Maurice Bishop, National Democratic Congress, prime minister of Grenada, parliamentary elections, labor unrest
Grenada was discovered in 1498 by Christopher Columbus. Because of the hostility of the indigenous Carib people, the island remained uncolonized until 1650, when the French founded Saint George's. The British captured the island in 1762. It was recaptured by the French in 1779, but was ceded to Britain in 1783. During the 18th century slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar plantations. Grenada was administrative headquarters of the British Windward Islands from 1885 to 1958, and from 1958 to 1962 it was part of the Federation of the West Indies.
Grenada became independent on February 7, 1974. Eric M. Gairy, the first prime minister, was overthrown in 1979 in a coup d'etat headed by Maurice Bishop. A second coup and Bishop's murder were followed by an invasion by U.S. troops and a contingent from the Organization of East Caribbean States on October 25, 1983. U.S. combat troops were withdrawn by the end of the year, but contingents of U.S. and Caribbean technical and security advisers remained. Grenada was then governed by an Interim Advisory Council until December 1984, when parliamentary elections established Herbert A. Blaize, head of the coalition New National Party (NNP), as prime minister. After he died, national elections were held in March 1990, and a coalition government headed by Nicholas Brathwaite took office. An economic slowdown prompted by labor unrest led to a decline in Brathwaite's popularity in 1992 and 1993. In July 1994 Brathwaite announced that he would step down as the head of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and that he would resign as prime minister in 1995. Agriculture Minister George Brizan was elected as the head of the NDC in September and in February 1995 he replaced Brathwaite as prime minister. In June 1995 the NNP won 8 out of 15 parliamentary seats in national elections and replaced the NDC as the ruling party. NNP leader Keith Mitchell, a former university professor and minister of public works and communications, was sworn in as the prime minister of Grenada on June 22, 1995.
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