a daily basis whose root is French. These words form part of the Creole language that is known as patois. Here are some examples:

  1. twavo - Someone who does road or repair work

  2. tout bagay - everything

  3. vaykivay - come what may in reference to someone who has to care or worries

  4. vini - to come

  5. tanti - aunt

  6. Jouvert - early morning

  7. kapich - to flatter someone by agreeing with them

  8. flambo - torch

  9. dingolé - to dance down in a party

Overall, the French has had a lasting influence on Grenada's heritage.


Mwen KA Alé, The French-Lexicon Creole of Grenada, by Marise La Grenada-Lashley

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