The Cedula Population of 1783
Cedula seemed to have laid the foundation for the development and growth of Trinidad’s social and economic structure. It was used to attract immigrants to the island.
True colonization of Trinidad did not begin until the end of the 18th century, when the Spanish King acted on the advice of a French planter then the historic Cedula of Population was issued. In 1977 it was Phillip Rose Roume de Saint- Laurent a member of an aristocratic French family who helped in building the French empire in Louisiana and the Caribbean…and now a prosperous planter from Grenada visited and purchased land in Diego Martin. He didn’t just settle he returned to Grenada and encouraged other French families and free slaves to come to Trinidad.
Saint- Laurent then journeyed to Spain and petitioned the King to grant free colonist and other free entry to Trinidad. . This resulted in the Spanish Government readily issuing the Cedula of Population on the 24th November 1783 to grant land and other inducements to the colonists under certain terms. These were:
* To each white person of either sex, ten (10) quares were allotted, plus half that quantity for each negro slave that any such person should import with him.
* Any free negro or mulattoo coming to settle “in the quality of an inhabitant and chief of a family” received half of the allotted land that would have allotted if he was white.
But the land was only offered to the person only if they were Roman Catholic resulting in most of the new settlers being French. As a result of the Cedula, almost overnight Trinidad was transformed into a colonized island. Population increased significantly from a mere 2,700 in 1783 to 17,800 in 1789. 10,000 of who were African slaves, imported in large numbers because of the term the Cedula presented land for each slave owned. French or French based patois that is still present in the current culture of Trinidad soon became the main language spoken.
Also in 1789...