Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
|Some Amerindian Artifacts fround in Trinidad & Tobago|
The history of Trinidad begins with the settlements of the islands by Amerindians. Both islands were explored by Christopher Columbus on his third voyage in 1498. Tobago changed hands between the British, French, Dutch and Courlanders, but eventually ended up in British hands. Trinidad remained in Spanish hands until 1797, but it was largely settled by French colonists. In 1888 the two islands were incorporated into a single crown colony. Trinidad and Tobago obtained its independence from the British Empire in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.
Human settlement in Trinidad dates back at least 7,000 years. The earliest settlers, termed Archaic or Ortoiroid, are believed to have settled Trinidad from northeastern South America around 5000 BC. Twenty-nine Archaic sites have been identified, mostly in south Trinidad; this includes the 7,000-year-old Banwari Trace site which is the oldest discovered human settlement in the eastern Caribbean. Archaic populations were pre-ceramic, and dominated the area until about 200 BC.
|7000 year old remains of Banwari Man (or woman)|
click to read more.
Around 250 BC the first ceramic-using people in the Caribbean, the Saladoid people, entered Trinidad. Earliest evidence of these people come from around 2100 BC along the banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. From Trinidad they are believed to have moved north into the remaining islands of the Caribbean. Thirty-seven Saladoid sites have been identified in Trinidad, and are located all over the island.
|Saladoid red on white ceramic artifacts|
After 250 AD a third group, called the Barrancoid people settled in southern Trinidad after migrating up the Orinoco River toward the sea. The oldest Barrancoid settlement appears to have been at Erin, on the south coast.
Following the collapse of Barrancoid communities along the Orinoco around 650 AD, a new group, called the Arauquinoid expanded up the river to the coast. The cultural artifacts of this group were only partly adopted in Trinidad and adjacent areas of northeast Venezuela, and as a result this culture is called Guayabitoid in these areas.
Around 1300 AD a new group appears to have settled in Trinidad and introduced new cultural attributes which largely replaced the Guayabitoid culture. Termed the Mayoid cultural tradition, this represents the native tribes which were present in Trinidad at the time of European arrival.
Their distinct pottery and artifacts survive until 1800, but after this time they were largely assimilated into mainstream Trinidad society. These included the Nepoya and Suppoya (who were probably Arawak-speaking) and the Yao (who were probably Carib-speaking). They have generally been called Arawaks and Caribs. These were largely wiped out by the Spanish colonizers under the encomienda system. Under this system which was basically a form of slavery, Spanish encomederos forced the Amerindians to work for them in exchange for Spanish "protection" and conversion to Christianity. The survivors were first organized into Missions by the Capuchin friars, and then gradually assimilated. The oldest organized indigenous group in Trinidad is the Santa Rosa Carib Community centered in the town of Arima, although several new groups have developed in recent years.
This was my I post in the A to Z Challenge 2013. I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad, the larger of the two islands which make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. My theme this year is True to Trinidad and Tobago. I invite you to explore my home with me. The rest of my A to Z posts can be found here.
Monday, April 8, 2013
My cousins are helping me to select topics for my AtoZ Challenge this year and eagerly suggested Guayaguayare, (pronounced: gwah-yah-gwah-yah-ree), for today's post. Guayaguayare is the southeasternmost village in Trinidad and two of my cousins lived there between 1979 and 1983. I remember spending happy times at their house and at the nearby beaches several times per year. Even after they moved out of "Guaya", their Dad still worked at Trintoc so he kept the house for many years. Weekend-long cousins' limes were common back then.
Guayaguayare was first inhabited by the Amerindians who had become extinct in this region by the time the French had arrived in the 1780's. They are the people responsible for the name of the area and this name survival is one of their last remaining legacies in the country. The meaning of the name is not fully known but in the Arawak (Lokono) language waya means ‘clay’.
Guayaguayare was the first part of Trinidad to be spotted by Christopher Columbus on July 31, 1498, when the island was claimed in the name of Spain.
In 1797, during Senior Don Jose Maria Chacon's tenure as Govenor of Trinidad,, he granted land along the entire Guayaguayare strip to some French settlers who had procured up to seventy-four cotton plantations. Agriculturalists had also experimented with cocoa, coffee and sugar which were later supplanted by coconut plantations which became the prime agricultural export product out of that area from the 19th century onwards.
Galeota Point, the last jot of land on the southeastern peninsula holds a very meaningful place in Trinidad and Tobago's socio-economic history. It is home to a significant portion of Trinidad and Tobago's gas and oil reserves and it is frequented by wildlife, especially a variety of bird species on migratory routes across the Caribbean. It was originally referred to as ‘Punta de Galera' but was changed to its current name, Galeota Point during the British takeover by the Captain of the Royal Surveying Engineers, Frederick Mallet, in 1797. This area has been victim to coastal erosion for centuries and is probably less than half the size it was in the 1790's. Thus, by the 1900's, villagers began the laborious process of carrying back their houses to avoid engulfment by the sea.
In 1870, oil was discovered by a huntsman in the Guayaguayare forest and a report on the finding went to London, but nothing became of this until 1893 when a Canadian merchant, Randolph Rust, with the backing of the Oil Exploration Syndicate of Canada took advantage of the findings in 1901. Oil was first struck from the ground in 1902 on the banks of the Pilot River and became the most important industry in the country. Today, however, oil previously found on land has depleted considerably and offshore oil operations are the more popular trend, although land explorations have far from ceased.
Although Guayaguayare remains a sparsely populated village, it is still busy with activities such as fishing, oil exploitation and exploration, and coconut production. It remains one of the most beautiful areas of Trinidad and Tobago and continues to attract tourist and business prospects from all over the world.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
The last Full Moon was on the 27th of March and I accepted an invitation to be a part of a Full Moon Yoga Session up at The North Deck, a cantilevered observation platform which extends out from a ridge high over our rain forest. This amazing tree canopy eventually makes its way down to the sea and the famous North Coast of Trinidad.
It was my first time up at The North Deck, and despite that fact that the yoga session took place at night and the Caribbean Sea was not visible below, it was magical being up there. I’ve always felt affected by the Moon…it’s simple logic to me really: I’m made up of 70% water, so why wouldn’t the Moon have some sort of effect on me as it has on every body of water on the planet? (Unfortunately, a few days before the Full Moon I’m unusually temperamental, but that’s a story for another day.)
“The Moon is believed to represent our intuition, mind, emotions, creativity, sensitivity, and the great feminine power. The Full Moon brings closure, death (to a situation or feeling), change, rebirth, and manifestation. It is a time where we can reflect on those things that no longer serve and give ourselves honor and nourishment in releasing them. The Moon corresponds to the element water and invites us to remember our connection to the oceans held within earth, as well as the oceans of water contained within our own bodies. Water invites movement, flow, a breaking through of built up physical, energetic, and emotional resistance. Water is the element that soothes and calms through steady, cool dissolve.”
It is believed the Full Moon day can bring spiritual clarity and inspiration from the Divine. The gates to true knowledge are opened within our hearts and we have the greatest opportunity to achieve peace and absolute freedom. I was especially hoping for this to be true that night as I really needed some clarity after a doozy of a weekend.
I had done some research about the power of this Full Moon and was ready to release what no longer served me and was weighing me down, to take responsibility for what had happened in my life and what was happening (good and bad), and to review and rejuvenate my relationship with myself and with others. The full moon is a time of illumination and I was ready to draw upon the clarity that comes from introspection even if uncomfortable truths were revealed. I was going to let them be a catalyst for change.
The Yoga was Vinyasa Flow, a version I had never tried before and I hadn’t actually practiced my Yoga in almost seven months. I was a bit concerned that I would not hold my own but it was amazing: my body just took over and fell right into it. After an hour or so, we were all lying on our mats resting and letting the energies do their work so I started reviewing what I had planned. As I stared at the Moon through the canopy of branches and leaves above me, I let go of hurt, anger, doubt, fear, insecurity, and feelings of unworthiness. Then I invited love, faith, hope, and clarity into my life. The wind started to blow as I watched the branches above me dance and then all of a sudden I felt the wind on my face and leaves falling on and around me. I reflexively clutched the large leaf that landed on my tummy, as my tears flowed. It was an amazing experience. One I hope to carry with me to the next Full Moon.
More about my life with Yoga can be found here.
Friday, April 5, 2013
During the last sixty days Trinidad & Tobago has experienced six earthquakes. That’s quite a lot in such a short space of time, especially when you consider that none were aftershocks. They each had their own epicenter, even though they appear to be along the same plate boundary. Our twin island republic lies on the Caribbean plate sharing plate boundaries with the North American, South American, Nazca Plate and Cocos Plates. These boundaries are regions of intense seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes, occasional tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
|Caribbean Plate Boundaries|
I’m not all that concerned with the number of earthquakes along this plate boundary. It’s actually healthy in my opinion and our seismology records indicate that frequent earthquakes are actually the norm. It is a little unusual to have so many happen in such a short space of time but I’d be more worried if there were none at all which would mean that the plates are deadlocked and the pressure is building. That sort of situation usually results in a massive jolt when the build up of pressure gets to be too much. In the meantime, I prefer the little rumbles and shakes that wake me up in the middle of the night and set my facebook and twitter friends abuzz.
|4th February 2013|
|10th February 2013|
|13th February 2013|
|9th March 2013|
|31st March 2013|
|3rd April 2013|
This was my E post in the A to Z Challenge 2013. I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad, the larger of the two islands which make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. My theme this year is True to Trinidad and Tobago. I invite you to explore my home with me. The rest of my A to Z posts can be found here.
UWI Seismic Research Centre
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Doubles is a staple in the diet of most Trinidadians and Tobagonians. It is of East Indian origin and gets it's name from the two (double) fried dough 'flat breads' called bara each about palm sized, which holds the curried chick peas filling. This messy sandwich of sorts is usually dressed with tangy chutneys, hot pepper sauces and cooling cucumber and coconut preparations. It is eaten with the hands and best when hot (not warm).
Vendors are all over the country, in most every neighborhood, selling at make shift road side stands or out of car trunks. Some have been an established family business for years, perfecting family recipes and gaining loyal followers while putting generations through school. Ask a Trinbagonian who is the best Doubles vendor and you will usually start a lively debate.
For most people Doubles is a quick breakfast option and business professionals, school children, and homemakers alike can all be found in the early early morning hours, lining up on the pavements across the country next to their favourite Doubles 'man', waiting their turn to order "two with slight pepper." Doubles is also popular after a night at your regular watering hole or after a fete and vendors can be found outside bars and nightclubs late at night and into the wee hours of the morning.
Lately, as I've become more health conscious, in order to clear my conscience, I decided to look up the Nutritional Value of Doubles. What I found out was actually pretty cool. Nutrition often means what you shouldn’t eat and that includes food high in fat, cholesterol and sodium. You want low fat, high protein and high fibre for a nutritious breakfast. The sodium in doubles is worrisome, but otherwise doubles stack up fairly well. If you eat one doubles you will have ingested 345 calories, 11.8 grams of fat, 997.9 mg of sodium, 51 grams of carbs, two grams of fiber and 9.6 grams of protein. Doubles has no cholesterol. Imagine that! Doubles has no cholesterol! Awesome!
You can find more nutritional information on doubles at sparkpeople.com, myfitnesspal.com, dailyburn.com and fatsecret.com.
This was my D post in the A to Z Challenge 2013. I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad, the larger of the two islands which make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. My theme this year is True to Trinidad and Tobago. I invite you to explore my home with me. The rest of my A to Z posts can be found here.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
On the Macqueripe Road in Tucker Valley, Chaguaramas can be seen the remains of St Chad's Anglican Church. In 1850, Daniel Cave who was the owner of Mount Pleasant Estate, donated 22,800 square feet of land to the Anglican Church for the construction of a church. The church was named after Saint Chad who was an English saint. The original church that was constructed in 1850 was made of wood but after 18 years it fell into a state of disrepair and had to be demolished. The Church members requested a new church and with the help of Daniel Cave a new church was finished in 1875. Unfortunately by 1915 this church was again in a state of decay. Agnes Tucker, who was the wife of the owner of the majority of estates in Chaguaramas, then pushed for the construction of a new church. By the end of 1915, with the help of the people of Mount Pleasant Village (which was created by the former slaves after Emancipation who settled on the lands of Mount Pleasant Estate) and the estate workers a new church was constructed. This church remained in use until the US Army was given Chaguaramas in 1941 for use as a military base.
When St Chad's church was constructed it lay between the grocery and the school. The grocery (though no longer operational) still appears in good condition because of the refurbishing that was done when Mount Pleasant Village was used in 2001 to film some of the scenes for the movie, The Mystic Masseur. Within the church's cemetery can still be seen several graves.
The most prominent grave belongs to Amelia Tripp who was the daughter of William Tucker and married his business partner, Edgar Tripp. Mr. Edgar Tripp was the man who installed the first electricity generating plant in Trinidad. Amelia died at the age of 23. It was the general opinion in those days that only the wealthy were given tombs on dying, whereas a wooden cross showed people of the working class. On her tomb the name Amelia is inscribed. The inscription reads: "Wife of A. Edgar Tripp, Born 19th January, 1856 Died 17th April 1879. Bright be the place of thy soul, No lovelier spirit than thine, E'er brush from its mortal control, In the Orbs of the blessed to shine".
There are those who say that on a dark night she roams the roadway but no one has been able to prove it.
This was my C post in the A to Z Challenge 2013. I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad, the larger of the two islands which make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. My theme this year is True to Trinidad and Tobago. I invite you to explore my home with me. The rest of my A to Z posts can be found here.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
In as much as my first post for the A to Z Challenge 2013 was about Archaeology, I've selected this article about the oldest resident on my island: Banwari Man. I was hoping to visit the site where he was found but perhaps later in the year.
This was my B post in the A to Z Challenge 2013. I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad, the larger of the two islands which make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. My theme this year is True to Trinidad and Tobago. I invite you to explore my home with me. The rest of my A to Z posts can be found here.
Original articles on Banwari Man can be found here, here, and here.
In November 1969, the Trinidad and Tobago Historical Society discovered the remains of a human skeleton at Banwari Trace. Lying on its left-hand side, in a typical Amerindian “crouched” burial position along a northwest axis, Banwari Man (as it is now commonly called) was found 20-cm below the surface and is presently located at the museum of the University of the West Indies. Its feet were higher than the rest of the body, and unfortunately were excavated and bagged separately. Only two items were associated, a round pebble by the head and a needle point by the hip. Its situation in a shallow pocket of humus, apparently excavated into the shell midden, and subsequently covered by normal shell refuse, places burial shortly before end of occupation, probably about 5500 years ago.
The archaeological site at Banwari Trace where the skeleton was found is located in Southwest Trinidad, and was featured in World Monument Watch 2004, an internationally acclaimed magazine that highlighted the world’s 100 most endangered sites. Dr. Basil Reid, Head of The University of the West Indies Archaeology Centre and Lecturer in Archaeology at UWI, wrote about the importance of this historical site to our cultural heritage and pre-Columbian history.
“Dated to about 5000 B.C. (years Before Christ) or 7000 B.P (years Before Present), it is the oldest pre-Columbian site in the West Indies. Banwari Trace sheds considerable light on the patterns of migration of Archaic (pre-ceramic) peoples from mainland South America to the Lesser Antilles via Trinidad between 5000 and 2000 B.C.”
Dr. Reid explained that Banwari Trace’s antiquity holds much significance for understanding the migratory patterns of Archaic peoples from South America into the Caribbean region. Also as the oldest Archaic site in the West Indies, Banwari Trace clearly indicates that southwest Trinidad was one of the first migratory “stops” for northward-bound Archaic settlers who eventually colonized several islands in the Caribbean archipelago.
The 3,127.2-m² property on which the site is situated is now Government-owned, having being acquired from a private landowner in March 2000; while the skeletal remains of Banwari Man are presently in the custody of the Life Science Department, U.W.I., St. Augustine. Preserved with cellulose-in-acetone, the skeleton is in a secure environment and is very much available for future studies by a physical anthropologist.
Banwari man, or woman, is still the oldest skeleton in the West Indies, and its survival for 5000 years at 20cm below the surface is nothing short of miraculous.
Monday, April 1, 2013
6:00am found me speeding eastward on the highway to meet the bus at the University of the West Indies. My Indiana Jones alarmtone selected the night before added to my excitement as did the white gold of the rising sun in front of me. I was stoked to be participating in an archaeological excavation once again. The site we were going to, St. John, was the same one I volunteered at three years ago and I was blown away at the wealth of data collected since then.
I arrived at the University and opted to travel on the bus with eight baby-faced students who were friendly but still looked at me quizzically when Dr. Reid, their professor, introduced me as a volunteer. It's ok, I would've found it unusual that someone who graduated almost two decades ago would be boarding a University bus at 6:15 on a Saturday morning to spend the day scrabbling about in the dirt.
The bus drove us around campus and stopped at the Faculty building for the "manual labour" part of the trip, as the students referred to it as, (collection of tools and supplies from the Archaeology Department), and I suddenly found myself charmed, happy, and full of nostalgia to be walking the halls of my old Faculty building. Things were a bit different: there was no archaeological department when I attended UWI, just the History department. I laughed at myself for the nervous feelings which arose upon reading the familiar names on my old history professors' doors. It was interesting that I felt so happy and comfortable in a space where I thought I remembered the years spent there to be full of angst and excess. Perhaps it was simply that, for a moment, I was a teenager again with my whole life ahead of me, but this time with an archaeological adventure in the mix.
An hour later we were unpacking the bus and the familiar setting of St. John unfolded before me. The Godineau Swamp and Gulf of Paria behind me to the east. The southern plains in front of me and just about three miles away was another excavation site where the oldest human remains were found on my island: the 7000 year old Banwarie Man.
Due to the construction of a roadway in the area, what remains of St. John is just about 125 feet in diameter. This site was inhabited by the Ortoiroids, one of the first two groups of migrants to the Caribbean 7000 years ago. The Ortoiroids probably migrated from the Guianas in South America and settled the Lesser Antilles to as far as Puerto Rico over the 5000 years which followed.
We spent about five hours at the site that day and unearthed many crab claws, oyster, clam, conch and snail shells, bones of what were most likely small mammals and deer, red ochre, a pestle, and a flint stone (which I found!) Believe me when I tell you: it's an amazing feeling holding an object that was last held by another person 7000 years ago!
As the bus slowly away from St. John, through the swamp and toward the sea, I found myself imagining what their lives were like, the Ortoiroid people. Although we already know they were hunter gatherers who came from South America and settled in groups of perhaps forty people in about fifty locations in Trinidad, I wondered what they were like. What did they look like? How did they communicate? Were there laws? What was a family unit like? Did they find life a struggle or a joy? These things are impossible to determine. With names long forgotten and no written record to be found, that information, unfortunately, is lost for all time.
This was my A post in the A to Z Challenge 2013. I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad, the larger of the two islands which make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. My theme this year is True to Trinidad and Tobago. I invite you to explore my home with me. The rest of my A to Z posts can be found here.