History of Trinidad and Tobago

History of Trinidad and Tobago

  • 1492 Christopher Columbus first arrives in the Caribbean.
Picture of ChristopherColumbus
There is no authentic portrait of Christopher Columbus.
His expedition was financed by Spain and at that time Europe had no knowledge of what was west of Africa. The exact location where Columbus first landed is in dispute. Kids have long been taught that when Columbus set sail in 1492 it was feared he would fall off the Earth. Historians say there is no doubt Columbus knew the earth was round.As early as the sixth century B.C., Pythagoras and later Aristotle and Euclid wrote about the Earth as a sphere. Ptolemy, known as the father of Geography wrote a book entitled “Geography” at the height of the Roman Empire, 1,300 years before Columbus sailed. Ptolemy considered the idea of a round planet as fact.  
  • 1493 Columbus returns to Spain in the Nina.
pic of SantaMaria
The Santa Maria Columbus`s Flagship
pic of the nina
The Nina the smallest of Columbus`s first three ships.
pic of the Pinta
The Pinta the second largest of Columbus`s first three ships.
After the Santa Maria sank Columbus returned to Spain and then on September of 1493 he left from Cadiz in Spain for his second voyage with 17 ships and about 1200 men. Columbus still believed that he had found some uncharted islands and that further exploration was needed. He did not bring back much in the way of gold or other valuable items. He did, however, have a handful of  natives he had taken on the island of Hispaniola and was able  to convince the Spanish crown to a second voyage of discovery and colonization. The island first sighted in his second voyage was named Dominica by Columbus, a name it retains to this day. Columbus and some of his men visited the island, but it was inhabited by fierce Caribs and they did not stay very long.     
  • 1498 Columbus arrives in Trinidad 
Picture of Columbus`s voyage
Columbus`s voyage that took him to Trinidad and Tobago
Some say it was because he had entrusted this voyage to the Holy Trinity, others say it was because he had seen the three peaks after his voyage became over bearing. There remain some unanswered questions about the Trinity Hills.
Pic of TrinittyHills(TheThreePeaks)
TrinittyHills(TheThreePeaks)
Did Columbus see these peaks or is it just a myth? One factor that would have made it impossible for Alonzo Perez(the look-out), to see the peaks in the Southern Range was the distance Columbus was from the land. What ever the reason Trinidad was named after the Holy Trinity. Trinity Hills are located in Mayaro, Trinidad and Tobago. The estimate terrain elevation above seal level is 120 metres. There is no land in the Southern Range higher than 700 feet. From 45 miles away it would have been difficult for Pérez to see even the much higher mountains of the northern range.The Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta were not used by Christopher Columbus when he encountered Trinidad on July 31, 1498.  In his book "Admiral of the Ocean Seas" Samuel Morison gives the names of these three ships as Santa Maria de Guia which Columbus called La Nao, La Vequenos and El Correo.  
  • 1499-1504 Columbus explores the Indies.
After obtaining water on the south coast of Trinidad, Columbus began to explore the waters between South America and Trinidad.
Pic of Columbus meeting the Amerindians
Columbus meets the Amerindians
He spotted the coast of South America then explored the mainland of South America, including the Orinoco River. He was accompanied by Bartolomé de Las Casas, who later published partial transcripts of Columbus' logs. A few days later the Spaniards set sail again and reached the island of Margarita where he found the natives fishing for pearls.