Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
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Our Collection

The National Archives’ collection of records traces Government’s decisions and transactions, as well as events that have shaped the twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago and the lives of its people, from colonial rule to self-rule. The collection also comprises other records of historical importance such as newspapers, journals and yearbooks. While the majority of records are available as files and documents, there are also microfilm, maps, photographs and audiovisual records that provide valuable historical information. Please see the Collection Index for a snapshot of our records. Collectively, the National Archives’ records help to foster a better understanding of our democracy and our heritage.

The collection is complemented by a small Reference Library, an indispensable resource aid for  researchers. There are three collections: the Rare Books Collection, General Reference Collection and a Special Collection on the Recordkeeping profession covering archives and records management, and conservation, to support professional development.

The Collection includes:

 

  • These are annual records of statistical information related to matters such as revenue and expenditure, public works, population and trade, from 1871 to 1947.

  • These are the records of the census done every ten (10) years by the Central Statistical Office. Of note is the first census of 1851 which details the names of inhabitants in Port of Spain and environs.

  • These registers record information on Chinese indentured immigrants to Trinidad during the period 1852 to 1866. They are compiled by ship name in bound volumes and are arranged in alphabetical sequence by estate.

  • A listing of all the departments, usually with an index, showing the names and designations of the Civil, Military, and other Servants of Government from 1905-1980.

  • These records were published annually and contain historical and statistical information on the governance of the Colonial Dependencies of Great Britain from 1869-1966. They give an account of the services of the officers in the Colonial Service, and includes Colonial regulations and maps.

  • These are reports of various Commissions of Enquiry that were appointed both under colonial and self-rule to enquire and make recommendations on matters of national importance.

  • These are reports of various committees appointed by the Government both under colonial rule and under self-rule, to study, consider and make recommendations on issues of national importance.

  • These are documents that have been laid before the Legislative Council under colonial rule. They comprise annual reports from all departments in the colony arranged in chronological order and thereafter by month.

  • These constitute a comprehensive record of Indian indentured immigrants who came to Trinidad from 1845 to 1917. A substantial part of the records comprise Ship Registers which consist of emigration passes and details of each immigrant; the General Registers of Immigrants which contain such information as the ship number, registration number of the immigrant, the name of the village from which they came and estate assigned; and Estate Registers whichlist immigrants assigned to various estates. The registers are large bound volumes which cover specific chronological periods, for example, 1845-1857; 1881-1886. Other records in this collection include the Register of Immigrants returning to India, and other registers related to crown land grants, marriages, remittances, orphans, bounty immigrants, mortality and correspondence of the Protector of Immigrants. This collection has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register as documentary heritage of world significance and outstanding universal value,along with similar records from Fiji, Guyana and Suriname.

  • These records consist of registers of judgements handed down in the High Court for the years 1846 to 1987. The registers contain information such as the names of the plaintiff, the defendant and plaintiff’s lawyer, date of commencement of cases and registration date of judgement.

  • Commonly called Assessment Rolls, these land records are listed by counties and wards and are in triennial periods. They cover the administration of the colony by district, as it related to land and property.

  • This series of laws consist of revised compilations of Ordinances (called Acts after 1962).

  • This collection contains most of the newspapers published in Trinidad and Tobago from 1825-2007, some of which are available on microfilm. It provides an insight into the key events and chronology of the history of Trinidad and Tobago through slavery, indentureship, colonialism, independence and republicanism. Our longest running, current newspapers are The Catholic News (1892-present) and The Trinidad Guardian (1917 to present).

  • This collection consists of proclamations issued in the island of Trinidad, and later (1898) Trinidad and Tobago, by the Governor and other high ranking officials.

  • This is a collection of records pertaining to the slave registry which was established under the 1812 Order in Council, the first in the British West Indies, to combat illicit transportation of slaves following the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807. Plantation owners and owners of unattached or personal slaves were obligated to submit annual returns of slaves who were bought, sold, inherited or moved between islands. The Slave Registers list the names and families of slaves working on various estates, by the islands’ districts. Bound volumes of slave registers for Tobago are currently available at the National Archives while copies of Trinidad slave registers are available mainly on microfilm. This collection has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register (Registry of Slaves of the British Caribbean 1817-1834) as documentary heritage of world significance and outstanding universal value,along with similar records from Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, St Kitts, and the United Kingdom.Other records related to slavery kept by the National Archives include the Colonial Office Reports of the Protector of Slaves in Trinidad, and Slave Claims, copies of which are also available at the National Archives in the UK.

  • This collection comprises the official government publications, entitled the Trinidad Royal Gazette January (1835-August 31, 1962) and the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette (September 1, 1962-Present). It contains official government information which, in many cases, were be published as a legal requirement. The early Trinidad Royal Gazette includes information such as the purchase of Crown Land by immigrants and others, application for liquor licences, and burgess lists.

  • Originally called Almanacs, Yearbooks contain a variety of valuable historical information from official records and reliable sources, on all aspects of life, including information on churches, schools, industries, the railway, and local events. They cover the period 1882-1969 and contain a general index.