The History of Tunapuna
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The History of Tunapuna

The History of Tunapuna

Tunapuna is one of the largest towns on the east-west corridor. It is one of the oldest-known settlements following the Cedula of Population by the Spanish King in 1783.

Tunapuna, according to the Michael Anthony book Towns and Villages in Trinidad and Tobago, was the name the Amerindians of the region gave to their little village on the banks of a rivulet running between the St. Joseph and Tacarigua rivers. The settlers used the region00 for plantations of coffee, cotton and sugar, while a footpath developed into Tunapuna Road gave it east access for persons heading east or south. Most people in the area seemed to have come from the long-established sugar estates, with the indentured East Indian workers reviving them in the 1860s.

In 1876, railway trains were built, helping to make Tunapuna a busy area and boost its population. In 1879, the area got its first school, Tunapuna Government and in 1890, the wooden Catholic Church dedicated to St. Charles, now located along the Eastern Main Road, was built.

In 1898, the Government declared Tunapuna a town since it was then the largest centre of population between St. Joseph and Arima, and its first police station and court house were built. The Tunapuna water-works was also established bringing pipe-borne water to the area.

Between 1900 and 1930 Tunapuna saw a slump in sugar and slow disintegration of the estates, and the population increased only with the arrival of American soldiers in 1943, who built the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway. By the 1950s, there was a notable decline in agriculture and the estates, along with the closure of the railway in the late 1960s.

Currently, Tunapuna is a vastly developed town, with many businesses, a growing residential population, many primary and secondary schools including the picturesque Hillview College on the foothills of the Northern Range. There are police and fire stations, as well as many Government service outlets, and its own Magistrate’s Court.

Sport is also huge in the area, with Constantine Park and Honeymoon Park home to cricket, football and other teams, including the Moosai Cricket Club which produced many famous cricketers. Religion and culture remains vibrant in this town, with multiple churches, temples and a mosque. Carnival celebrations are also a highlight in Tunapuna. The population is mixed, with many Indo-Trinidadians, Afro-Trinidadians and other races settling in the various residential areas.

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May 26th, 2017

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