The island of Trinidad became, evidently, a colony of Spain from 1498, but it experienced a very slow rate of settlement for nearly a century, though slave raids by the Spanish considerably reduced the numbers of the indigenous population. In 1592 the Spanish formally established a town, San José de Oruna (Known today as St Joseph), and some of the institutions typical of Spanish New World colonization. Still over the years, very little people from Spain settled; encomienda’s were established, missionaries converted many of the indigenes and grouped them into mission villages. But Trinidad remained an isolated, scarcely developed outpost of the vast Spanish American empire. The population, consisted of a few of ‘white’ Spaniards, some mixed-race or mestizo people, a few enslaved Africans and the surviving indigenes, who were now scarce in numbers. Majority of the island remained uncultivated, with no prosperous plantation economy developed, even though some cocoa was grown and exported.
Trinidad was never a French colony yet France has significantly influenced our history and culture. This happened, of course, because of the influx of the French immigrants in the late 1700s. French settlers were encouraged to settle under the decree or Cedula of Population 1783, they were mainly Roman Catholics, and France and Spain were closely allied at this time. French planters were encouraged to settle under the decree or Cedula of 1783—they were Roman Catholics, and France and Spain were closely allied at this time. When the French settlers arrived they were most white but some ‘free coloured’ among them as well (free persons of mixed African and European descent), they gradually transformed the economy and society of Trinidad in the late 1700s. They conveyed slaves with them, and eventually brought in more directly from Africa in the 1790s. Plantations were established out of the vast available uninhabited land. Cotton, coffee and sugar cultivation commenced, with sugar being the dominating crop by the end of the century. Port of Spain, became a busy little port and the island had plentiful goods to export, and residents able and anxious to purchase imports. By 1797 Trinidad was rapidly becoming a sugar and slavery economy with its society made up of mainly French elite, and an important free coloured class of landowners.
In 1783, the offshore island, Gaspar Grande was granted to Gaspar de Percin Roque by Spanish Governor José María Chacón. The island environment didn’t give Gaspar de Percin much choice in crop cultivation, as cotton was one of only thriving crops on the island. His slaves were eventually used to build the fortifications on the island.
This appraise, declared in 1783, led to thousands of French Caribbean pioneers and their slaves coming to settle in Trinidad under an contract prepared among King Carlos IV of Spain and a French planter from Grenada, Philippe-Rose Roume de St Laurent. It was the commencement of the setting up of estates, and one of the next planters who were Monsieur Teteron and his wife, Madame Teteron, who bestowed her name to the estate and settlement of Teteron.