The indigenous peoples of Trinidad and Tobago from the first settlers until today

The indigenous peoples of Trinidad and Tobago from the first settlers until today

by Arie Boomert


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The indigenous peoples of Trinidad and Tobago from the first settlers until today by Arie Boomert

This study relates the vicissitudes of the Amerindian peoples who lived or still inhabit the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, from the earliest occupants, ca. 8000 BC, until present. Using archaeological, ethnohistorical and linguistic data, it discusses the social, political, economic, and religious development of indigenous society through the ages. The Amerindian struggle with European colonization is chronicled in detail, following centuries of independent existence during pre-Columbian times, as well as the survival of the current people of indigenous ancestry in the twin-island republic.

“This book fills a long-standing gap in the history of Trinidad & Tobago, and the southern Caribbean more generally. It provides a clearly written, authoritative account and analysis of the Amerindians (First Peoples) who lived (and still live) in the two islands, from the very earliest human settlement there up to the present. Based on up-to-the-minute scholarship in several disciplines – archaeology, ethnography, history, linguistics – Boomert dispels many myths and misconceptions about these peoples and carefully traces the complex history of their settlement, in successive waves of migration, in both islands; their interactions with Europeans arriving from 1498; and their “decline” in the post-contact period.”

Dr. Bridget Brereton, Emerita Professor in History, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

“This book is a welcome addition to the literature we are now seeking to inform our work here at the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, as it brings to light important aspects of our buried history. Of particular interest is the information on the involvement of the Dutch in the struggles of the First Peoples, and the connection with Hierreyma, our great Nepuyo Chieftain. It is an inspiration to those of us who are currently engaged in efforts to secure the rightful place of the First Peoples of this land – Kairi.”

Ricardo Bharath Hernandez, Chief Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, Arima, Trinidad, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789088903533
Publisher: Sidestone Press
Publication date: 01/15/2016
Pages: 210
Sales rank: 1,046,844
Product dimensions: 7.16(w) x 10.12(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix

Preface xiii

Abbreviations xv

1 Introduction 1

Geographical situation and natural environment 2

The indigenous peoples of Trinidad and Tobago 6

Discovery of archaeological sites 11

2 The first settlers (ca. 3000-300 BC) 15

The earliest Trinidadians 16

The first Tobagonians and late Archaic times in Trinidad 21

3 New immigrants: the first ceramists (ca. 300 BC-AD 650/800) 25

Saladoid setdement sires in Trinidad and Tobago 25

Saladoid ceramics and Barrancoid intrusion 28

Saladoid/Barrancoid subsistence and food processing 32

Saladoid/Barrancoid population, society and religion 34

4 Late-prehistoric cultural change (ca. AD 650/800-1498) 45

Arauquinoid settlement in Trinidad 45

Troumassoid occupation of Tobago 52

On the brink of the Historic Age: Mayoid in Trinidad and Cayo (?) in Tobago 59

5 Amerindian culture and society in Trinidad and Tobago at the time of the encounter and thereafter 61

Population and settlement patterns 61

Subsistence and food processing 64

Social organization and life cycle 69

Interaction: war and exchange 71

Religion: cosmology and shamanism 77

6 The Amerindian-European struggle for Trinidad and Tobago (1498-1592) 83

The first European-Amerindian encounters in Trinidad and Tobago 83

Attempts at Spanish settlement in Trinidad and slave raids in Tobago 88

7 The Spanish-Amerindian frontier in Trinidad (1592-1686) 97

Spanish settlement and Amerindian reaction 97

Hierreyma and the great Amerindian rebellion 107

8 European settlement and Amerindian response in Tobago (1592-ca. 1810) 115

Slave raids and the first European attempts at settlement 115

Further Dutch and Courlander ventures 119

A peaceful interlude: Tobago as a 'neutral' island 125

From marginalization to extinction 128

9 Mission villages in Spanish Trinidad (1686-1797) 131

Establishment of Capuchin missions in Spanish Trinidad 131

Abolition and reinstatement of the missions 136

Foreign immigration and the development of a plantation economy 142

10 British colonization and Amerindian persistence in Trinidad (1797-present) 147

The end of mission times in British Trinidad 147

Becoming a small segment of a plural society 153

The present Amerindian community of Trinidad 159

Epilogue. The Amerindian heritage of Trinidad and Tobago 161

Glossary 165

Bibliography 173

Pre-Columbian and historic Amerindian archaeology 173

Primary historic sources and maps 175

Various historical and anthropological accounts 178

Amerindian cultural heritage 182

Appendix: Institutions and museums with significant archaeological holdings from Trinidad and Tobago 185

Index 187

Curriculum Vitae 197

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