The Transcaribbean, from Pointe-à-Pitre to Trinidad (Documentary, Discovery, History)

following a migration from the far-off Amazon that lasted several thousand years the Taino Arawak and Carib Indians had populated all of the Antilles by the time the caravels of Christopher Columbus arrived at the end of the 15th century Spanish colonized mainly the Greater Antilles composed of the islands of Cuba Hispaniola and Puerto Rico once the Indian resistance had been repressed these islands served as departure points for the expeditions of Cortes to Mexico and Pizarro to Peru within a few years the Capitals had been founded San Juan of Puerto Rico Havana and Santo Domingo the Spanish were the uncontested masters of the new world the lands that they had conquered were so vast so rich that they didn’t bother with the minor islands of the Lesser Antilles these were the islands that the English the French and the Dutch who embarked upon their colonial adventures much later would fight over gradually a tropical Europe to perform in the heart of the Caribbean Sea for centuries sailing ships then the early steamers would travel from Seville to Cuba from London to the Barbados from not to Martinique but there were no maritime routes connecting the islands within the Caribbean we’ve sailed from Florida to the archipelago of lace and now we’ll continue our trance Caribbean voyage our final destination is Trinidad we’re on board the star clipper a four master in the olden style we’re headed towards Guadeloupe with a few other passengers we’ve got a fairly stiff wind and a choppy sea but the Vista is breathtaking the captain has decided to drop anchor just off day a small fishing village on the leeward side of Guadalupe far from the islands more touristy zones day has managed to keep a certain authenticity and a tranquil atmosphere mr. e Samba never misses the practice sessions of these young villagers were striving to maintain the old time sailing traditions in his day sailing wasn’t a leisure activity far from it the boats were 23 metres long and 4 metres wide they didn’t use the lateen sails just the square sails they would transport cold and lumbering passengers from bus-stand and they would bring back merchandise to start the shops and then there was the Second World War after the war cars started to come in here and by little they replace the cargo box that’s when I stopped and I

became a fisherman what it did is it for my boat was called lizard it was my father boat I started when I was 16 they took me on at 16 my father was captain and he took me on as a seaman whereas in day there’s still some of the atmosphere of the olden days in Puente people things have evolved much quicker the port where the schooners used to dock is now home to the powerful high speed catamarans that go from Guadeloupe to the outlying islands they sent money gallant and ladies yard there are however still some pockets where the traditions hang on like here in the market a spot where the authentic Guadalupe and life abounds here you can meet tourists in the market for fruit and spices but also the locals who are out doing their everyday shopping damaged women was an emotional one of a home cell function or misery I mean only taking about nobody woman oh can you be sure the cemetery in Maranello perched on a hillside with its tombs covered in black and white tiles is another place where the memory of guadalupe lives on meet dolores whose main ambition is to maintain the threat of the traditions and transmit them to the younger generations but to maintain the traditions one has to first understand them our traditions are very much alive union guadalupe from generation to generation we realize that the young people are defending the traditions now you have the funeral homes of course but normally we kept the deceased person in the home for two days and we would hold a wake each family would come in with candles coffee rum and soup and a meal and we’d spend the night with a deceased among family with friends and neighbors after the burial it was good to gather at the house once again for nine nights of prayer and veneration day which was something like the wake the women dressed in mourning for two years for their mother and one year for their husband even though the traditions Express the diversity of the Caribbean islands they’ve often evolved from the same sources colonization and slavery of all the Guadalupe in traditions Dolores his favorite is the cockpit the arena where the fights take place she set up a pit in her own home along with a little Museum and she takes visitors on guided tours on fight evenings once we’ve weighed the we move on matching the adversaries same weight and same value in the French Antilles cockfighting is not to the death these birds are top athletes and we train them for fighting for six or seven years they can live for up to 14 or 15 years in every island in the Caribbean has its own particularity for example a quadrille dancer it’s totally different

from one island to the next in pieces in Grantaire dance the quadrille with a color but not in Spanish look I do you come on quadrille comes from Italy but each Island is modified it in its own way there are French Spanish and English influences and we try to make a blend of all that a sort of melting pot it’s as I said this island has the culture of five continents and it’s small to take all that in but it’s important looking at a political map of the Caribbean is enough to make you dizzy there are so many very small independent countries this mosaic had its practical side during World War two what was the situation at the time in 1940 the French refused defeat and the Vichy government fled to London here for the Guadeloupe and Patriots London was the neighbouring island of Dominica then an English colony BOC teleme Pino was one of those men one of the dissidents as they recall them it was here from the kappa stair beach in southern Guadeloupe that he left more than 60 years ago for him it seems like yesterday I was scared but since I had to give the example I said to myself I’m the leader I’ll take them to Dominica I said to them listen we’re leaving for Dominica we’re leaving as dissidents we were hiding here in this spot because they were informers that go say you know there are some guys that are going to leave from capistan and then we saw the boat coming in and it landed look the skipper asked us if we had the money I said yes and I gave him the money we headed out for Dominica in the middle of the night and were spotted by the searchlights of the patrol boat to Charlotte the skipper load the sail right away and he said here take this line if they come up to you you tell them we’re fishing it was foggy and we couldn’t see very well because we used to navigate by sight we eventually made it to some Joseph and that’s where we landed the police came and got us and took us off in the wagons the police station as roses that each other politic the political situation was unfair after done because with a profoundly French among ourselves we would say that there were a lot more French than ananias Asians and Lorraine’s our voyage across the Caribbean now takes us to Martinique what did Martin represent for the French colonists of the 17th century a lost island at the far ends of the earth a land with a climate favourable for sugarcane plantations whereas for the colonists the sea symbolized the link that kept them in touch with France for the African slaves uprooted from their

homeland the sea had a completely different sense has always been a clue it’s important to note that unlike the coastal dwellers of the Mediterranean who enjoyed the freedom of their space voyages the form of escape for the early colonists here and of course for the slaves the Caribbean Sea represented an enclosure a boundary to prevent them from returning to their point of departure when deep ah there was also the separation between the different colonists the Spanish the English the French so in a way everyone’s hunkered down in their own Island and it’s true that back then the people were mainly turned toward the land meaning the plantations even today you can notice that there are not an awful lot of maritime exchange mass between the different islands of the Caribbean that of course have the same populations but have very different colonial past times have changed the descendants of the early slaves eventually tamed their fears of the sea on the beach of Ludhiana a center of Martinique’s colonial history the gumbo traces always attract an enthusiastic crowd of spectators the see the pleasant climate the music the creole language are all stereotypes used to depict Martinique rum on the other hand has its own special status it has taken several centuries for the Martinique aid to give it the importance it deserves in their islands heritage shotgun each one has his own interpretation and his own history with Romani come in since rum was born from the confrontation between the Europeans and the Africans with the whole slavery based system that we know the Europeans have the image of the pirate the privateer the freebooter the Buccaneer of the open sea the Caribbean whereas the Africans the descendants of the slaves rum evokes poorly paid work suffering despair depending on whether one is on the European side or the African side it’s not the same vision of this common history that is wrong in Quito home it’s only now little by little as people’s minds are becoming decolonized that we’re beginning to accept what is truly a culture a customer unity or inhibition we’re leaving Martinique and heading for Kings town capital of the country that since 1979 has been composed of the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Islands st. Vincent all by itself resumes the whole history of the lesser antilles all the protagonists are there on the program Christopher Columbus who landed on the island in 1498 and gave it its name the Carib Indians who were there resisting colonization the French and the English who took turns occupying the island and also the slaves brought over from Africa to work the sugarcane we have to add the black Caribes to this list they were runaway slaves who intermarried with the Indians and formed a new ethnic group these black Caribes also called Garifuna held out for a long time against the English before being conquered in 1796 and deported to the Honduras like all its neighbors in the Antilles

st. Vincent is oriented towards tourism in the last few years this gateway to the grenadine islands has become a favorite destination for pleasure boating at the Blue Lagoon marina on the southern end of the island we board a sailboat to pursue our route across the Caribbean Dexter is our skipper he’ll be taking us further south to the island of Carriacou where another boat is waiting for us but for now our course is in the direction of Beck way we got to our morality big back way it might some hail and it’s the home of sealers and whalers most agree sale even by Syria now where is this main singing sailing sailing time is one hour come back with us and Vinson and have fury from Sir Winston all the way down to you in an island and I got a whole things a week 400 passenger fear Beck way is only 18 square kilometers yet it is the largest of the grenadine Islands it’s population is the result of a curious mixture of the African slaves and former colonists of Scottish origin and then later in the 19th century American whalers from New Bedford it was they who began the islands whaling tradition we are preparing able to go out and whatever the second week in February you will come home buddy moon you know moves quite the moon and first quarter last button will come home my great-grandfather he live until he was I want to get on tree and he’s doing a young Chilean ship and New Bedford and takut New England this place and then my grandfather also will put young Twitter’s a my father he will with an over the wheelers and then it’s in my blood and relatable glory in my father days used to get any amount of will but now they give them a certain amount protector Rome is something this is

something this is it give them to catch true I know I understand they’re giving them chance not to get three very dangerous very dangerous no engine no nothing at all just a the robots sailing board the sailor and the rope see something when you were on your strike there was willing to come on a diet this is one very budding Ritz company both and tried to fight the boat very dangerous very dangerous very dangerous anytime you see who got close throwing to happen it I just feel good because I know whatever food for everybody and in medicine for everybody and the expectation on you really high and God yeah well one we have one are we a little before country there’s no crazy it’s a carnival thing you know because everybody would be the one we’ll meet so much they want it all so much the bones we take them to make seats and so on the unless thing that is waste underwear is the interesting in the morning we leave back way heading for the Tobago Keys a series of five small islands lost in the middle of a turquoise sea Tobago has become one of the most popular mooring spots of the Grenadines there are no hotels anywhere on this paradise where the wealthy tourists never stay more than a day or two so then what do the Islanders live on let him do the solely fish and lab security to the beach at the boats that’s what I mean live in here there’s not much employment going on in the smaller than most keep everyone here goes can we just kind of school it sell the marijuana sell the drugs and live in some fish some selling jobs there’s there’s no patrol here let’s install a kabuki is not come and do something here somebody will get a job most people go to America and England to work we sail out of the Tobago keys and make for Union Island about 10 miles south up until the 19th century Union Island was cultivated by English and Scots colonists at the time crops covered a good part of the island then it was all abandoned in spite of appearances union islands economy like the rest of the Grenadines is based on tourism tourism and fishing there’s a certain activity in the port

of Union as it emerges from the dawn’s dim glow but there’s no sign of big fishing boats nor are there any fishermen mending their nets only the colorful painted out pearls lined up along the shore but what type of fishing are they getting ready for efficient in is scuba day a lobster’s a calm all right I don’t use the lionfish the line I use the tanks yeah and I go down and do the diving so I see like whatever I need so these are used for catching the lapses but for the past year so since we have the the weather the hurricane yeah we have a slight problem they destroy the bottom much of the reefs so there is a problem in catching the lobsters right now under calm yeah with the Royal Caribbean I went out you know doing pool attendant yeah but then since I went out there the morning East was too small the last company I mean I was with here I was in a Hawaii but I was old before three years before I was in Central America Alaska and Europe because what I what I’m making here a week is what they want a FEMA deferment we’ve cited karaoke there’s nothing to distinguish this island from all the others we’ve just visited and yet we’re no longer in the Grenadines we’re in Grenada it’s time to say goodbye to Dexter and his catamaran at the end of a jetty another boat is awaiting us blooded I heed a wooden schooner that does a cargo run twice a week between carry aku and st. George’s the capital of Grenada the Caribbean used to be full of schooners these solid vessels called goa let and French Antilles were all-purpose cargo ships they were also used to transport passengers flying along the coasts back before there were any roads on the islands Louisville I eat is probably one of the last schooners still in service in the Caribbean but judging from the small amount of cargo it’s carrying there’s no telling how long it will stay in business when it’s cooler is a locally feel that boat right pillows of cedar wood and sank off with a fish fine used to the flattop right but in building locality the we’ll talk later yeah bill 1984 people stop Billy step up wouldn’t school and out well apparently you see the usually Lanza they were still in for jogging cargo and so the cargo no shipping by container ship so that’s not only treat for them after four hours of sailing we arrive at

st. George’s the capital of Grenada muddle I eat slows down to enter the port of Charon Ashish this natural harbour surrounded by the old warehouses is one of the most picturesque in the Caribbean the old schooners may no longer be here taking on spices the islands main resources like in the olden days but Kara nage still has an incredible amount of charm it goes way back in 1939 when it was first built actually the carriage itself is an extinct volcano critter Grenada as a whole is a volcanic island so there are volcanic leagues around the island but this court was developed from a schooner facility to a present dual type facility meaning we have cargo vessels up ships and of course the cruise ships up until quite recently the court was bustling with activity schooners freighters ferries and even cruise ships but faced with the size and number of cruise ships seeking to dock at st George’s the authorities had to build a full fledged cruise ship terminal and we’ve seen that evolution here at port st. George as we’ve moved from a situation where we concentrated on simply trading fruits and vegetables between Grenada and the other islands of the Caribbean to the point where we have ships now coming out of Miami coming out of Europe situated in the heart of the old town the st. George’s market is still a colorful and animated show but mostly the spice vendors have left the market and set up their stands right in front of the cruise ship terminal after the abolition of slavery many plantations went into decline the estates were cut up in the smaller landowners started raising new crops

that’s how Grenada became the spice Island some of these spices we do export with it we explore the nut meds the Association send this away to the different places throughout the world the cinnamon we shipped to Trinidad Plus people take it wherever they want to go with it and they do whatever they want to do with it the beauty of Grenada it’s not only its Beach line Shores fringed with coconut trees there is also the interior Grenada is a volcanic origin and its center is covered with an incredibly diverse tropical forest the spices grow in the midst of this lush vegetation the most abundant is nutmeg here the workers of we ah’ve are sorting the nuts but Gullo is above all a fishing village small provincial town without any particular charm but infused if not with happiness then certainly with tranquility Gullo is permeated with an atmosphere of days gone by the men gather in front of the villages only bar the television is on but they’re not really watching it the children are playing on the beach but in spite of this apparent tranquility their life is difficult that’s we strike with everything we have is when you see choices I know we’re gonna strike though we don’t we don’t work money : you go back to work again I’m gonna figure that’s what we live to make our children or wife or everything that’s a relief by the sea not the government to four weeks of sailing through the Caribbean we’ve arrived in Trinidad a stone’s throw from South America Trinidad only 12 kilometers from the coast of Venezuela used to be attached to the continent which made it an important stepping stone to populating the Caribbean we think that the first people to live intranet came maybe about eight to ten thousand years ago and certainly they came from the large large area in South America between the rivers Amazon and Orinoco at that huge area which house which is now made up of five or six different nations in Latin America so as waves of migrants came from that area of northern South America they use the islands as stepping stones they were good seafarers but they didn’t have the technology for for long distance ocean voyages so they basically hopped from island to island this blackish expanse is the pitch lake

beneath its crusty surface lies one of the world’s few natural asphalt deposits it probably would have remained unknown for a long time if it hadn’t been for a famous English pirate who landed here at the end of the sixteenth century the lake is a mixture of mud oil and water but it was nearly sickos that’s true quarter miles from here that is where the Amerindians are settled but a new it was the air long before so Walter Raleigh came so so Walter Raleigh rediscovered it when he was going to a lerato in search of gold so the Amerindians had helped some Walter Raleigh the his ship and that is when they used it in coking Sir Walter Raleigh’s ship near 1595 since the latter half of the 19th century they’ve been extracting thousands of tons of asphalt every year and the lake shows no sign of giving out you have to admit that its size is impressive 40 kilometers wide and 80 meters deep Trinidad and the other Caribbean islands share the same turbulent history dotted with wars between the French the English and the Spanish however what makes Trinidad different from its neighbors is its population mix a stroll through the streets of Port of Spain the islands bustling capital and this difference becomes obvious the great majority of our population today I descended from people who came here and slaved either directly from Africa on the transatlantic slave trade or in many cases they came here from places like Martinique Guadeloupe Grenada Haiti coming with their owners who were French French planters then after savory was abolished the British allowed contract or we call it indentured immigration from India so today the population Trinette is roughly 40% African descended from Africa some are mixed-race about 40 percent descended from the immigrants from India and that leaves the remaining 20 percent who are mixed and so we rarely have one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world there’s another feature that distinguishes Trinidad from the rest of the Antilles it doesn’t need tourism to live like its neighbor Venezuela it has been blessed with abundant oil deposits yet what Trinidad does have in common with the rest of the Caribbean is music there’s calypso and soca but Trinidad is above all we’re at the beginning of the 20th century the steel bands were born when Stillman music is a indigenous art form in this country of trying to be the music was born here in Toronto vivo and mainly from the triode African man notwithstanding that he had some assistance from a couple of East Indian guys in the earliest in the 1930s the instrument actually was made from the steel drum which were used to bring oil in the country sweet olive oil drums they use that for the oil the petrochemical people’s own but all the various music in in the Caribbean we have East Indian music which came from the Indians who came as in there as indentured laborers and they brought the culture and the music and that is still there present in Trinidad and in Guyana because Guyana is also a place where there’s a lot of East Indians and the other music African music we have

African drumming and so on like that and we love each other music move on over I’ll be very first we shall know it has to come on everybody has to go round very softer color we have the 10 upon which which is a voice he’s a saint he represent the singing then we have the double seconds which represents the alto and we will agree to represent the bass guitars and over the years our pontoons and pan makers have benefited and made other instruments out of the steel pan I first and we have a quadrophonic which is four sets of pants which represents the album then we have nine basis trial basis so the plan is always merchants and going forward all the time Oh football is a is like a religion in Brazil the steel pan is like a religion and try not to be it is like Ricky in Jamaica that is how to steal my music is it is it result of this world once you get involved into the steel band you can’t get away it’s like an addiction