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History of San Fernando

Sunday, November 18 2012

San Fernando has a history dating back to the 1780s, when the Spanish Governor of Trinidad, José Maria Chacon, granted the area to a settler to establish a sugar estate, on the condition that a portion of the parcel be set aside to establish a town.

The general area in which the estate was established was named after the impressive outcrop hill that still dominates the area, known as Anaparima or Naparima which meant “single hill” in one of the Amerindian dialects.

By 1792 a small settlement had been formed and Governor Chacon declared this settlement a town and named it San Fernando after the infant son of King Carlos III, the then monarch of Spain.

The town of San Fernando grew rapidly along with the rest of the Naparima region, on the back of a very productive sugar, cotton and coffee industry.

City of San Fernando 167 years of Municipal Evolution

October 18, 1845: The first Municipal Corporation Ordinance was passed.

1846-1850: Lord Harris, after whom Harris Promenade was named, was the Governor of Trinidad

1853: San Fernando was elevated to Borough status and Dr. Robert Johnstone became its first Mayor.

Monday April 12, 1882: The first passenger train rolled into San Fernando

1948: San Fernandian Rodney Wilkes, a weightlifter, became the first citizen of Trinidad and Tobago to win a silver medal at the Olympics

1950: Councillor Beryl Archibald-Critchlow was elected Mayor of San Fernando, the first female Mayor in the history of the country.

1952: The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was brought from India and erected on Harris Promenade

1976: San Fernandian Hasley Crawford became the first citizen of Trinidad and Tobago to win a Olympic gold medal.

November 18, 1988: San Fernando became a City, and Dr Ramesh Mootoo was elected as its first mayor.

June 23, 1989: San Fernando was twinned with Trinite, Martinique.

1991: The City boundaries were extended to include Marabella, Cocoyea and the area from Green Acres to Sunset Cove, La Romaine.

November 16, 1997: San Fernando was twinned with New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada.

2005: Visit by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, President Of The Republic Of Nigeria.

Friday May 25, 2007: Sugar Manufacturing Company Limited at Usine Ste Madeleine grinds to a halt for good.

2008: Launch of water taxi service from San Fernando to Port-of-Spain.

2009: Fire destroyed the annex of the old San Fernando Police Station Headquarters.

2011: The San Fernando City Hall received the National Heritage Preservation Award in the category of Best Kept Historic Building Large.

Tid-Bits on

San Fernando History

San Fernando became a Municipality in October 1845. It has been one for 167 years. It became a Borough in 1853 and a City on November 18, 1988.

Amerindians called San Fernando “Anaparima,” meaning single hill or place without water.

It was christened San Fernando de Naparima by Governor Don Jose Maria Chacon in 1784

The first Mayor after San Fernando was elevated to a borough was Dr Robert Johnstone.

San Fernando was named after Fernando, the son of Spanish King Carlos III in 1792.

The first cinema in Trinidad and Tobago, Palace Cinema, was opened in San Fernando in July 1915

The present building known as City Hall was built in 1931.

The first female Mayor in Trinidad and Tobago was a member of the San Fernando Borough Council – Councillor Beryl Archibald Crichlow in 1950.

In 1991, the boundaries of San Fernando were extended increasing the population by over 10,000.

Population of San Fernando: approximately 62,000.

(www.sancity.org , the San Fernando City Corporation and the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago)

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