Planning to visit Trinidad and Tobago, do visit Fort George!
Planning to visit Trinidad and Tobago, do visit Fort George! || Picture Courtesy: National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago (Facebook)
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Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: The National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago informed the general public about the Fort George signal station, which was designed by an Ashanti Prince, Kofi Nti in 1883.

As per the update, Nti arrived in Trinidad from West Africa on July 1, 1881, as a ward of the British government after the Anglo-Ashanti wars and lived here until 1886, when he departed for Sierra Leone.

Prior to this, Fort George itself was constructed by a formerly enslaved African, Jonas Mohammed Bath, who was born in Senegambia, West Africa. There are many places in Trinidad where the influence of the African ancestors can be seen today. One of these more popular sites is Fort George, formerly known as La Vigie, located in St James overlooking the Gulf of Paria.

The update informed that during the early 1800s, Bath was enslaved and brought to Trinidad where he was purchased by the British colonial authorities to work on the construction of Fort George, which had been commissioned by Governor Sir Thomas Hislop. Bath was highly educated and literate in Arabic, qualities which led Governor Hislop to appoint him as the foreman at Fort George.

Following this, Bath was able to purchase his freedom by 1812 and became the magistrate and religious leader of a local community of free African Muslims, called the “Mandingo” population. According to historian Bridget Brereton, over the years the group was able to purchase the freedom of many enslaved people. After Emancipation, this group of free Africans became home to over 140 people with Bath as their representative until his death in 1838.