Wednesday, 3 July 2013


According to Wikipedia (is it a trade mark? Should I insert the symbol here? A disclaimer? I’m calling out to all you bloggers out there to share the knowledge on the intricacies of online writing. Who am I kidding?! “All you bloggers out there”?... Puhlease! I’m lucky if my father should stop by.)… Anyway, according to Wikipedia (just consider inserted whatever I should have had to insert here), Trinidad and Tobago, trɪnɨdæd ən tɵˈbeɪɡoʊ/, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is an island country in the northern edge of South America, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. (Blah, blah, blah) The country covers an area 5,128 square kilometers (1,980 sq. mi) and consists of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago. (Something about Sangre Grande, the larger region in the country. Being familiar with the Spanish language, I’m aware that it translates to Big Blood. Odd!) The nation lies outside the hurricane belt. (I’m hoping the hurricane hasn’t been putting on weight since last year and that its waist line remains the same. It’s a lame joke. I’ve never been on a real crisis situation – in less than 24 hours the finance minister of my country resigned, followed by the minister of state and foreign affairs, but I’m in the sunny Caribbean, so you see what I mean… – and I apologize for it . From this point on I’ll just stick to the significant contents.)

The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 to the capitulation of the Spanish Governor, Don José Maria Chacón, on the arrival of a British fleet of 18 warships on 18 February 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander colonizers. Trinidad and Tobago (remaining separate until 1889) were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. The country Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence in 1962, becoming a republic in 1976. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the country's economy is primarily industrial, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals.

(See, it was easy. But I’m sure you got curious about the “Courlander colonizers”, so I went to check it out for you. “Courland had a population of only 200,000, mostly of Latvian, German and Scandinavian ancestry, and was itself a vassal of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at that time. The Couronian colonization of the Americas was performed by the Duchy of Courland, which was the smallest nation to colonize the Americas, with a colony on the island of Tobago from 1654 to 1659, and intermittently from 1660 to 1689.” I’ll skip the geography, geology, climate – suffice to say it is hot! –, biodiversity, and head straight to human history and the end of slavery, only to state:)

Upon emancipation, therefore, the plantation owners were in severe need of labor, and the British filled this need by instituting a system of indenture. Various nationalities were contracted under this system, including Chinese, Portuguese and Indians. (So, I’m hardly the first Portuguese to settle here. To this day Portuguese family names remain. But the Indians left a greater legacy. I thank them for the curry!)

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