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Its official name is "St. Vincent and the Grenadines," the Grenadines making up a group of 32 islands (some privately owned) in the Caribbean Sea.
The original inhabitants of the area were hunter-gatherers who were eventually displaced by an indigenous people from Venezuela. These newcomers farmed the land and harvested the bounty of the sea, but in time were conquered by the aggressive Caribs. Warriors that they were, the Caribs successfully resisted European attempts at conquest until the 18th century. In the meantime, a number of African slaves, escaping from shipwrecked slave ships (try saying that three times fast), settled and amalgamated with the inhabitants. They became known as "black Caribs," in comparison with the yellow-skinned natives.
In the early 1700s, St. Vincent and the Grenadines capitulated to the french, who began establishing slave-worked plantations for the cultivation of coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugar. France and England fought over the territory and it changed hands three times until, in 1783, England regained it.
Insurrection by black Caribs against England contibuted to social and political turmoil in the territory, but this was remedied by the large-scale extradition of over 5,000 of them, starting in 1796. Slavery was abolished there in 1834, though difficult working conditions continued well into the 1900s. In 1979, St. Vincent and the Grenadines gained independence, though it remains a parliamentary democracy