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32Bravo
09-05-2010, 02:44 AM
Passed through '5th Comapny Village' recently - became curious as to its name and found this:




"Origins of the 'Merikens', African American settlers of Trinidad's Company Villages".

The Corps of Colonial Marines: Black freedom fighters of the War of 1812
1 INTRODUCTION

In 1815 and 1816 Trinidad welcomed over seven hundred free Black American settlers, refugees from the War of 1812, the second and last armed conflict between the United States and Great Britain. The majority found their new homes in the south of the island around the Mission of Savanna Grande, now Princes Town, mostly within the area known since then as The Company Villages. Local history sometimes asserts that they came out of the War for American Independence, at which time most were not yet born, or that they were part of the West India Regiments, whose settlement at a different time and a different place remains to be fully researched. But the sea soldiers that were the founders of the Company Villages community were part of a great African American emigration, unparalleled and almost ignored, the most significant departure from slavery between the Haitian revolution of the 1790s and British colonial abolition in the 1830s. The Merikens of the Company Villages had been the Corps of Colonial Marines, who saw fighting service with the British in the War of 1812, garrisoned after the war on the island of Bermuda for fourteen months and disbanded in Trinidad in 1816 to form a new free Black yeomanry...

http://www.mcnishandweiss.co.uk/history/colonialmarines.html

Sources are listed as including:

National Maritime Museum, and the Royal Marines Museum

UK National Archive (the Public Record Office) and also in the British Library