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Rise and Fall of an Empire

A Progressive Caribbean

Jerome Teelucksingh

Rise and Fall of an Empire: A Progressive Caribbean emphasizes the significance of literature, media, history, slavery, culture and ideology which helped shape the Caribbean. This interdisciplinary work includes lesser known events, individuals and organizations that have emerged from colonialism and contributed to the foundations of a Caribbean Empire. Furthermore, these personalities and groups made valid contributions to the improvement and betterment of Caribbean societies. There are obvious contradictions within the Caribbean region that denote noteworthy progress whilst other indicators reflect a regression. Undoubtedly, these are features of a dynamic people and stable region that should be considered an Empire.

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3 Destroying Unity: Hosay Massacre of 1884

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Destroying Unity: Hosay Massacre of 1884

In 1884, Trinidad and Tobago was a British colony. In that year, more than 135 years ago, the colony of Trinidad and Tobago experienced one of its darkest days when a grim scene unfolded in South Trinidad. The bloody episode occurred at San Fernando on the afternoon of Thursday October 30, 1884. Kelvin Singh described this event as “one of the most traumatic episodes in the history of the Indian sector”1 of Trinidad and Tobago’s population. In retrospect, this event may be viewed as perhaps the greatest human tragedy in the history of the working class in Trinidad and Tobago.

There is a need to analyze the historical factors surrounding this catastrophe that unfolded in 1884. Certain questions need to be asked—How reliable are the newspapers and commentators of the 1880s? How objective have been the researchers in their interpretation of all that occurred then? What were some of the inter-related economic, cultural and political factors which might have conspired to cause this national tragedy? Numerous labels have been attached to the event and the incident involving the cold-blooded killing of the participants in this Hosay procession. In the second half of the nineteenth century, ←49 | 50→newspaper reports, locals and officials referred to “Hosay” as either the Coolie Carnival, Hosein Festival, Coolie Hosein, Temiterna Festival, Hoosay, Mohurrum Festival, Hose or Madrasse Festival.

After October 30, 1884, there were also various terms used to describe the...

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