Treaty of Chaguaramas

During the independence movement of the 20th century among the Caribbean colonies, the British attempted to form one, independent West Indies Federation in 1958 and Chaguaramas was chartered to be the capital.  The Federation was short-lived—only existing from January 3, 1958 to May 31, 1962. The Federation’s objective was to give rise to a political unit consisting of numerous Caribbean colonies of the United Kingdom that would become independent from Britain as a single state, comparable to the Australian Federation or Canadian Confederation. However, before it could become independent, the Federation collapsed due to internal politics.  Some say that the West Indian cricket team is a legacy of the Federation, even though the side was actually structured thirty years preceding the birth of the Federation.


During the Federation, the University of the West Indies engaged in a policy of regional development beyond the main Jamaican campus and also established two other campuses: one in Trinidad and Tobago, established in 1960, and one in Barbados.


On 4 July 1973, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) was formed upon the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in Chaguaramas. The first four signatories were Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM took the place of the 1965–1972 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), which had been structured to offer a continued economic linkage between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean following the disbanding of the West Indies Federation. The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community signed a Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas on 5 July 2001 at their Twenty-Second Meeting of the Conference in Nassau, The Bahamas.  This established the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).