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“From the bloodiest battles to peace and tranquillity”


Over 2,500 years ago Tobago was settled by two Amerindian tribes, the Arawaks and the Caribs moving north from the South American mainland.

The first Europeans to reach these islands was Christopher Columbus (who called Tobago “Bella Forma”), and his crew on their third transatlantic voyage in 1498, followed by the English in 1508.
It was not until 1625 that a British party returned with the intention of settling on this beautiful island, only to encounter the hostility of the Carib Indians.

The Caribbean islands including Tobago then found their peaceful tranquillity shattered by the thunder of cannons as they were fought over by the Dutch, Spanish, British, French and others well into the 18th century. Many of the bloodiest battles in the Caribbean were fought here in Tobago both on land and sea. The British controlled the island from 1762 and strenuous claims of ownership continued until the island fell under French occupation in 1802. Eventually Tobago was officially ceded to the British in 1814 under the Treaty of Paris and remained so until 1889 when Tobago became united with Trinidad, becoming a protégé of its sister island in 1898.

Tobago sadly became less important during the 20th century and this brought difficult and hard times to the Tobagan people who despite their rich soil and cocoa and sugar production were beset with poor transport connections with Trinidad. A regular steamship service did not begin until 1910, roads were poor and even electricity did not arrive in Tobago until 1952.

In 1957 it was said that “Tobago had exchanged the neglect of UK Imperialism for the neglect of Trinidad Imperialism” It was now that tourism became recognised as the saviour of Tobago and the Crown Point Hotel, still in existence today, became one of Tobago’s first hotels.

In 1962 Tobago together with Trinidad gained independence from Britain and in 1976 became a Parliamentary Democracy and a Republic within the Commonwealth.

In 1980 the Tobago House of Assembly was instituted and made responsible for administrative governance within the island with local governance remaining in the hands of the city and county councils. In 1987 full internal self-governance was granted to this beautiful island and its friendly people look forward to increasing prosperity as a major tourist destination.

The population is approximately 51,000, 90% of which are African origin.

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