Noteworthy Cities and Towns

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Many of the names of towns and villages that you see on a map of Trinidad and Tobago originated with the Amerindians who were indigenous to our isles. Arima, meaning 'water', is one such example. Founded by Capuchin monks in 1757, it is one of the earliest settlements on the island. Situated in the idyllic foothills of the Northern Range, it served as a meeting point for neighbouring estates and for the most part, led a quiet, sleepy life.

Its calm reverie was broken in the 1780s, when the Mission of Arima - as it was known - was used by Governor Jose Maria Chacon as a transfer point for the Amerindians from the neighbouring districts who were forced off their lands to allow settlement by newly arrived French planters under the Cedula. This continued until 1828 when Arima was no longer preserved as a Mission. By the 1870s, a radical transformation took place with the rapid spread of the cocoa industry.

Planters began to clamour for a more efficient system of transportation into Port of Spain. Arima, historically the hub for the outlying districts, saw the inauguration of the first railway line in Trinidad for both passengers and freight.

Arima's economy has changed from an agricultural base to an industrial one, with the establishment of factories and housing estates along the outskirts of town. The area still remains home to much of Trinidad's Amerindian population. The feast of Santa Rosa, in which descendants of the Carib tribe parade in full regalia, is still celebrated on the streets of the town, and on this special occasion a Carib 'Queen' is selected.

Did You Know

Before the arrival of the Spanish, the Carib people called Trinidad "The Land of the Hummingbird".

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