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From Columbus to Castro
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A Brief History of the Caribbean: From the Arawak and Carib to the Present
A Brief History of the Caribbean

Tobago in History

The Dutch established themselves in Tobago in the 16th and 17th centuries. They had brought with them European medieval engineering.

In Tobago, sugar cane produced the juice from which sugar, rum and molasses came. Tobago show in their overgrown ruins economic activity and the mechanics of industrialization. The seized rusted giant cogwheels of the apparatus lie there to testify of a time of European colonization.

Franklyn's estate, St. David, is an example of the ruins of a sugar estate complex. Today, its machinery is called the 'Arnos Vale Waterwheel'. It is off Franklyn's Road, where one can see one of plantation sites of Tobago. One can visit three different sugar cane crushing technologies next to each other. There are the foundations of a windmill, the ruin of a chimney adjacent to a well-preserved steam engine, and an iron wheel, stamped 1857. Just behind are the ruins of an aqueduct, which once brought water to the wheel from the nearby river.

There is a windmill at Courland Bay estate, which has been turned into a house. The windmill at Grange estate is now a house as well. Mount Irvin estate, now a grand hotel, has its windmill built into the hotel itself. There are three mills at Riseland estate in St. Andrew, and two at Golden Grove. There are two at Bon Accord, converted into houses. Friendship estate has two, also converted into houses. There is also a large windmill at Lowlands.

Windmills exist at Killgwyn, Cove Shirvan and Bacolet. These ancient monuments to our past are parts of the history of Tobago. It gives insight into the 16th century adventurers against the backdrop of Europe's wars of conquest.

If only these monuments could talk, they would tell us about the excesses of the colonizers, the exploitation of people and the raping of the land. They would tell us, though the people have changed Tobago remains one of the most scenic places in the Caribbean.

Sources | Trinidad & Tobago | TriniView Home

Tobago in History Home | During the 17th and 18th centuries
The Capitulation and the Region

Compiled and edited by Amon Hotep for
Education 2000@