|Research and Discoveries of Eric Lewis in the Moruga Area
Moruga is the southernmost town of Trinidad. It is here many believe that Christopher Columbus saw sight of land and where his crew came ashore to retrieve fresh water.
Historic records are not inscribed on paper about the first peoples of Moruga. Rather it was written with dirt and rocks, the story of their time remains with us today in these various forms, not common to regular people but to us who are researchers, archaeologist we can read their books, volumes that are written on the forest’s floor, pages that are still unread because they have not yet been unearthed. Preserving yesterday’s stories for today’s history, in order to recognise our identity come to reality when we know who we are from the times untold. As time goes by a story is told of a people as it was with earlier civilization so it will become with our generation.
Thousands of years before our present time a few families of the Kalingos tribe vented for an exploration out of the mouth of the Orinoco River and the northern rivers of South America. These brave men and women were expert navigators, expert craft men and women, great fishers and masters of the forests, nature and conservationists of the environment. The technology was advanced for this civilization three thousand years before Christ. They could all that was demanded for survival and the safeguard of their families. Life and living was meaningful for these people where respect, love and unisons with nature were all that mattered. Worship of the creator and traditions were passed on from generation to generation similar to that of many other civilizations.
The first people who made the journey in the canoes were the first founder of this land of the humming bird. The first people did not take very much, some food, water, spear and arrows, some rocks mounted to wood a few chisels and axes. Arriving to the shores of Moruga was a blessing where they entered through the rivers and rowed in land up the streams. Since these rivers were considerably smaller than the rivers that they were accustomed to, it was easier for them to manoeuvre. The search for an inhabitable area was not difficult in the new land as the formation of the land and the close proximity to the river proved to be suitable for the first people for fishing and agricultural purposes.
For millenniums they moved freely to and fro Iere and the South American mainland setting up villages at the foot of the “three sisters” i.e Trinity Hills as well as other parts of Moruga. At the Trinity Hills is where they set up their camps allowing more and more migration from the mainland. The rivers of Iere both salt and fresh proved to be a promising beginning as they are located within the shelters of the mountains of the Southern range.
Along the Southern coast of Iere were the most convenient for the first people since it was filled with all the necessaries i.e the sea, multiple amounts of rivers flowing inland, the vegetation and the proximity to the mainland. Access to Iere was made easier through the Southern range than the other side’s as the tides were more accommodating to smaller vessels that is, the winds blew in the direction of the Southern range namely Moruga making rowing/ canoeing easier.
The first peoples brought with them many talents; one of these includes pottery which was made frequently. Pottery skills were shown in the elaborate decorative styles of the ceramics pieces. Carvings were done to imitate the creatures of the land as well as the environment. Ceramic pieces were used for different reasons but mainly for ritual practices. These pieces were the most defined and elaborate as they were made for the worship of God. The best pieces were made for these purposes as it was believed that God deserved the finest talents of the then people.
Modernization of the first people continued over the years as they passed on their talents and knowledge from one generation to the next. This passing on of knowledge is evident in the fragments of ceramic found as the different techniques used kept improving over the centuries where the formations got better. The spears and chisels were smooth, which in itself is a form of modernization. They were able to use the natural environment in all the ways that were necessary and absolute.
These people went from wearing twigs and leaves to wearing cotton that were made into clothes. They created their own means and ways of advancing towards their own style of technology. The first people practice higher order of thinking as their schematic process allowed them to the analytically and act in relation to the real life challenges. Everything they learnt as a people or tribe were detailed, relevant and practical to everyday life. They proved to be literate in their own way. They read the signs of their time, the weather, the rising and setting of the tides. They were experts at navigation on both land and on the sea. They also had an excellent memory and did not waste time as they were very good time keepers. In doing so they followed the direction of the sun and used their bodies as a compass to get from one extensive area to the next. Their lives were full of adventure, missions and purpose. The natural laws of nature were sufficient for governing the forests and their own lives. The natural laws meant that they did things in order and were congenial in their actions similar to the so called modern man. Society today is now more disorderly than the tribes that in habited the forests. How then can society today even think that they are more civilized and technologically advanced when the most important thing in life is that they never have enough time? The early people managed food and time in the most civilized way by ensuring that they ate when necessary and did all things before sundown. Today society still doesn’t have enough time despite how fast we get from one place to another, we still do not always arrive when we ought to. Despite of the leap in advancement towards medicine, the society today has produced more diseases by poor hygiene than some primitive.
The coming of the Europeans was a difficult time for the people who had lived on this island. The tribes had little disputes with each other over small matters and resolved their differences according to their tribal resolution practices. This was done by the exchange of a gift particularly a volcanic rock shaped like a chisel. These objects were passed on from generations to generations by the tribe. To fight with giant ships against canoes was defeat before the war even started. On the contrary if the fight was free hand man to man without weapons the first people would have been successful in defeating their counterparts. Set against cannons and swords versus spears and arrows defeat was almost predestined since fighting a war was not expected by the first people. Defeat ensured captivation of the island and the setting up of camp by the Europeans though not as immediate as documented by other historians and journalists. When the European civilization eventually settled in the Moruga area the now indigenous people were forced to work in captivity and adhere to the ways and lifestyles of the Europeans. Development in Moruga took place at a slow pace at first since the first people were forced to either stay in Moruga and conform to the ways of the Europeans or flee further inland into the forests. Many of them chose to flee inland into the forest as the hills provided good view points that allowed them to spot incoming people that may threaten their territory. There were also those that did not opt for the previous choices and chose to head back to the mainland South America. In order to do so, they had to flee at odd hours to escape without being seen by their European counterparts. Being sighted meant being captured and enslaved to work on the plantations or death. Life for the first peoples became entangled in fear, worry and isolation from other family members of which they were closely knit families. There freedom of choice was taken away with captivity and enslavement and work on the plantation proved to be uncomfortable as it was not what they were accustomed to.
They town of Moruga under the encomienda system was doing fair with the help of the first peoples. Missions were set up in the 1600’s to convert and integrate the indigenous peoples into the European Society. The France sans which at the time a very zealous missionary order of religions and priest journeyed to the new world zealously bringing the gospel to the peoples. The missions in Moruga were short lived due to the hostility of the Indians towards the three Francesans Friars. The mission was abandoned for a lengthy period of time.
The town of Moruga changed hands several times and so did the indigenous people. Incorporation into the society also meant that interracial marriages were taking place. The family or part thereof were now being mixed with the European men forsaking their child or children to dispel the shame when associating with the elite class or just the other lower class European for the sake of maintaining relations with their European counterparts. Some of the European men had family in their homeland who would have been ashamed to know that their son would have relations with Natives (whom the Europeans considered as animals).
Although the first peoples lived their lives that have by now been oppressed by the pressure of the Europeans, some of them finally gave in at the expense of betrayal and denial by some indigenous family members for associating with the slave masters at the same time conversion to catholism occurred on the contrary that did not stop the tribes from practicing their rituals, customs and festivals.
At the time of coming of the African slaves, many of the Amerindians had already died or secretly returned to the mainland. The coming of the African slaves also meant a sign of relief for the indigenous people. This meant that the Amerindians would do less work and the Africans would be the new labour force on the plantation. Some of the Amerindians were able to identify with the African slaves and aided them in escaping into the forests where the Amerindians assisted in care of them by providing food and shelter. Cases like these were not very often. Although the Amerindians and African slaves didn’t clearly understand each other they understood each others needs.