A Day In The Life Of

A Day In The Life Of Tobago

A Day In The Life Of Tobago

The small island of Tobago probably boasts of more actual ‘history’ than most of its neighbours.

Tobago lies northeast of the mainland of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada and is said to have a population of just over 60,000.

The two islands Trinidad and Tobago became a single colony in 1888.

In 1940, its 1st and only airport called the Crown Point Airport opened in Tobago, with national airline BWIA commencing operations.

Tobago was originally inhabited by the Carib Amerindians, although it was first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1498, who named the island ‘Bellaforma’.

The present name of Tobago is thought to be a corruption of its old name, “Tobacco”, given because of its cigar like shape, according to DiscoverTNT.

Historians estimate that this little island changed hands 30 times, before it was finally ceded to the British in 1814 under the Treaty of Paris.

According to Caribbean Beat, throughout the sixteenth century, the island and its inhabitants were left fairly undisturbed, as the Spaniards had bigger fish to fry.

Although ships from various Europeans countries occasionally stopped on the island for food and water, the Caribs discouraged settlement.

The Courlanders are thought to be the first to establish a real settlement in Tobago in the Plymouth area in 1654.

However, the Dutch around the same period settled in Rockly Bay, now known as lower Scarborough.

But fighting both the Caribs and diseases, and occasional attacks by the Spaniards, these little communities suffered high mortality rates.

From about 1672, during a period of stability under temporary British rule, plantation culture began.

Sugar, cotton and indigo factories sprang up and Africans were imported to work as slaves.

The economy flourished and by 1777 Tobago was exporting great quantities of rum, cotton, indigo and sugar.

However, the French invaded again, in 1781, and destroyed the plantations.

They forced the British governor to surrender and the island’s buoyant economy fell into decline.

In 1814, when the island was again under British control, another phase of successful sugar production began.

However, a severe hurricane in 1847, combined with the collapse of plantation underwriters, marked the end of the sugar trade.

In 1963, Hurricane Flora ravaged Tobago, destroying the villages and crops.

A restructuring programme followed and attempts were made to diversify the economy.

That’s where the development of a tourist industry began…

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July 1st, 2017

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