The history of St. Mark’s is not very heard of or talked about, hence, much is unknown of the history of St. Mark’s – also known as Sunset City – and its town Victoria.
Over time as more research is carried out, and community members share their stories, we would be able to write a comprehensive historical paper of St. Mark’s.
Saint Mark The Apostle
Saint Mark as we know is the author of the second gospel in the Holy Bible. He was a native of Libya and said to be the founder of Christianity in Egypt. He was a disciple of Jesus the Christ. The titles of Saint Mark includes The Evangelist, The Apostle, The Witness and The Martyr.
St. Mark’s became the official parish name after the island was restored to the British from the French, by the Treaty Of Versailles in 1783. It would be a fair guess that parishes were created by the British, and named after the saints in the Holy Bible.
The town now known as Victoria was called Grand Pauvre – part of the Quartier of Grand Pauvre – by the French, a name still remembered by the elders. The British renamed the town of Grand Pauvre to Victoria after Queen Victoria who ruled over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the nineteenth century. Grand Pauvre translated from French to English means ‘grand poor’ or ‘great poor’.
St. Mark’s as named by the British is a parish located on the northwestern coast of Grenada in the West Indies. The town of St. Mark’s is known as Victoria, (shortened by the locals to ‘Toria). It is a fishing town on the western side of the parish washed by the calm waves of the Caribbean sea.
A democratic system decides governance of Grenada, and St Mark’s has a local government representative, selected by voting at the polls once every four to five years, under normal circumstances. The current local representative is Dr Clarice Modeste, the minister of foreign affairs in Grenada’s government. She was previously a practising medical doctor in the parish.
St Mark’s boast the tallest mountain peak on the island of Grenada, – Mt St Catherine – a summit which towers 2,756 feet or 840 meters above sea level. The mountain and hilly terrains through the tropical rain forest of St. Mark’s makes the hike to Mt. St. Catherine a challenge for the fit. Nevertheless, it is a tradition of the residents of St. Mark’s to hike to the peak of Mt. St. Catherine during the St. Mark’s Festival also known as Sunset City Festival annually.
St. Mark’s has many waterfalls found along the river and stream courses. These waterfalls are mainly away from the public or in the mountain regions. St. Mark’s has the tallest waterfall on the island, located in Tufton Hall. It has a drop of approximately 25 metres. Please see our article on waterfalls.
Most Beautiful Sunset
Sunset City is the passionate name given to St. Mark’s by the locals, due to the beautiful sunset viewed on evenings in the parish, a sunset viewing boasting its uniqueness nationally.
The early inhabitants of St. Mark’s were the native Kalinago tribes also known as the Tainos or Caribs, and some of their markings can still be view on the rocks and stones in the parish.
The parish of St. Mark’s, was also inhabited by the French who built walls to change the course of the flow of the river. Some of the names of places in St. Mark’s, including La Resource, Bonjour, Bonair, Belair, Belmont, Duquense, etc., still retain their French names.
The French abandoned the parish for unknown reasons, and the British met the parish abandoned in the late 1700s. It was the British that named that parish St. Mark’s.
Historically, the parish of St. Mark’s since the invasion by the Europeans in the early 1400s contained agricultural estates (an estate is said to be a large farm exceeding 100 acres in size). Among the estates included the Bonair Estate, -owned by Charlie Phillip – the Diamond Estate, and the Waltham Estate. Elders in the community recalls living in a village called Belle View, and then later moving to the coast. The cause of this migration is still a mystery.
St. Mark’s Today
The people of Saint Mark’s are very humble, friendly and talented.
St. Mark’s remains widely underdeveloped in current times, even though in the past St. Mark’s was a bustling parish boasting the first shopping complex and also the earliest church on the island.
The first church on the island existed in Coast Guard, a village on the outskirts of Victoria.
The first shopping complex on the island, which was owned by the late PG Hosten, was located in Victoria in what housed in modern times, the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association.
Hopefully, along with the journey of writing our history, we find answers to the many unanswered questions..