The Merikin Community of Trinidad

Who are the Merikens and how did they get established in Trinidad? It was the engagements in the Atlantic States of Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia, between the United States and Britain. This led to the founding of the Company Villages in Moruga Trinidad.

The black soldiers who fought against British ex-masters as the Corps of Colonial Marines in British service were later granted lands in Trinidad in companies where they became known as Merikins.

The war that lasted for two years developed a peculiar relationship between black American marines and the British. The Colonial Marines, who were former slaves, believed the British King had come to free them. The British saw the black American marines as a source of fighting power to curb American expansion.

After the war, Alexander Cochrane, Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief in North America issued a proclamation in 1814 inviting those who may have been disposed to emigrate from the United States, to board a British vessel. They would be taken to one of Britain's overseas possessions and set free. An estimated 761 Marines took up the offer and came to Trinidad in six batches or companies. As a result, there are six company villages on the island near Moruga. 
The names are as follows:
  • First Company Village
  • Second Company Village
  • Third Company Village
  • Fourth Company Village
  • Fifth Company Village
  • Sixth Company Village - located west of Monkey Town
From Wikipedia:
The Merikins or Merikens were African American Marines of the War of 1812 – former African slaves who fought for the British against the US in the Corps of Colonial Marines and then, after post-war service in Bermuda, were established as a community in the south of Trinidad in 1815–16. They were settled in an area populated by French-speaking Catholics and retained cohesion as an English-speaking, Baptist community. It is sometimes said that the term "Merikins" is derived from the local patois, but as many Americans have long been in the habit of dropping the initial "A" it seems more likely that the new settlers brought that pronunciation with them from the United States. Some of the Company villages and land grants established back then still exist in Trinidad today. Wiki Link: Merikens

Further Reading: 
AAREG: The Merikins Community Is Established
The National Archives of Trinidad & Tobago: The Story of the Merikins in Trinidad

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