TIMELINE

1834: The Watchful from the Azores, first of four ships (with 44 passengers) arrives in Trinidad on 20 July (first Portuguese to come as labourers in the Caribbean and Guyana).

The Stralhista from Madeira leaves on 12 November 1834 with 28 passengers (25 males and 3 females from Funchal, Machico, Santa Cruz, Calheta and Porto Santo), bound for Trinidad, arriving on 7 December 1834 (see Port-of-Spain Gazette above).

1834: The English ship Eweretta leaves Madeira with 16 ex-prisoners contracted to work in Trinidad from 23 November 1834.

1835: Official Madeiran migration to the Caribbean and Guyana begins, starting with Guyana (St Vincent follows in 1845 and Antigua in 1846).

Surviving Azoreans petition twice to return home.

The English ship Portland with 32 passengers (29 males and 3 females) aboard leaves for Trinidad on 11 February 1835.

1838: Dr Robert Reid Kalley and Margaret Kalley of Scotland go to Madeira.

1843: Kalley and Madeiran Presbyterians are imprisoned (Kalley for 6 months).

1845: Presbyterian Church of Madeira is founded in May.

1846: Senator, from Madeira (219 passengers), arrives in Trinidad on 9 May.

Persecutions of Presbyterians reach their height in the months of June to August.

William of Glasgow from Madeira (197 passengers – Presbyterian refugees) arrives on 16 September and the refugees are welcomed by the Greyfriars Church of Scotland.

Lord Seaton, from Madeira (200 passengers), arrives on 9 October.

Peru, from Madeira (160 passengers – refugees), arrives on 8 November.

Dalhousie, from Madeira (216 passengers – refugees), arrives on 13 November.

First Portuguese Shop is set up (owner unknown).

1847: O Ano de Fome (The Year of Hunger), due to the destruction of the potato (semilha) crops by disease, and a drastic drop in wine prices.

Dalhousie, from Madeira (267 passengers), arrives on 9 November.

1849: Hundreds of Presbyterians move to Illinois in the United States.

1852: Vine disease oidium hits Madeira vineyards.

1854: St Ann’s Church of Scotland is built on Charlotte Street (formerly St Ann’s Road).

 

1872: Vine disease phylloxera hits Madeiran vineyards.

1885: Veneration of Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of Monte) at is held at Laventille (beginning of Laventille Devotions).

1886: Visit of the Princess Aldegonda (Aldegundes) of Portugal.

1890: Manuel Fernandes of Santa Maria Maior, Madeira, establishes his business on Henry Street in Port-of-Spain (father of José Gregorio Fernandes of São Gonçalo, Madeira, and grandfather of J.B. Fernandes, 1903–1992). (The Fernandes label was acquired by Angostura Holdings in 1973.)

1899: Portuguese Brass Band is started. (It is not known how long this band lasted.)

1905: Grupo Dramático Portuguêz Primeiro de Dezembro, later Associação Portuguesa Primeiro de Dezembro, or Portuguese Association, is founded on 16 July.

1910s to 1930s: Almost 600 Madeirans emigrate to Trinidad.

 

1912: M.A. Silva’s (of São Roque, Madeira) Aromatic Bitters gains Diploma of Merit (later produced by Henry Luz of Santa Maria Maior, Madeira).

1913: Pereira and Co. is founded.

1914: João Quintal of São Roque, Madeira, establishes one of the earliest Portuguese bakeries (106–108 Coffee Street, San Fernando).

1916: Henry de Nobriga is elected Mayor of Arima.

1917: Feast of Nossa Senhora do Monte is celebrated at the Chapel of Our Lady of Exile at Mt St Benedict.

 

1918: Ernest S. Vieira and Company is started.

Tribute is paid to the late Solomon dos Santos by Mr F.J. Maingot, mayor of Port of Spain. Mr dos Santos was an interpreter at the City Magistrate’s Court.

1919: Portuguese Association acquires their clubhouse on Richmond Street.


Stained glass window is erected at St Ann’s Church of Scotland, called the country’s finest work of art.

First bazaar of the Portuguese Association, in aid of the Portuguese poor in Trinidad, is held. It was held on 24 December and raised $700. The day before the fair, $240 was cabled to Madeira, which had been hard hit because of damage to crops by tornadoes and forest fires.

1921: Silvestre Severiano Nunes Pereira of Campanário, Madeira, establishes his Trinidad-branch confectionery (SSN Pereira Ltd.). His trademark candy was acquired by KC Confectionery, which continues his brand of dinner mints (son, William Pereira, later started Diana Candy).

1926: Charles Reis publishes a brief history of the Portuguese Association.

1927: Portuguese Club is founded on 5 December, headquartered in Queen’s Park East.

 

1927: Port of Spain Gazette publishes a letter to the editor in Portuguese by Eduardo de Sá Gomes of São Pedro, Madeira.

1930: Sá Gomes Radio Emporiums is established.

 

1931: Albert Maria Gomes launches the Beacon, successor of the magazine Trinidad; the Beacon group included Ralph de Boissière, C.L.R. James, Alfred Mendes and others.

Camacho Brothers of Santo António, Madeira establish their business.

 

1932: Henry A. de Freitas is elected Mayor of Port of Spain.

Crown Bakeries is established by José Francisco de Freitas of Santa Cruz, Madeira.

1934: Portuguese Association receives the Grau de Benemerência: Class Order of Benefactor from the Government of Portugal.

 

Alfred Hubert Mendes publishes Pitch Lake, a novel about the Portuguese community.

Eduardo de Sá Gomes sends Attila the Hun and Roaring Lion to record in New York City; he worked closely with Henry de Freitas, who managed the Mighty Sparrow.

Correia (Trinidad) Ltd, with parent company in Guyana, is established, importing wines into Trinidad and bottling them on Chacon Street.

Charles Albert Correia began making and storing wines in Trinidad in 1952 at Long Circular Road, later moving to Old St Joseph Road, Laventille, four years later. C.A. Correia passed away in 1967.

1935: Sound radio comes to Trinidad via Diego Serrão’s home broadcasting station.

1938: George de Nobriga is elected to legislative council.

1937: Eric Williams (b. 1911) marries Elsie Ribeiro (b. 1912), sister of businessman Oscar Ribeiro, children of José Joaquim (JJ) Ribeiro and Frances Eliza Neverson (born in St Vincent and the Grenadines). Eric and Elsie have two children, Elsie Pamela and Alastair. (JJ and Maria Martin Ribeiro were the parents of Isabella Ribeiro de Cabral and 7 other children - see 1948 below.)

 

1939: Errol Lionel dos Santos (1890–1992) is awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

1942: Coelho and Sons is established (from a business owned by João Vieira Coelho of Santa Cruz, Madeira, begun earlier, in 1931); in 1973, Coelho bought Holsum Baking Co.  which was later acquired by Kiss in 1989.

1944: Flight Lieutenant Charles Vernon Pereira (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No 105 Squadron), received the highest award of the Royal Air Force, the Distinguished Flying Cross.  He later became president of Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce, and of the Employers’ Consultative Association.

1945: Charles Reis publishes a history of the Portuguese Association.

 

1945– Albert Gomes is elected to legislative council, winning the seat formerly held by Mayor Arthur Cipriani.

1946: The one hundredth anniversary of the Madeirans in Trinidad (especially the refugees) is observed.

Albert Gomes is elected to executive council.

Errol Lionel dos Santos is knighted.

1947: Sir Errol Lionel dos Santos is promoted to colonial secretary.

George M. Cabral is elected mayor of Port of Spain.

Charles Gomes Netto is elected mayor of Arima.

Noble Marquez founds Trinidad and Tobago Electrical Contractors Ltd (TATEC).

1948: Isabella Ribeiro de Cabral de Freitas of Trinidad obtains her pilot’s licence (first female pilot in the English-speaking Caribbean). Isabella was the daughter of POS Mayor George Cabral and Isabella Ribeiro, daughter of JJ and Maria (Mary) Ribeiro.

Monica Estella Ferreira (née Pereira), with the help of a Miss Coelho, launches the first Children’s Carnival band – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – to parade on stage in Jaycees Carnival (other bands followed in later years Portuguese Peasants, and Portuguese Fishermen, portrayed by thirty children of various backgrounds, mainly Portuguese).

1950: Albert Gomes, de facto chief minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Minister of Labour, Industry and Commerce.

1950s: Mr Fabian J. Camacho, magistrate.

Hi-Lo Food Stores Ltd (formerly the Ice–House Grocery, then Fernandes [1933] Ltd) is established.

1951: Albert Gomes helps to bring freedom to the Shouter Baptists, earlier asking the legislative council to appoint a committee to look into a repeal of the 1917 Shouters Prohibition Ordinance, which denied Shouter Baptists freedom of religious expression for thirty-four years. Gomes also supported the steel band movement and calypso.

1952: John (João) Ernesto Ferreira Jr invents double seconds and double tenor pans.

 

J. Ernest Ferreira, his father, founded the Boys from Iwo Jima steel band in 1947, Melody Makers in 1949 and Dixieland Steel Orchestra in 1950, the first sponsored steel band - Jeffrey’s Beer (from the agents Grell & Co. and promoted Landy de Montbrun), winning the 1960 Music Festival Winner with Agnus Dei and Estudiantina.

 

Dixieland saw several offshoots, such as the Highlanders (founded by Kim Loy Wong), Tropitones (Mosca brothers), and Dixie Stars. When Dixie Stars came to an end, most of the members became part of Silver Stars.

Colin Frank Agostini (Govia) – at the age of 19 (the youngest on the team) – is part of the first ever Trinidad and Tobago football team to tour England.

1953: On Sunday 26 July 1953, at 4:00 p.m., there took place the Solemn Blessing by the Archbishop Finbar Ryan of the new life-size statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a gift from an anonymous Portuguese benefactor of the Monastery, in a fulfilment of a promise made to Our Lady.

The statue was the third of its kind in the world (the other two being in Lisbon and Brazil), carved from cedar wood in the ateliers of Maias Brothers, Portugal; it took the artist – Amálio Maia – nine months to complete. The entire height of the statue is a little more than six feet (6.88), which includes a pedestal depicting the top of the oak tree on which Our Lady appeared at the Cova da Iria and the cloud that surrounded her feet. The figure itself is 5.41 feet in height and richly decorated with precious stones.

Before the ceremony, His Grace had tea at the Guest House with some Portuguese Catholics from Port of Spain.

1954: One hundredth anniversary of the St Ann’s Church of Scotland.

Michael George Raymond Agostini (Govia) becomes the country’s first British Empire and Commonwealth Games sprint gold medallist (Vancouver, BC, Canada 1954).

Lionel de Freitas wins the silver medal for weightlifting at the above games.

1956: J. Ernesto Ferreira Jr founds the National Racing Pigeon Commission of Trinidad and Tobago.

 

1960: Joseph (Joey) Nunes wins Milo-Madonna round-the-island cycle race at age 17, being the youngest rider to have won such a race to date (and continued as a successful competing master’s category cyclist at age 68).

1962: Ignatius Severiano Ferreira becomes the first local managing director of the Trinidad Trading Co. Ltd (TTCL, later becoming Furness Trinidad Ltd in 1976); Ferreira is the son of Silvano Ferreira (born in São Roque, Madeira, on 7 July 1885) and Arcenia Maria Gomes (b. 24 January 1897).

1968: Portuguese Magnolias Hockey Club, now Shandy Carib Magnolias, is founded.

1969: Roger (Gomez Sheppard) Gibbon, cyclist – with many accomplishments starting at age 17 – is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for Athletics – Cycling.

Carlton Kenneth Anthony Gomes (1928–2003) is first appointed to Senate in October  as a parliamentary secretary; he becomes minister of education in 1970, a post he holds until 1976.

 

1972: Gene E. Miles, b. 1930 (granddaughter of John Teixeira), who revealed the Gas Station Racket, passes away.

Geoffrey Ferreira is Trinidad and Tobago’s representative at the Munich Olympic Games (swimming).

Alfred Mendes is awarded an honorary doctorate (DLitt honoris causa) from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.

Peter Carvalho, carnival bandleader, is awarded the Public Service Medal of Merit (Silver) for Carnival Development.

Harold (Sally) Saldenah/Saldenha, carnival bandleader, is awarded the Public Service Medal of Merit (Silver) for Carnival Development.

1973: Edmond Gerald (D’Olliviera) Hart, carnival bandleader, is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) for Carnival Development.

Ferreira Optical is founded by Mervyn Ferreira.

1974: Albert Gomes publishes his autobiography, Through a Maze of Colour.

1975: Charles de Freitas, retired manager of the Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board, is awarded the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold).

Christine Mary (de Silva) Jackson, Trinidad and Tobago’s representative at Miss Universe, wins Miss Amity.

1976: Hugh Ferreira, chief immigration officer (retired), is awarded the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold). He is also featured in the Tobago Museum.

Ignatius Severiano Ferreira succeeds Charles Gomes Netto (former mayor of Arima) as president of Portuguese Association (until 2006).

1977: Media Sales Ltd is started by Chris Ferreira.

1978: Albert Gomes publishes All Papa’s Children, a novel about the Portuguese community.

Lady Enid dos Santos, Voluntary Social Worker, is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) for Voluntary Social Work.

1980: Geoffrey Ferreira, Trinidad and Tobago’s first Olympic swimmer (at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games), sets a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games record of 1:02.2 in a Butterfly event, and a national record of 56:60 for the 100m Butterfly in April 1980.

1980: Maria Nunes, Student, is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) for Sport.

Ignatius Severiano Ferreira, Business Executive/Commander, St John Ambulance Brigade of Trinidad and Tobago, is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for Community Service.

1980: Ignatius Severiano Ferreira becomes chairman of Furness Trinidad Ltd.

1984: One hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the Azoreans in Trinidad is observed(first Portuguese labourers to come anywhere in the Caribbean).

1985: Ignatius Ferreira succeeds J.T. Gonsalves as honorary consul of Portugal (to the present).

Ovid Owen Fernandes, retired special advisor to the minister of energy and natural resources, is awarded the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) for Public Service.

The following were inducted into the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Hall of Fame:

  • Customs officer Carl de Souza, son of Henrique Polycarpo de Souza, was a Pan-American silver medallist at the 1951 Games at Buenos Aires (weightlifting)

  • Roger P. Gibbon (cycling)

  • Hilary (Larry) Angelo Gomes (cricket)

  • Gerald (Gerry) E. Gomez (cricket)

  • Compton Gonsalves, founder of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (cycling).

  • Joey Gonsalves (football)

  • Gerard Ian Jardine (hockey)

1987: Sir Errol dos Santos inducted into the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Hall of Fame (Administration).

Furness Trinidad Ltd (formerly Furness Withy and Co.) is now 100 per cent locally owned, with Ignatius Ferreira being the main shareholder.

1988: Maria Mónica Reis Pestana of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, Madeira, later of St Joseph and Mt Lambert, self publishes her memoirs, Travelling Memories with Jokes and Tips from 1910 to 1984, under the name of Monica Ries; she also starts a book on old Portuguese love songs.

1989: Father John Mendes, son of João Mendes of Ponta de Sol, Madeira, is ordained bishop of Port of Spain on 6 January.

1990: Celestine de Freitas retires as principal of the Holy Family Private School.

1991: Ignatius Ferreira receives the Grau de Comandador (Degree of Commander) from the government of Portugal.

Sr Paul (Gloria) D’Ornellas, founder of the Foundation for Human Development and a retired school principal, is awarded the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) for Education; she later celebrates her diamond jubilee in August 2014, having entered religious service in 1954.

David (Pestana) King, archery coach, is founding president of the Trinidad and Tobago Target Archery Federation.

1992: Hilary (Larry) Angelo Gomes, cricketer, is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for Sport.

1992: (Mrs.) June Rita Gonsalves, radio and television broadcaster, is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) for Community Service.

1994: Gerry Rodrigues becomes World Masters Open Water Champion in Montréal, Canada.

Dr Alvro Camacho (born 1927) passes away. He had the largest private practice of paedriatric endocrinology in the United States and was listed in the Who’s Who in America.

 

He was the son of Lewis and Hilda Camacho and the brother of Gloria C. Mendes, Lewis F. Camacho and Dr James E. Camacho.

Jo-Anne Ferreira, who is descended from the Vasconcellos de Souzas of Machico, publishes The Portuguese of Trinidad and Tobago: Portrait of an Ethnic Minority; her PhD thesis is completed later in 1999.

1995: Marjorie Paddy Fernandes-Williams is inducted into the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Hall of Fame (hockey).

Robert Ames sets a golf record at Palmas del Mar.

1996: 150 years of the Madeiran presence in Trinidad since 1846 is noted; others had previously arrived in 1835.

Gerard Ferreira is elected mayor of San Fernando; he demitted office in 2003.

 

1999: Mary Jane Gomes screens Angel in a Cage, a film about the Portuguese community, the first in a planned trilogy of films on Trinidad’s Madeiran community.

2000: Anthony (Camacho) Milne’s Portuguese story, “Winter Wonderland: Letter Home from JB de Callao”, is published.

The following were inducted into the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Hall of Fame:

  • Debra O’Connor, granddaughter of João Mendes of Ponta de Sol, Madeira (badminton)

  • Gene Samuel, grandson of Albino João/John of São Roque, Madeira (cycling)

  • Silvano Gomes Ralph (all rounder)

2002: The Autobiography of Alfred Mendes 1897–1991 is edited by Michele Levy and published by the University of the West Indies Press. Three other books follow.

2002: B.C. Pires, one of three West Indians, is included in Guha’s The Picador Book of Cricket (the other two were C.L.R. James and V.S. Naipaul), celebrating the finest writers of cricket literature.

2003: Cecilia Salazar, great-granddaughter of António and Virginia Coelho of Madeira, wins the Cacique Award for Most Outstanding Actress (and other awards in following years).

2004: Stephen Michael (Pereira) Ames, Sportsman, is awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal for Sport (golf).

Carl de Souza, former customs officer, is posthumously awarded the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold).

2005: On 11 May, Charles Vernon Pereira passed away in England;  past president of Trinidad and Tobago Chambers of Commerce, he served for many years on the finance committee of the University of the West Indies and on the boards of many companies, and was also president of the Employers’ Consultative Association. He served with distinction in the Royal Air Force during World War II and was the recipient of the highest award of the Royal Air Force, the distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.

2008: Gabrielle (de Freitas, of the Charles de Freitas family) Walcott, representing Trinidad and Tobago, is second runner-up at Miss World.

John (João) Ernesto Ferreira is inducted into Sunshine Awards Hall of Fame (Steelband Music).

Alicia (Ferreira) Milne screens her short student film Luso Trinidad: Home in the Land of the Homeless and also conducts the Calvinadage Project (named after carne vinha d'alhos or garlic pork).

2011: Hayden Ferreira is selected as one of fifty distinguished alumni of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.

Trinidad Guardian Special Publications Unit, headed by Tracey Alonzo, publishes supplement on the 165th anniversary of the Madeiran Portuguese in Trinidad and Tobago, coordinated and edited by Jo-Anne S. Ferreira, on 10 June, Day of Camões, Portugal and Portuguese communities.

2012: Guyana-born international musician Dennis de Souza passes away (father of Rhonda de Souza, a singer, who passed away in 2000).

2014: Jowelle de Souza, activist for Animal Welfare, is awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Bronze) for Community Service.

Greyfriars Church of Scotland hall is demolished in December, with only some remnants of the church building standing; the St Ann’s Church of Scotland restoration project was completed and commemorated in April of the same year.

 

Greyfriars was the first English-speaking church in the world to welcome Madeiran religious refugees.

National awards also went to Rupert Mendes, Neville Miranda, Nora Florence Franco, Raymond (Atilla) Quevedo, Augustine (Rock) Ribeiro and Rene Serrao.

Sports figures include David King, Silvano Gomes Ralph, Matthew Nunes, Carlton Franco and Ryan Mendes. Other sportsmen include Lionel de Freitas (weightlifting), Lester Gomes (tennis), Randy Gomes (cricket) and Sheldon Gomes (cricket).

Singers and composers include Lord Executor (Philip Garcia), Stephen Ferreira, Marcia Miranda, Gaston Nunes and others.

The doctors, lawyers, soldiers, entrepreneurs, beauty queens, etc., are too numerous to count here.

Any omission is unintended and inadvertent, in spite of best research efforts.

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