June 7, 2012
0240 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (Tobago) - Now silent guns
It’s said that Tobago is a small island with a big history, and I tend to believe that is true. Between Tobago's discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1498, when he called it Bella Forma (Beautifully Formed) and its final possession by British forces in 1793, the island was renamed several times as it was settled by Courlanders (Latvians), Dutch, Germans, Jews, British, French, and Scandinavians, each of them building forts to protect its newly won possession, which it changed the "owner" 33 times, as I say here (you can find a detailed timeline of Tobago's history here).
The colonists of all nations were massacred many times over time, whether by indigenous, whether by enemy forces, only four of the numerous forts built on the island surviving until today, better or worse preserved: Fort James (Plymouth), Fort Bennet (Black Rock), Fort Milford (Crown Point), Fort Granby (Studley Park). Fort James, which overlooks Great Courland bay on Plymouths coral headland, on the south-western shore of the island (in image), was originally called Jekabforts, or Fort Jacob, after its founder, Jacob Kettler, the Duke of Courland. The original fortifications date back to 1654, and, like Tobago itself, it have changed hands many times.
In 1762 the English captured Tobago, officialy ceded to Britain a year later, by the Treaty of Paris, so a military picket post was established here, which in 1770 was attacked by revolting slaves. In 1777 the militia erected a four gun battery of 3-18 pounders and 1-6 pounder was positioned here for the protection of shipping in the bay. In 1781 the battery was destroyed by the French, who occupied the site until the island was recaptured by the British in 1793, for the final time. The current coral block fort was built in 1811 and comprised emplacements for 18 pounder guns, a powder magazine and an oven for heating shot.
sender: Nalini Mohammed (direct swap)
sent from San Fernando (Trinidad and Tobago), on 08.05.2012
photo: Farouk Khan