Tuesday, July 26, 2005

History of Trinidad and Tobago

History of Trinidad and Tobago. This is a short and not entirely satisfying history of the Carribean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The emphasis of the essay is on recent political history rather than on the earlier days.

The islands lay off the coast of Venezuela. Many consider them to be part of South America. For world cup soccer (football) qualifying though the islands assert that they are part of the Carribean. This helps them avoid having to play Argentina and Brazil!

Of the earliest history of the islands, Wikipedia notes, "Human settlement in Trinidad dates back at least 7000 years. The earliest settlers, termed Archaic or Ortoiroid, are believed to have settled Trinidad from northeastern South America around 5000 BC. Twenty-nine Archaic sites have been identified, mostly in south Trinidad; this includes the 7000-year-old Banwari Trace site which is the oldest human settlement in the eastern Caribbean. Archaic populations were pre-ceramic, and dominated the area until about 200 BC."

From the site:

Columbus landed in Trinidad in 1498, and the island was settled by the Spanish a century later The original inhabitants--Arawak and Carib Indians--were largely wiped out by the Spanish colonizers, and the survivors were gradually assimilated. Although it attracted French, free Black, and other non-Spanish settlers, Trinidad remained under Spanish rule until the British captured it in 1797. During the colonial period, Trinidad's economy relied on large sugar and cocoa plantations. Tobago's development was similar to other plantation islands in the Lesser Antilles and quite different from Trinidad's. During the colonial period, French, Dutch, and British forces fought over possession of Tobago, and the island changed hands 22 times--more often than any other West Indian island. Tobago was finally ceded to Great Britain in 1814. Trinidad and Tobago were incorporated into a single colony in 1888.

1 comment:

vbarreto said...

You can look at Eric Williams' work. It is an excellent, though not perfect, exposition of a great deal of Caribbean history, including that of Trinidad and Tobago, of which he is a native.