Exploring Historical Resources on Trinidad and Tobago


NALIS, through the Heritage Library Division,  seeks to maintain, develop and make easily accessible to members of the public, resources with an emphasis on Trinidad and Tobago, and the Caribbean.  

This series shines a spotlight on resources that illuminate that history.  These resources are located at the Heritage Library Division and are available for use by NALIS patrons and the public.


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Modern history of TT

Title:             A History of Modern Trinidad 1783-1962.  
Author:        Dr. Bridget Brereton.
Summary:    A History of Modern Trinidad 1783-1962, looks at the political, economic and social  development of Trinidad from its period as a Spanish colony, to that time when it became an independent nation.

 It discusses those factors that impacted the evolution of the Colony, as well as analyses island politics including the movement from Crown Colony Government with the Legislative Assembly, then onto self-government.

 Important labour factions such as African slaves, ‘Free Labour’, Indentured Indians, and the rise of the trade union movement are discussed, including  Trinidad’s evolution as a society. 

 An examination of the transition from a Spanish to a British colony, with a population that was French and Spanish speaking, with a deep inclusion of African and Indian cultures, as well as Venezuelans, Chinese and those from other West Indian islands was reviewed.  The evolution of a multi- cultural creole society and the impact of education is also highlighted.


Content:       The deserted island 1498- 1783
                          The colonization of Trinidad
                          Spain’s Amerindian Policy
                          The weaknesses of Spanish Colonialism
                          The era of reform

                     Enter the Africans and the French, 1783-97
                          The Cedula of Population, 1783
                           A Plantation Economy
                          The establishment of a slave society
                          Chacon confronts the revolution
                     The British takes over 1797-1812
                          The conquest
                          Picton’s monstrous tyranny
                          Constitutional and developmental issues
                          The slaves and freed coloureds

                     The experimental colony, 1812-38
                          Slave registration, amelioration and emancipation
                          The free coloureds and civil rights
                          Economic, constitutional and legal changes            

                     The ordeal of free labour and the colonial economy, 1838-1900
                           Labour problems following emancipation
                           Sugar: Fluctuating fortunes
                          The emergence of smallholders and the cocoa industry

                     The newcomers, 1838-1917
                           New arrivals after emancipation
                           Indentured Indian Labour
                          The  establishment of the Indian community

                     The development of Creole society 1838-1938
                          The white creoles
                          Education and mobility
                          The emergence of the Black and coloured middle class
                          The creole masses

                      Politics in a Crown Colony 1838-1914
                          The Legislative Council and the unofficials
                          The reform movements
                          The growing opposition to Crown Colony government
                          Tobago becomes a ward of Trinidad and Tobago

                      Constitutional reform and the Labour Movements 1917-36
                           Unrest and organization after the First Word War
                           Constitutional reform and the TWA
                           The turbulent thirties

                     The emergence of modern Trinidad, 1936-50
                           Economic crisis and the 1937 riots
                           The growth of trade unionism
                           Trinidad and the Second World War
                           Constitutional change and electoral politics

                     Oil and the Twentieth Century economy, 1900-62
                           The history of oil production in Trinidad
                           Traditional estate agriculture in the twentieth century
                           Postwar economic development

                     Free at last? 1950-62
                           Finding a cultural identity
                           The labour movement loses the initiative
                           The People’s National Movement
                           From self government to independence

Publisher:   Heinemann Educational Books Inc.

Audience:    Intended for those passionate about Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean history, students preparing for CAPE and CSEC examinations, and those attending tertiary level institutions.   

Subject:       History – Trinidad – 18th Century
                     History – Trinidad – 19th Century  
                     History – Trinidad – 20th Century 
                     Slaves – Emancipation – West Indies
                     Indian Indentureship
                     Crown Colony government 
                     Labour movement – Trinidad
                     Oil production- history – Trinidad
                     Colonial society - Trinidad

Complied by: Gerada Holder, Librarian IV: Heritage Library Division



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