We took an early but not hugely successful interest in the island. Then the French had a go in 1649, and after a while got pretty much the same reception from the locals. But the French seem to have been better prepared for such eventualities and after five years the fighting settled down.
By 1762, the Seven Years War was on (not, if you think about it, the most imaginative name for a sort of world war that did indeed last about seven years – it’s like calling the Second World War the Six Years War) and we were ready to have another go at Grenada. It wasn’t the most dramatic of invasions. Commodore Swanton arrived off the island with some ships and shortly afterwards was joined by more ships and some troops. The governor had already politely refused an invitation from Swanton to surrender, and on 4 March he now did the same to an invitation from Lieutenant Colonel Scott. Some of the population had other ideas and promptly surrendered, leaving the governor to shut himself up in the fort with his garrison. On 5 March, Brigadier General Walsh landed with grenadiers’ (grenadiers on Grenada) light infantry and the 27th Regiment. Walsh was just getting ready to assault the fort when the governor decided he had had enough as well and surrendered.
The French struck back in 1779 with a far more violent and noisy invasion of their own. The island surrendered and we had another bit of a disaster at the Battle of Grenada when a British fleet trying for an immediate recapture of the island got mauled by the French fleet because our admiral hadn’t really grasped how many French ships there were. Rather a problem that. Anyway, we got the island back under the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. In 1795, Julien Fedon, inspired by the French Revolution’s abolition of slavery, led a rebellion against British rule and thousands of the island’s slaves freed themselves and joined him. The rebellion was crushed by the end of 1796. Grenada became independent in 1974.