207 years of freedom: Merikins' arrival in Trinidad commemorated by National Archives
207 years of freedom: Merikins' arrival in Trinidad commemorated by National Archives

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Today marks 207 years since the largest group of Merikins arrived in Trinidad on August 20th 1816, stated the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago while informing the general public.

Through social media, the organization informed about the event and stated that from 1815 to the 1820s, Trinidad became home to over seven hundred formerly enslaved black people from the American South who had served in the British Colonial Marines during the War of 1812 in the US.

As per the update, in exchange for their service, they were granted their freedom and land on which to settle in Trinidad. Known as the Merikins—an abbreviated version of the word “Americans”—they settled mainly in six Company Villages in isolated forested areas in South Trinidad during a time when slavery was still being practised.

The cultural heritage of the Merikins is kept alive today by descendants of the Merikins both in and out of the Company Villages. Organizations like the Merikin Commission, Merikin Inc. and the Merikin Heritage Foundation, which were formed by members from the community, work to educate the public on the rich history of these freedom fighters.

It was also informed that our exhibition, “Celebrating the Merikins”, provides some history on the Merikins and their cultural heritage. Follow this link to view or download the exhibition: https://natt.gov.tt/…/pdfs/Celebrating-the-Merikins.pdf.

In addition to this, it invited the government to come and experience the Merikin Collection and increase their knowledge.

“We also invite you to schedule an appointment to view the Merikin Collection at the National Archives, which includes colonial correspondence and ship records pertaining to the arrival of the Merikins in Trinidad,” it outlined through social media.