The southernmost of the British Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, Grenada is situated at about 12°N and 62°W. It was formerly part of the British West Indies, becoming independent in 1974. The island was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and originally named " Concepción." It was settled by the French in 1650 but occupied by Britain after 1783. The capital is St. George's, where there is a good harbor.
Climatically the islands lie in the NE trade wind belt, but are rarely struck by hurricanes. The precipitation is very variable, with a maximum on the windward side, ranging there to over 4000 mm, dropping to only 1000 mm in the S. The rainy season is from May to December. The greatest heat occurs from July to September, the maximum being 32.4°C and the minimum 19.9°C.
The coastline is strongly cliffed, especially on the western side, but the southern coast is more gentle, dissected into 20 long, drowned valleys (up to 1 km across and as much as 200 m deep).
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