Universiteit Leiden

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The indigenous peoples of Trinidad and Tobago from the first settlers until today

This study relates the vicissitudes of the Amerindian peoples who lived or still inhabit the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, from the earliest occupants, ca. 8000 BC, until at present. Using archaeological, ethnohistorical and linguistic data, it discusses the social, political, economic, and religious development of indigenous society through the ages. The Amerindian struggle with European colonization is chronicled in detail, following centuries of independent existence during pre-Columbian times, as well as the survival of the current people of indigenous ancestry in the twin-island republic.

Arie Boomert
30 March 2016
Available from Sidestone Press
Open access download

“This book fills a long-standing gap in the history of Trinidad & Tobago, and the southern Caribbean more generally. It provides a clearly written, authoritative account and analysis of the Amerindians (First Peoples) who lived (and still live) in the two islands, from the very earliest human settlement there up to the present. Based on up-to-the-minute scholarship in several disciplines – archaeology, ethnography, history, linguistics – Boomert dispels many myths and misconceptions about these peoples, and carefully traces the complex history of their settlement, in successive waves of migration, in both islands, their interactions with Europeans arriving from 1498, and their “decline” in the post-contact period.”

Dr. Bridget Brereton, Emerita Professor of History, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

“This book is a welcome addition to the literature we are now seeking to inform our work here at the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, as it brings to light important aspects of our buried history. Of particular interest is the information on the involvement of the Dutch in the struggles of the First Peoples, and the connection with Hierreyma, our great Nepuyo Chieftain. It is an inspiration to those of us who are currently engaged in efforts to secure the rightful place of the First Peoples of this land – Kairi.”

Ricardo Bharath Hernandez, Chief Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, Arima, Trinidad, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The publication of this book was made possible by the Caribbean Research Group of the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. The research leading to the writing of this book received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement No. 319209 under the direction of Professor C.L. Hofman.

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