Tobago and Trinidad Recent History


It was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498. In the 16th century, the Spaniards were the first colonizers of this island, which with Trinidad is part of South America.
In 1580 it was under English rule; then in the seventeenth century it passed under the Dutch one and in the eighteenth century before it was governed by the French and again it was English rule in 1802 after the Treaty of Amiens.

During the French Revolution many refugees, whole families, went to the island; among the Creoles, especially the French language is still in use, although until 1889 it was England to administer the country.

In that same period Tobago was placed under Trinidad, while maintaining its form of government. It is still administratively aggregated in Trinidad, however it is managed by its own governor and his own magistrate.


It was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498. It remained a possession of Spain until 1797 then, after the war between Spain and England ended, it passed under the government of the latter with the Treaty of Amiens of 1802.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Trinidad and Tobago, in 1889 Tobago was aggregated in Trinidad: together they were part of the “Federation of the West Indies” which was officially established on January 3, 1958, with the federal capital Port of Spain. The 1961 Constitution established a bicameral order with a Senate, whose members are elected by a governor and a House of Representatives, dependent on elections.

The political dominance in the country has always been the PNM, “People’s National Movement”, born in 1956 and then continued with the subsequent victorious elections both in the seventies and following years. The main reason for this “leadership” was undoubtedly the abundant oil production that kept the economy high.

Trinidad and Tobago Recent History

The head of the PNM, E. Williams, was without interruption to the government from 1956 to 1981, the year in which he died.
He succeeded him in leading the party and in the position of Prime Minister G. Chambers.

The moderate PNM had the greatest number of proselytes among the black population while the opposition, which was also quite moderate, had its fundamental basis among the population of Indian origin. In the nineteenth century, in fact, following the abolition of slavery, as happened in other states, there was also a great vacuum among plantation workers in Trinidad. This void was mostly filled with Indian immigrants who were recruited under the indentiures system, that is, semi-servile long-term contracts.

While slightly exceeding 50% of the vote, the PNM owed its strength more to the fragmentation of the other Labor-inspired political factions.

The seats that were not obtained in Trinidad by the PNM, until the sixties, were the prerogative of the DLP, “Democratic Labor Party” and in the following decade of the ULF, “United Labor Front”.

In Tobago the two out of 36 seats, since 1976, were won by the.DAC, the “Democratic Action Congress”, which
then had the great majority of seats in the local elective assembly established in 1980.

In 1981 there were new elections and the PNM confirmed its primacy. But in the meantime, an economic crisis of vast proportions had occurred due to the fall in hydrocarbon prices. Even double the unemployment was recorded. The living conditions of the population were much worse, creating discontent even at a political level, so as to register a large
convergence towards the opposition forces which, in fact, gathered in the NAR, “National Alliance for Reconstruction”, in the 1986 elections they obtained two thirds of votes and ANR Robinson took over the government.

Robinson was forced, from the precarious economic situation, to apply drastic measures that had a deleterious effect especially on the Labor forces who detached themselves from the ULF and founded a new opposition: the “United National Congress” (UNC), headed by B. Panday.

Trinidad and Tobago

The tension did not diminish, on the contrary; and so an insurrection attempt was carried out by a group of black Muslims who occupied Parliament on July 27 and took Robinson and some ministers hostage. Violence and clashes continued still making wounded and dead.

But eventually the rebels surrendered in exchange for an amnesty. The government in this circumstance had exposed all its weakness, and with the elections of December 1991 the NAR could only keep the two seats of Tobago, the UNC obtained 13 seats in Trinidad and who obtained the majority was the PNM that , therefore, he had the leadership of the country, at whose helm P. Manning was elected.

The situation did not improve; he continued to apply austerity systems; promoted some plans for the privatization of some companies and downsized those of the public sector. This led him to an open conflict with the unions and Labor. The most obvious consequence was the growth of crime and social tensions.

And following this in October 1995 the government was forced to resign and call early elections. These, in fact, took place in November. A strange situation was created by the conquest by both the main political parties of 17 seats, plus two for Tobago who repeated his request for autonomy.

Based on these results, the government could only be a coalition and led by Labor leader B. Panday.
Internationally, after a strong dispute with Venezuela due to territorial waters, an agreement was reached in December 1997.

Relations with India, the main labor supplier for Trinidad-Tobago, also strengthened, and in February 1999 the island received a visit from Indian Prime Minister AB Vajpayee.