Island called – Ieri ~ land of the hummingbirds Discovered by Christopher Columbus 1498 – renamed “La Trinidad” as he arrived when he saw three hills in the distance being reminded of the Holy Trinity
Along with C.C. comes the break in’s and take in’s- doing the slavery thing From the 15th century Spain is in charge – allowing the French planters to inhabit and settle with their slaves 1797 marks the take over by the British save for the friendly treaty of rule with the Spaniards African slaves brought to Trinidad until slavery was abolished in 1802 Landowners switched to indentured laborers (contracted workers for a limited time) from India, China, and the Middle East.
1889 - Tobago became a sister island to Trinidad to compliment its’ administration 1937- Uriah Butler initiated labor riots to promote equality and political justice for the freed workers. Butler was jailed from 1937-1945 afterwards he formed a political party that won office in 1950 1950 –Deemed a radical, Butler was not allowed to rule so instead Albert Gnomes became first Prime Minister 1956 – PNM : People’s National Movement led by Eric Wiliams took over 1962 - Independence from Great Britain 1976 - Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
1981 Eric Williams died, but PNM continued until 1986 before another party took its turn in office. 1992 PNM loosely known as Trini-African based regained authority with Patrick Manning as Prime Minister 1995 the largely Trini-Indian influenced party UNC (United National Congress) led by Basdeo Panday and re-elected in 2000 amidst controversy 2002- Patrick Manning of the PNM holds office in Trinidad and Tobago once again
FLAG of Trinidad and Tobago
Population : 1,337,683 Area: 5, 128 sq km – slightly smaller than Delaware Exports: $10.64 billion (2009 est.) Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers Exports - partners: US 44.8%, Spain 7.8%, Jamaica 7%, Netherlands 7%, Mexico 4.9% (2008) <cia.gov> Geography - note: Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt- 114 acres The large expanse has an elephant skin like texture around the edges and as one moves closer to center, the less callous it becomes and one can easily scoop out the liquid tar warmed by the natural heat of the earth. Once believed to by the Indians to be a god-made formation in order to destroy those who dared to eat their ancestral spirits aka humming-birds This woeful destiny occurred as a result of victorious war celebration that got out of hand. Today this natural phenomenon is Trinidad’s best source of export revenue. …and on a side note– hummingbirds are still admired by locals and tourists alike – especially at the Asa Wright Bird Sanctuary which boasts 159 different species of birds nestling in the rainforest like region.
What started as a creative alternative to banned African drums- An instrument called Tamboo Bamboo was created- where one would beat the ground with different lengths of bamboo sticks- unfortunately this instrument became more of a gang related weapon. Yet, the poor boys of Laventille yearned to express themselves so the youngsters found that a biscuit tin (cookie tin) was one way to form a percussion symphony. Then one day a man, Winston “Spree” Simon, discovered that the oil drums from work could be transformed into an instrument with different pitches based on the strength and location on the drum. Thus- the pan was born! As time progressed different musicians found new ways to improve the usage of space and clarity of tone with the steel pan. The most widely recognized steel pan is the Fourths and Fifths Pan invented by Tony Williams. His design efficiently places the octave of each note in parallel to one another. Also, the fourth and fifth note on the scale always sandwiches the first note of the scale. Steel pan instruments now vary in size, length, and range in pitch all the way from the single Tenor/Soprano pan to the Six Base. “The Six Bass consists of six full length barrels and provides a deep rich lower pitched sound. Each barrel has 3 notes for a range of one and a half octaves starting just over two octaves below middle C. It can be compared to an acoustic bass in tone and sustain characteristics, but can produce a louder and more vibrant sound that can often be thrilling when standing close. “ <vistapan.net> The Music!! ~~~ Steel pan & Soca
“Every village in Trinidad and Tobago has a steelband with its own panyard which is a world of its own, a community for pan and a place of love, devotion, and sharing, whether it's a piece of music, a bite of food, or a dollar. Here the panman makes contact not only with his friends and other pan players, but more importantly, he overcomes his fears and anxieties as he develops the skills and techniques that allow him to find and arouse the joyous heart of the pan. "For the pan player who finds himself on the path to musical excellence, the experience is like spiritual enlightenment.“ The panyard is a place for safe-keeping of the pans, a meeting place where pan enthusiasts, pan tuners, arrangers, and music teachers meet for the purpose of planning the strategy for winning the Panorama competition championship on the Saturday before Carnival. Today the bands are disciplined, and their business management decides how to use the bands' resources. The panyard is analogous to a football club and provides the common ground for group solidarity and the binding of its members into a strong union that makes for greater efficiency in the realization of shared goals. Besides pan, the community plays sports and has a center for culture in the panyard. There you can tap the grassroots resources of a community. During Carnival season the panyards are social gathering places for the local community to hear their band practice for Panorama and support them on the road to victory. People from all over town, including foreign tourists, visit the panyards to enjoy the music, pick their choice to win Panorama, and to party, as there is always refreshment and a snack. Now the Carnival staged event with the largest attendance and most pre-event "street corner" discussion is Panorama, the Super Bowl of Music and heartbeat of Trinidad & Tobago. Radio and TV announcers give play by play commentary after each band's performance (the bands being composed of 100 players) as the judges choose the world's champion steelband for the year.” <steelisland.com>
Soca: “Soca music originated as a fusion of calypso with Indian rhythms, thus combining the musical traditions to the two major ethnic groups of Trinidad and Tobago.” <artdrum.com> What makes this genre so amazing is that it truly captures the essence of Trinbagonians. This diverse group of people love expression through comedy, sensuality, parodies, political controversies, and national pride. There is no limit to the creative possibilities in finding a way to shake and dance to the syncopated rhythms and catchy tunes. Yet, the most popular dance move is called the “wine”- The classic song called “Dollar Wine” is the best way to introduce the dance motions and flavor of soca music.
Food & Liming So what good is the Caribbean unless there is some delicious food and pure relaxation? Trinidad and Tobago is no exception. If you go by the beach- you must eat shark & bake- a mouthwatering fish sandwich. Instead of a burger and fries- try a doubles or a bus-up-shot with a glass bottle of your favorite soda. Whenever you go to a sports event, such as cricket, you must have a gigantic pot of pelou, macaroni and cheese pie, and plenty, plenty pepper!! Anytime is a good time for a lime- this means- anytime is a good time to hang out- Trini lingo is all about comedic exaggeration– All Trini’s ever want to do is sit by the beach, go dancing, and also find out what your neighbor is up to. All in good natured fun- Trini’s really know how to “get on”- aka behave- in any given situation- Trinidad and Tobago- Together We Aspire- Together We Achieve- May God Bless Trinidad and Tobago-