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History, Colonial Rule

Spain subsequently colonized the island and in 1532 appointed a governor for it. The indigenous population was soon worked to death or exiled, after which African slaves were brought in. During the 17th century the island suffered from raids by the Dutch and French. During the French revolutionary period, many French families came to Trinidad from Haiti and other islands of the West Indies. In February 1797, during the wars of the French Revolution, Trinidad capitulated to a British force, and in 1802, following the Treaty of Amiens, it was formally ceded to Great Britain. Slavery was abolished in 1833, and between 1845 and 1917 more than 150,000 Muslim and Hindu Indians were brought to the island of Trinidad by the British to replace plantation slaves.

Tobago, inhabited by the Caribs, was also sighted in 1498 by Columbus. It was successively a Spanish, British, Dutch, and French possession until 1814, when France, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, had to cede the island to Britain. Tobago formed a part of the Windward Islands Colony until 1889, when it was joined to Trinidad.

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