Chaguaramas History

Because of Chaguaramas’ location in Trinidad’s north-western peninsula, it has played a significant role in the annals of Trinidad’s history and indeed the history of the world. The arrival of the Spanish to Chaguaramas eventually led to the decimation of the Amerindians. For many years, the only people found in the Bocas were pirates who lurked on the south of Gasparee, awaiting traders who were sailing to Venezuela.

 

Chaguaramas had a thriving whaling trade during the latter half of the Eighteenth Century and names such as Pt. Baleine and Copper Hole reflect that history. The islands of Chacachacare, Gaspar Grande, and Monos (part of Chaguaramas’ off-shore archipelago) had whaling stations. In the following century, when the French arrived, they built large sugar plantations and suffered a slave revolt in 1805. In 1813, the first re-invasion of Venezuela by patriots was orchestrated from Chacahacare island under the leadership of Santiago Marino.

 

During World War II, the British Government granted the United States Army and Navy base rights on British possessions in the Americas and the Americans gave the British fifty (50) destroyers under the Destroyers for Bases Agreement of 1940. This allowed the Americans to build the Waller Army Airfield Base in Chaguaramas. The base achieved full operation in 1943. The disruption caused by the construction of the Base and social upheaval caused by the arrival of the United States Marines inspired Trinidadian calypsonian Rupert Westmore Grant (calypso sobriquet – Lord Invader) to write “Rum and Coca-Cola”. On 13 June 1944 at Club Versailles the Andrew Sisters, one of America’s favourite female singing group, recorded and popularized the song. Most Americans did not know about the song’s connection to Trinidad.