(Raconté par William Thomas Le Sauteur)


The island was sighted by Columbus during his third voyage in August 1498. He called the island "Conception", the inhabitants called it "Camerhogne". The name given by Columbus was used for 11 years.

In 1500, Alonso de Hojeda, Amerigo Vespucci and Juan de la Cosa, a map maker, sailed the entire length of the Windward Islands or West Indies and they re-named all the islands calling Conception (Grenada) "Mayo" a name appearing on maps of 1516 to 1522, after which the name appears not to have been used. From 1523 the name "Granada" appears on all maps for upwards of a century, apparently a decision of the Turin-Spanish map and some influential Spanish travellers who found that the island was marked but not named on the famous Vatican Globe.

The French turned the Spanish Granada into "Le Grenade" and the English into Grenada, its present name.

The inhabitants were called "Caribs", short for cannibals. They learned to assess the quality of the flesh of the different nationalities, French being the best and most tasty, but Spanish so tough it was all they could do to eat it. They killed and ate a Christian in Porto Rico which made them ill and many died, so after that they lost desire to eat Christians, they just killed them.

The French landed in Grenada on 20th June 1650 under M. du Parquet with 200 men and a prefabricated wooden house to be set up as a fort. Peace prevailed as the French gave the Caribs cloth, axes, bill hooks, knives, glass beads and mirrors etc. and best of all, two quarts of "eau-de-vie" (brandy).

But eight months later the Caribs regretted having surrendered and killed all isolated Frenchmen as easy prey. At last the French Governor decided to make war on the Caribs and set off from St. George with a 100 men by sea up the west coast to attack the strongest of their Carbets or villages on a mountain peak near Mount St. Catherine, 2756 ft above sea level. The French attack proved abortive, but lead to a second more powerful formation of 300 men with the object of driving the Caribs north and out of the island.

The Caribs after their first success secured reinforcements from other islands and attacked the Fort of St. George. The French held their fire until the last moment proving to the Caribs that bows and arrows were no match for firearms.

The Caribs prudently dispersed but were pursued by the French to the summit of the high mountain peak which had been the scene of the previous engagement. Here some 80 Caribs were killed, but the 40 which were left rushed down the hillside to the sea and seeing they found themselve on the edge of a steep cliff washed by the sea, they threw themselves over it and perished to a man.

The spot is now called "Le Morne des Sauteurs" (Leapers Hill).The village which sprang up near by is still called "Sauteurs". The first map recording the name "Pte et Rivière des Sauteurs" was published in Paris 1717.

The war of French versus Carib went on until 1654 ending in massacre where quarter was not given by either side. Even after the Guerilla, Caribs continued the fight until 1657 when du Parquet sold Grenada to Count de Cerilla.

Thus the story of SAUTEURS in Grenada ends, as to say that the family name was used to perpetuate this horrific act of desperate group of islanders who had traded their island rights and privileges for a few glass beads and then realised too late of their mistake.

The forgoing notes result from a perusal of   "The History of the Island of Grenada 1650-1950" by Father Raymund Devas O.P.,M.C. a Grenadian Priest, published by the Extra Mural Dept. of the University of Grenada in 1964. The book is extremely well referenced, written in the first person, needs very great care in reading to fully comprehend in view of the metaphor which I would presume is Grenadian. It took around 10 months for my local library to locate the book, the copy of which I had on loan showed it had been out only 5 times since 1975, obviously not popular reading! (William Thomas LeSauteur, 1990).


Une carte récente de Grenada.  Plein nord,
on y trouve la baie et le village SAUTEURS.
A recent map of Grenada where we find the bay and the village SAUTEURS.
in the north.


Engin de recherche
Taper un mot clé