|Trinidad Tobago History|
Trinidad & Tobago is a small nation in the Southern Caribbean sea, lying to the northeast of Venezuela and forming part of the Lesser Antilles. As the name may suggest, the country is formed by two islands, that of Trinidad and the much smaller island called Tobago; which lies to the north of Trinidad. About 6% of the total area of Trinidad & Tobago is Tobago and there are other islands and land masses that make up another small part of the nation. So what happened in this country before now? A trip down memory lane into Trinidad & Tobago history is likely to hold some of the answers.
Trinidad & Tobago history certainly gets off to an early start as Trinidad was the first Caribbean island to be inhabited. This was 7,000 years ago and it was inhibited by Amerindians. Most likely to be the Arawak tribes, these were a peaceful and deeply religious tribe who had settled on many of the islands in the Caribbean. Only Tobago was invaded by the powerful Carib tribes.
It was first discovered in 1498 by none other than the famous Christopher Columbus, possibly the most famous of all explorers. Subsequently, the islands were claimed by Spain to be used as a more strategic post than a profitable venture. The Spanish held the islands throughout the 1700s but were unwilling to make a lot of use from it.
A few slaves came to the islands but the dense forests meant that many believe the islands were mostly inhabited. French Catholics moved to the islands in 1776 but this was only after swearing allegiance to the King of Spain. Land was granted to people from all over Europe and extra land was granted for each slave they bought.
Trinidad and Tobago was discovered by a British explorer who claimed the islands with no violence. This amalgamates to English islands that spoke the French language, while following the Spanish laws. Under the British control, more slaves were brought to the islands and more estates were allocated. The islands were one of the slowest growing in the Caribbean and the British wanted this to change.
After the abolition of slavery, the islands were left with a severe shortage of labor and various other nationalities were introduced. The reliance upon sugarcane and other plantation crops continued well into the 19th century.
Economic Growth and Independence in Trinidad
The face of Trinidad & Tobago history was all about to change in 1857 when they struck oil - literally. It is said to have been the first successful oil well in the world and this certainly became a big business in the islands. Trinidad is estimated to be exporting 150,000 barrels of oil per day as of the year 2005. This has been the main industry in Trinidad and Tobago for the last century.
Black power movements and various other political pressures eventually ensured that Trinidad & Tobago history moved away from Britain and gained its independence in 1962. It later went on to become a republic in 1976 and is now autonomous.
Trinidad & Tobago history has certainly shed some light on the islands' past and you can't say it is particularly lacking. The islands were incredibly unique; the first successful oil well was dug there and the political situation leading up to this is fascinating. The people of one nation, the language of another and the laws of a third - completely unseen before and a great asset to a hugely interesting region.