The two island republic of Trinidad and Tobago has been one of the most influential of the Anglophone Caribbean nations having attracted a succession of Spanish, English, French, African and Indian peoples and also having developed a Creole culture that particularly through its calypso music has influenced the world. Its population is fairly evenly divided between those of African and Indian descent, speaking English, as well as Hindi, French patois and numerous island dialects. The capital, Port-of-Spain, gives nominal testimony to the first European encounter, that of Christopher Columbus in 1498. He named it the colony Trinidad after the three peaks at its southern tip and the name Tobago probably derives from tobacco. Spain initially took little interests in Trinidad because of its apparent lack of gold or other precious metals. It was not until 1532 that the Spanish first settled and brought along the islands first African slaves. Trinidad remained firmly in Spanish control until 1783. Trinidad became a tug-o-war between many colonial powers. Spain colonized Trinidad in 1532 while Dutch settlers planted sugar on plantations in Tobago in the 1630s. In 1781, France colonized Tobago and further developed its plantation economy. The British captured Trinidad from Spain in 1797 and in 1802 Spain formally ceded the island to Britain.
By 1784, the French were the dominant forc...
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...d Economic Studies, Vol. 52, No. 2 (June 2003), pp. 167-170
Published by: Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27865332
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