Saturday, May 28, 2011

St Vincent – The Grenadines of - Caouan

Canouan is an island in the Grenadines Islands belonging to St Vincent. It is a tiny island, measuring only 3.5 miles by 1.25 miles. A barrier reef runs along the Atlantic side of the island. The highest point on the island is Mount Royal. Two bays, Glossy and Friendship, separate the southern side of the Canouan Island. Canouan lies approximately 25 miles south of St. Vincent which, from 1871 to 1969, was part of the British colony of the Windward Islands. Locals in need of supplies beyond basic staples routinely board cargo ships to make the two-to-three-hour passage to the main Island of Saint Vincent. A fast ferry service for the Grenadines commenced operations in June 2010 which reduces the journey to one hour. In 1979, the island became independent with a secure democratic government based on the British system. History marks more than 200 years before year zero; a cultivated tribe called the Arawaks arrived on bunker canoes to the island. These new residents brought fire-burners, plants and animals, basic farming and fishing skills with them. They lived in peace for 1500 years until a tribe of fierce fighters called the Caribs, invaded and killed the Arawak men and took off with their women.

More than 200 years after Columbus laid eyes on St. Vincent, the Europeans established a kind of permanent settlement. Its mountainous and heavily forested geography allowed the Caribs to defend against European settlement here longer than on almost any other island in the Caribbean. After the Caribs were defeated on other islands they joined slaves who had escaped repression on Barbados by following the current of trade winds westward to St. Vincent, as well as those who had survived shipwrecks near St. Vincent and Bequia. The mixed descendants of the island warriors and the freed Africans (who became known as the Black Caribs), with their common distrust and disgust for the Europeans, proved to be a fearsome foe. The Caribs feared complete domination so they allowed the French to construct a settlement on the island in 1719. The French brought slaves to work their plantations. By 1748, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle officially declared St. Vincent and its surrounding islands to be a neutral island, controlled by neither Britain nor France. The two countries continued to contest control of the islands, however, until they were definitively ceded to the British in 1814. Maria sent this lovely FDC. The four stamps feature The Clinic at Charlestown, The town Jetty, The arrival of the Mail Boat and the Grand Bay at Canouan Island.

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