Timeline of Trinbago

NOTICE (2020-05-06): Time has been against us and we have not been able to properly finish and format this webpage. Rather than unpublish it, however, we consider the collection of information too valuable to hide. We apologise for the mess and hastily-worded content, and we will work on completing things properly as soon as time allows.

300,000 BCE

Homo sapiens sapiens

“The earliest fossil evidence of early Homo sapiens appears in Africa around 300,000 years ago, with the earliest genetic splits among modern people, according to some evidence, dating to around the same time.”—Wikipedia

23,000 BCE

Asian Migration into the Americas

Possible wave of migration into the Americas via the Beringia Ice-Bridge, which connected Siberia to Canada, and therefore facilitated Asian migration.

5,900 BCE


Ta-Seti, the world’s oldest known civilisation.

5000 BCE~

Paleolithic Migration

Possible ‘Paleolithic-Indian’ / ‘Paleolithic-American’ migration into the Caribbean. These may have included the Ciboney / Siboney who eventually came to occupy most of the Caribbean. The Guanahatabey perhaps also migrated into present-day Cuba during this period, but the history is uncertain.

500 BCE

Tao Te Ching

‘Tao Te Ching’ written / compiled.

300 BCE

Neolithic Migration

Possible ‘Neolithic Indian’ migration into the Caribbean. These may have included the Lokono / Taíno and Kalifuna. The Taíno who likely migrated from South America through Kairi (present-day Trinidad), possibly pushed back the Ciboney / Siboney settlement to Cubao / Coabana and Ayiti (today called Cuba and Haiti + Dominican Republic, respectively). By 1500 CE, there were also Igneri peoples inhabiting the Lesser Antilles and Lucayo in Bahamas.


Columbus (Cristoforo Colombo)

Arrival of Columbus (or Columbus’ crew) to Trinidad (during his third voyage from Europe);
The population of Kairi at the time was believed to be at least 40,000 and consisted many different ‘Amerindian’ peoples incluing:

  • Lokono / Taíno:
    • The word ‘Arawak’ may refer to a subset of Lokono from present-day Aruca who were trade partners with the Spaniards and were called ‘Aruacs’ or ‘Aruacas’ by them;
      These Aruacas traded food and slaves in return for metal tools.
  • Kalifuna (possibly related to the Garifuna of Saint Vincent and the Kalina of South America);
  • Nepoyo / Nepoio;
  • Yao;
  • Shebao;
  • Carinepagoto;
  • Warao (South Trinidad) who also inhabited parts of Venezuela.

The term ‘Carib’ might have come from the word ‘Caniba’ or ‘Canima’, which was maybe an adjective meaning something like ‘brave’. In order to win support for the colonisation effort by both the European public and also Queen Isabella of Spain, stories of ‘Cannib’ Indians may have been propagandised by the Spaniards, speaking of a warlike and man-eating people. It would have become advantageous for an ambitious Spanish coloniser to identify as many groups as possible as being ‘Cannib’ / Carib’, thereby allowing them to be captured or slain legally. The legacy of this may be the cause of so much confusion today over the names of the Amerindian groups and as to which group exactly were ‘the Caribs’.

[1] https://method.moda/miscellaneous/kairi

1510 to 1595

Spaniard Invasion

Islands of Trinidad and Tobago conquered by Spanish invaders;


Courland Invasion

Courlanders, after repeated attempts, settle Tobago’s west coast near Plymouth, and Dutch the east;


Hyarima in Tobago

Hyarima arrove at Tobago to fight Europeans off island;

1687 to 1699

Spanish Missions against the Amerindians

Spanish missionaries work at converting the remaining Amerindians to Catholicism;

Hyarima with Trinidad First Peoples rebel against Capuchin missionaries (the Arena Uprising), which slew the Spanish governor, priests, hundreds of Amerindians, and almost off of the governor’s party;

Kalinda begins to arise across the French-speaking Caribbean islands, eventually finding its way to Trinidad and Tobago after the 1783 Cedula of Population.

A 7.9 Richter Scale earthquake destroys San José (today known as ‘Saint Joseph’), contributing to the capital’s relocation to Port of Spain.

Census data showing 2,763 persons on-island, consisting 2,000 Lokono / Taíno;

Cedula of Population begun, which lead to the immigration of persons from other European countries, including French plantation owners (around the time of the French Revolution in 1789) followed by slaves from West Africa and eventually indentured workers from India after the later abolition of slavery:

  • 1783: French, Irish, and English settlers;
  • 1783 or 1784: African and African-descended slaves (second or third generation slaves) from other Caribbean islands were imported to work on the European plantations. The direct importation of slaves from Africa began around this time as well, but the precise date is unclear [5];
  • 1853: Chinese settlers (first group) brought with the intent of becoming indentured workers;
  • 1890: Syrian and Lebanese settlers (mostly Catholic faith and escaping religious persecution);
  • Early 1900s: Chinese settlers (second group).

[5] https://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/2011/08/african-slavery.html

According to Brereton (1981 and 1998), White migrants were awarded about 30 acres of land “for each member of his family and half as much for each slave he introduced” (p.13) while Mulattos and free Blacks received less land. The two other conditions demanded by the Spanish were that the settlers be Catholic and that they come from a nation friendly to Spain. The Cedula, Brereton maintains, resulted in an increase the island’s population from 6,503 in 1784 to 17,718 in 1797, Table 2.3, when the British took over.

—’The Parasitic Oligarchy? The Elites in Trinidad and
Tobago’ (page 18) by Alison Mc Letchie
University of South Carolina

The ‘Great Port of Spain Fire of 1808’ destroys much of the existing architecture of the new capital of Trinidad.

The Treaty of Paris which brought Trinidad under British rule and legally merged it with Tobago;

Johann Gottlieb Siegert, a German doctor serving as Surgeon General to Simón Bolívar’s armies in Venezuela, invents a medicinal formula called ‘Amargo Aromatico’.

Emancipation of Slavery;

A ship (popularly called ‘Fath al-Razack’ but possibly named the ‘Fatel Rozack’ according to Dennison Moore) brought the first wave of Indian migrants (approximately 225 persons) into Trinbago. These migrants would become indentured workers at various plantations across Trinidad. The arrival date is unclear, but maybe the 3rd, 10th, or 30th of May 1845.

First oil well drilled in Trinidad near Pitch Lake;

Trinidad governor criminalises Carnival activities, leading to Canboulay;

Walter Darwent (from England) drilled first very successful oil well at Aripero, South Trinidad. His company, Paria Petroleum Company, was successful for a short while, exporting a relatively small amount of oil. He died soon after, in 1868, of yellow fever and the industry stalled for around thirty years.

Cocoa production rises as a viable alternative to sugar [2] which was under intense pressure from the superior sugar production of Cuba [3];
[2] Alison Mc Letchie (2013)
[3] Eric Williams (1942)

Due to political instability, Johann Gottlieb Siegert moves with his family from Venezuela to Trinidad. By now his ‘Amargo Aromatico’ had been rebranded to ‘Angostura Bitters’ and was being sold internationally for use in cocktails. He re-establishes his business in Laventille, Trinidad.

John Lee Lum, born in Canton (now Guangdong), China, arrove in Trinidad in 1880. He discovered oil on his land and in 1900 he took a sample of it to Randolph Rust. The two men together formed a company to prospect the area.

Canboulay Riots in Trinidad;

Hosay Riots in Trinidad;
Tobago’s sugar industry collapses;

The Electric Light and Power Company (privately-held) was formed by Edgar Tripp, eight years after a franchise was secured (1886);

Randolph Rust (from England) struck oil in Guayaguayare. Securing additional funding from Canada (on top of funding from John Lee Lum) and later from London, Rust continued his oil exploration. Although neither Lee Lum nor Rust made much money from oil, their work would go on to become one of the first wells of Petrotrin. By 1908 regular oil production (in Guapo) and exports from Trinidad began.

Water Riots in Port of Spain. Red House burnt down;

Commercial oil production begins in southern Trinidad;

First calypso recorded in Trinidad:
Mango Vert by Lovey’s String Band

First calypso with lyrics recorded in Trinidad:
Iron Duke in the Land by Julian Whiterose
‘A Kalinda Lavway’ by Jule Sims

First national elections (limited franchise);

The Great Depression. The economic depression which began in the United States in 1929 began to spiral into other countries of the world, negatively affecting GDP and financial stability planetwide;

Roaring Lion records J’ouvert Barre Yeau;

First steelpans emerge in Laventille, Trinidad;

The Oilfield Workers Riots:
Economic fallout of The Great Depression exacerbated the already poor working conditions of South Trinidad oil workers. During a 19th of June 1937 labour meeting in Fyzabad, police stormed the building attempting to arrest labour leader Tubal Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler. The result was a bloody melee between police and the workers which saw fourteen persons killed, fifty-nine injured, and hundreds arrested;

1945 (End of WWII)
Universal adult suffrage instituted;
Via the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Ordinance Number 42, the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) came into being, created to generate electricity for distribution outside the already-electrified towns of Port of Spain and San Fernando;

Natural Gas was used for power generation in Penal;

Independence (31st of August, 1962);

Hurricane Flora devastates Tobago;
Chaguaramas returned to Trinidadian control;

Ten years after the Penal plant, the Port of Spain power plant also began using Natural Gas to fire its turbines;

Amoco discovered large reserves of Natural Gas off of the East Coast. Soon after, large reserves were also found off of the North Coast.
The NASA Apollo programme visits Moon. ‘Earthrise’, the first photograph of Earth (as far as we know!) made by William Anders.

The global price of gas tripled. Trinidad, with its large finds, experienced a large acceleration in financial growth.
Black Power movement. Government declared state of emergency after violent protests;
First oil boom.

Dexter Stewart of Point Fortin (not to be confused with the Soca Artiste, Blaxx), walked on bamboo sticks, wearing a rudimentary costume, and thereby winning Kiddies’ Carnival that year as a modern-era Moko Jumbie.

Point Lisas begins.
NGC splinters off from T+TEC, and is tasked with supplying Natural Gas to T+TEC’s Port of Spain factory (the single electricity producing plant at the time).

A rash of firebombings, arsons and political shootings afflict the country. This may be tied to the activities of illegal-drug trader, Dole Chadee, who conveyed drugs manufactured in South America to Europe. Murder rate peaks at 300~ [citation needed].

End of the first oil boom.

Slowing of the Trinbago economy began after years of rapid acceleration. Rising tensions would lead to discontent which Yasin Abu Bakr (Jamaat al Muslimeen) would attempt to exploit in 1990.

Glenn ‘Dragon’ De Souza forms the Keylemanjahro group in Cocorite. The group originally was meant to teach drumming and dance, but his students and own children so wished to learn stickwalking that he relented and the Keylemanjahro tradition of Moko Jumbie was born.

The first TT marathon, known as the ‘Mirror Marathon’;

1986 or 1987
The first TT triathlon;

Failed coup-attempt by the Jamaat al Muslimeen. More than 100 Islamist radicals blow up the police headquarters, seize the parliament building and hold ANR Robinson and other officials hostage for several days in an abortive coup attempt;

Capital punishment restored. Dole Chadee hung on 4th June, 1999;
Murder toll for the year dropped sharply to 93 (from its peak in the 1980s of 300~). This was the lowest the murder toll had been for at least the 23 years prior, according to statistics;



Second oil boom.

Closure of Caroni (1975) Limited. This was controversial and the reasons for the closure seem to remain unclear (as of December 2018);

Cadiz noted that in November 1999, San Fernando East MP Patrick Manning (who would later become Prime Minister) spoke highly of Caroni (1975) Ltd and its role in food security. A mere three years later, that tune changed.

“They are the only ones who can tell us what happened in 2003,” Cadiz said, pointing to Opposition PNM MPs in Parliament yesterday, where debate on the Sugar Industry Control Board (Repeal)(Validation) Bill, 2013 began. “A mere three years after, they came and decided that would be the end of it. One really has to wonder whether that was not really the result of the 18-18 election tie somehow. Somebody’s mind changed and decided the best way to deal with 18-18, was to deal with Caroni, because of the effect it would have on the economy in that particular area,” the Chaguanas East MP said.

“Caroni Limited was not about sugar. At the end of the day it was about everything else. Its closure was simply one of the ways to deal with the then Opposition (UNC). That is why the closure of Caroni came like a thief in the night because they could have restructured it. That is the politics of the kitchen table,” he charged.

The Closure of Caroni (1975) Limited by Andre Bagoo (18th May, 2013)

Mozilla Firefox V1.0 launched;

‘Death March’ occurred, with over 10,000 protesting soaring rate of violent crimes;

2006 April
Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday is sentenced to two years in prison for failing to declare an overseas bank account while he was in office. The conviction is quashed on appeal. To date, he may still be the only politician to make jail for corruption, even if only for a single day;

2011 August
State of emergency imposed, with an overnight curfew in six crime ‘hotspots’, following a spike in violent crime;

First Moko Jumbie Carnival Queen, Stephanie Kanhai portraying ‘Sweet Waters of Africa’ from the band, Touch D Sky, designed by Alan Vaughan;

Jhawhan Thomas’ performance of ‘Ras Nijinksky as Anna Pavlova in “The Dying Swan”‘, designed by Peter Minshall;

Josh Lue Chee Kong and Kriston Chen, inspired by seeing Kaisokah Moko Jumbies in person, as well as Peter Minshall’s ‘Ras Nijinksky as Anna Pavlova in “The Dying Swan”‘, begin a personal mission to learn stickwalking. Their activities would lead to the accidental formation of Sticks in de Yard (also known as 1000mokos) in January 2017.

From August to September, Hurricanes Irma, José, and Maria severely damage many Leeward Islands and Bahamas. Dominica is particularly devastated, however many other Caribbean islands were badly damaged including Puerto Rico.

The creation of mas band, Moko Somõkõw (from the Bambara ‘Moko Somɔgɔw’ meaning ‘Moko Family’) by designer, Alan Vaughan;

30th January 2018
Hearing of LGBT activist, Jason Jones’ opposition to Sections 13 and 16 of the ‘Sexual Offences Act 1986’. Judgement was delivered on 12th April, 2018 by Justice Devindra Rampersad who “repealed sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act,” ruling that the law violated the human rights to privacy and expression;

February 2019
Second Moko Jumbie Carnival Queen, Shynel Brizan portraying ‘Mariella, Shadow of Consciousness’ from the band, Moko Somõkõw, designed by Alan Vaughan.

From August to September, Hurricane Dorian severely damages the Bahamas.

7th June, 2019
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines becomes the smallest country in history to be elected to the UN Security Council.

September 27th, 2019
Dominica, having barely recovered from Hurricane Maria two years prior, joins the global ‘Climate Strike’, petitioning to:

  1. Transition to 100% clean energy worldwide;
  2. “Keep fossil fuels in the ground”;
  3. Help victims of the climate crisis.

29th November, 2019
Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, addresses the UN General Assembly to put forward a damning case against the perceived lackadaisical action by many larger nations in responding to the growing and evident consequences of man-exacerbated climate change.


12th March, 2020
Min­is­ter of Health, Ter­rance Deyals­ingh, announces the first CARPHA-confirmed case of CoViD-19 in Trinbago. The host is described as a 52-year old male, currently in self-isolation, and suffering from only, “a mild case.”