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Author Topic: History, Timeline and General informaton!  (Read 13225 times)

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History, Timeline and General informaton!
« on: February 15, 2012, 08:23:20 PM »


Trinidad, prior to Columbus' landing, was populated by Amerindians who lived in a largely agrarian society. It is believed that these people migrated from the South American mainland and eventually spread all the way up the Caribbean chain.

Spanish Period

Christopher Columbus discovered Trinidad during his third voyage in 1498. The story says that he named the island Trinidad after it's three peaks on the southern coast in thanksgiving for finding land after a long trip at sea. Columbus landed on the island and replenished his provisions, then continued on to Venezuela. He returned to Trinidad once again for provisions before continuing his voyage north.

The island remained largely ignored until 1532 when the first governor, Don Antonio Sedeno, arrived to start a colony. This and several further attempts were largely unsuccessful until St. Joseph was founded in 1592. The fact is that Spain truly had neither the manpower nor the economic strength to adequately support and develop the colony, and the setlers often times had to resort to trade with the British, and other rivals of the Spanish, just to survive.

This all changed in 1783 with the issuing of the Cedula of Population, which allowed any Catholic person to settle in the island. Although Catholics came from many countries, the French were by far the most numerous. It is said that the colony in this period was Spanish in name, but French for all other intents and purposes. These colonists began large scale agricultural development, which in turn necessitated the importation of large amounts of African slave labor. Until this time, slaves had been relatively scarce on the island.

British Period

Port of Spain In 1797, war in Europe had spread into the Caribbean. The British captured Trinidad without a shot, and it was formally ceded to England in 1802.

The British retained the Spanish constitution, which provided for a Governor , a council of appointed advisors known as the Council of Advice, and the Cabildo, an elected body. The Council of Advice eventually became the Legislative Council, and the Cabildo evolved into the Port of Spain City Council.

In 1834, the British abolished slavery. The slave owners then turned to indentured servitude to fill their labor needs, and thousands of immigrants were brought to the island. Some were Portuguese and Chinese, but most of the indentured were Indian. This practice continued until the early twentieth century, when the Indian government put an end to it.

Throughout the nineteenth century, the island experienced cycles of prosperity and recession, largely dependent on the world sugar industry


The British first claimed the island of Tobago in 1608, but it changed hands repeatedly for over 200 years. It was, at times, under the rule of both the French and the Dutch, but was finally ceded to England by France in 1763.

Tobago's economy was largely agricultural, but the relatively small size of the island made it nearly impossible to be truly self sufficient.



In 1889 Trinidad and Tobago were united as one colony. The early twentieth century saw the discovery of oil in Trinidad, which resulted in strong economic growth and prosperity. The island became strategically important and the Americans established several bases in Trinidad during WWII as a result of the Lend-Lease arrangement with England. Many an American serviceman returned to the US with a Trinidadian bride.


A drive for increased local rule and eventual independence began with the trade unions in the 1920's. Some constitutional reform was instituted, and universal sufferage was approved in 1945, but it was not until 1950 that the Legislative Council was modified so that the majority of the members were elected. The 1950 Constitution also provided for an Executive Council, and a ministerial system. The drive for self rule culminated with Independence in 1962, subsequent to the failed experiment called the British West Indian Federation.

Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic in 1976.


  • Guest
Re: History, Timeline and General informaton!
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 08:23:51 PM »
Comings & Goings

Our ancestors came to Trinidad and Tobago from many different places, and in a wide variety of circumstances. From the African slave to the petit noblesse of France, the indentured Indian to the British civil servant, they have blended together to form a true melting pot of a society. These pages will look at the different major groups that immigrated to and emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago, with an eye towards understanding the why, when, and how of their coming and going.

Why Migrate?

The circumstances under which our ancestors came into and left Trinidad and Tobago are many, but the reasons can usually be stated in one word: economics. Whether it was the slave that was forcibly brought to the island, or the individual seeking opportunities in the United States during one of the many downturns, it all revolved around economics.

Trinidad Immigration Timeline

pre-Columbus (before 1498)
When Columbus arrived in 1498, he found several tribes of Amerindian peoples inhabiting the island. The two largest groups were the Arawaks and the Caribs. The Arawaks lived in the southern part of the island, and were largely agrarian. The Caribs, on the other hand, lived in the northern part, and were very warlike. They made periodic raids on their neighbors to the south in Trinidad, as well as some of the other islands. It is believed that they had migrated from the Amazon region of South America.

These natives were eventually subdued and gathered into "missions" to be civilized and taught religion by Spanish priests. They eventually died out due to disease and forced servitude. A small group of people in Trinidad claim descent from the original Carib natives.

Pre-Emancipation Development (1498-1834)
The Spanish made several attempts to settle the island, but it wasn't until the establishment of the town of San Josef de Oruna (present day St. Joseph) in 1592 that this goal became a reality. Due to a lack of commitment and resources, however, Trinidad was really a backwater outpost until the Cedula of Population was issued in 1783 and the subsequent influx of settlers. Although these immigrants were primarily French, some Irish, English and German people arrived during this period as well. With this economic growth came an increase in the slave trade, and the African population swelled significantly at this time.

Post-Emancipation Labor Shortages (1834-1917)
With the emancipation of the slaves in 1834, Trinidad planters faced a severe shortage of labor. Group after group of immigrants were brought in to fill this need. The major groups were:

    * 1834-1848 West Indians
    * 1834-1860 Portuguese (mostly Maderians)
    * 1836-1840 Europeans including English, Irish, Scots, Germans, Swiss, and French
    * 1841 Americans from Pennsylvania and Baltimore
    * 1844-1917 East Indians
    * 1849-1866 Chinese

The Oil Boom
The discovery of oil in Trinidad resulted in an economic boom. Many workers were needed to perform the work, and experienced oil men came from all over the world. Unexperienced labor came primarily from local sources, as well as other West Indian islands.

Other immigrants included Corsican, Lebanese and Syrian merchants, and members of various religious orders.


  • Guest
Re: History, Timeline and General informaton!
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 08:51:32 PM »
Trinidad Slave Census of 1813


Number of slaves 25,696
Creole (i.e born in the West Indies) 11,633 (46% of total)
African 13,984 (54% of total)


Ibo (S.E. Nigeria) 2,863 - 20% of African
Congo (Congo) 2,450 - 20%
Moco (Cameroons) 2,240 - 17%
Mandingo (Senegambia) 1,421 - 10%
Kormantyn (Ghana - includes Fanti, Ashanti & others) - 1,068 - 7%
Kwakwa (Ivory Coast) 473 - 3%
Sierra Leone (Temne 169, Sisu 145, Kissi 63) - 377 2.5%
Ibibio (Nigeria) 371 - 2.5%
Raddah (Dahomey) 281 - 2%
Chamba (Nigeria?) 275 - 2%
Fulani (N. Sierra Leone) 171 - 1.2%
Popo (Dahomey) 112 - 1%
Hausa (N. Nigeria) 109 - 1%
Yoruba (W. Nigeria) 10 - 0.07%
Various tribes under 1% 818 - 6%
Only port of departure known - 8.73%

Source: "Seven Slaves and Slavery - Trinidad 1777-1838", by Father Anthony de Verteuil C.S.Sp., Scrip-J Printers, Port-of-Spain, 1992.


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Re: History, Timeline and General informaton!
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 09:15:25 PM »

« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 01:05:08 PM by truetrini SC »


  • Guest
Re: History, Timeline and General informaton!
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2012, 08:38:04 PM »
 Good reading.

Braithwaite, Lloyd.  Social Stratification in Trinidad  , 1975 [1953].

Brereton, Bridget. A History of Modern Trinidad 1783– 1962 , 1981.

Harewood, Jack, and Ralph Henry. Inequality in a Post-Colonial Society: Trinidad and Tobago , 1985.

Hill, Errol. The Trinidad Carnival: Mandate for a National Theatre , 1972.

LaGuerre, John G., ed. Calcutta to Caroni: The East Indians of Trinidad , 1985 [1974].

Mendes, John. Cote ce Cote la: Trinidad and Tobago Dictionary , 1986.

Miller, Daniel. Modernity—An Ethnographic Approach: Dualism and Mass Consumption in Trinidad , 1994.

Oxaal, Ivar. Black Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Race and Class in Trinidad , 1982.

Reddock, Rhoda E. Women, Labour and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: A History, 1994.

Rohlehr, Gordon. Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad , 1990.

Ryan, Selwyn, ed., Trinidad and Tobago: The Independence Experience 1962–1987, 1988.

Stuempfle, Stephen. The Steelband Movement: The Forging of a National Art in Trinidad and Tobago , 1995.

Vertovec, Steven. Hindu Trinidad: Religion, Ethnicity and Socio-Economic Change , 1992.

Wood, Donald. Trinidad in Transition: The Years After Slavery , 1968.

Yelvington, Kevin A., ed. Trinidad Ethnicity , 1993.

Read more: Culture of Trinidad and Tobago - history, people, women, beliefs, food, customs, family, social, dress

Offline Daft Trini

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Re: History, Timeline and General informaton!
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2012, 10:33:42 AM »
TC yuh know where I could get ah copy of Dr Williams, first Pnm manifesto?


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Re: History, Timeline and General informaton!
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 08:04:49 AM »
Yes I will pm you later I have a copy in my possession