Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 08:41 UK

Timeline: Grenada

A chronology of key events:

1498 - Christopher Columbus sights the islands, which he names Grenada after the Spanish city.

Capital of Grenada St George's
St George's, a yachting hub of the eastern Caribbean
Population: 4,400

1650 - French settlers from Martinique establish a colony and found Saint George's, the present capital.

1783 - France cedes Grenada to Britain in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles; African slaves brought in to work on the cotton, sugar and tobacco plantations.

1795 - Abortive rebellion against British rule led by Julien Fedon, an African planter who was inspired by the French Revolution.

1834 - Slavery abolished.

1885-1958 - Grenada acts as administrative headquarters of the British Windward Islands.

1950 - Grenada United Labour Party founded by Eric Gairy.

1958-62 - Grenada is part of the British-sponsored Federation of the West Indies.

1967 - Grenada becomes autonomous, with foreign and defence affairs remaining under British control.

Independence, revolution and invasion

1974 - Grenada becomes independent with Eric Gairy as prime minister.

1979 - PM Eric Gairy ousted in coup organised by the leftist New Jewel Movement and led by Maurice Bishop, who proceeds to strengthen ties with Cuba and the US.

Former prime minister of Grenada Eric Gairy (1970 picture)
Post-independence PM Eric Gairy was ousted in 1979 coup
Born in 1922
Prime minister 1974-79
Died in 1997
Named country's first national hero in 2008

1983 - Bishop ousted and executed by former left-wing allies led by General Hudson Austin, who objected to his attempts to improve ties with the US; coup provides pretext for an invasion by the US; Austin arrested; Interim Advisory Council reinstates 1974 constitution.

1984 - Herbert A Blaize becomes prime minister after his centre-left New National Party (NNP) wins the general election.

1989 - Blaize remains prime minister after being replaced as head of the NNP; he later dies and is replaced by Ben Jones.

1991 - Coalition government headed by Nicholas Braithwaite, of the centrist National Democratic Congress (NDC) takes office after an inconclusive general election.

1995 February - Agriculture Minister George Brizan becomes prime minister after resignation of Braithwaite.

Mitchell election victory

1995 June - Keith Mitchell becomes prime minister after his NNP wins general elections with comfortable majority.

US forces in Grenada in 1983; the US sent in 6,000 marines
6,000 US marines overthrew leaders of 1983 coup

1999 - Prime Minister Keith Mitchell's NNP wins landslide in general elections, taking all 15 seats in parliament.

2000 April - Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up with South African help to examine political upheavals of the "Revolutionary Years" between 1976 and 1983.

2000 September - Three Chinese diplomats on a private visit are deported for statements construed as interference in the internal affairs of Grenada. They were invited by the newly-formed Grenada-China friendship association of opposition leader Michael Baptiste.

2001 - Grenada blacklisted by Paris-based Financial Action Task Force for not doing enough to tackle money-laundering. Government begins review of offshore banking.

2001 - Opposition criticises government for establishing diplomatic ties with Libya and for Prime Minister Mitchell's trip to Tripoli. He went as part of an Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) delegation seeking economic help after a drop-off in aid from the US, UK.

Former prime minister of Grenada Nicholas Braithwaite
Nicholas Braithwaite, PM from 1990-95

2001 December - Canada imposes visa regime on holders of Grenada passports, which can be bought, over security fears following 11 September attacks. Grenada had earlier suspended sales to avoid awarding citizenship to terrorists.

2001 December - Underwater volcano Kick'em Jenny off the Grenada coast erupts, but does not break the water's surface.

Money-laundering tackled

2002 February - Paris-based Financial Action Task Force removes Grenada from blacklist of countries said to be insufficiently cooperative in fight against money-laundering.

Wreckage from Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan destroyed, damaged 90% of buildings

2002 - Major organic banana project launched in an effort to boost the industry; 150 acres are set aside for organic cultivation.

2003 June - US Treasury Department's financial crimes agency withdraws its 2002 advisory on Grenada as efforts continue to clean-up offshore banking.

2003 November - Prime Minister Keith Mitchell narrowly wins a third term in office.

Hurricane devastation

2004 September - Grenada takes a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan - the country's worst hurricane in living memory. Prime Minister Mitchell declares a national disaster; he says the island is 90% devastated.

2005 January - Grenada re-establishes diplomatic ties with China, favouring Beijing over its former diplomatic partner Taiwan.

2005 July - Still recovering from 2004's Hurricane Ivan, Grenada is hit by Hurricane Emily. The storm kills one person, destroys crops and damages homes.

2007 February - UK-based Privy Court rules that 14 prisoners who were sentenced to death over the 1983 coup should be re-sentenced. It says the sentences, handed down in 1986, are illegitimate.

2008 February - Former prime minister Sir Eric Gairy is named as the country's first National Hero on 34th anniversary of independence.

2008 July - The National Democratic Congress takes a clear victory in elections, taking 11 parliamentary seats to the New National Party's four. The surprise win denies Keith Mitchell a fourth term in office, and Tillman Thomas of the NDC takes over as prime minister.

2009 September - The last seven of the 17 men convicted over the 1983 coup and murder of PM Maurice Bishop are released from prison after serving out their sentences.

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