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Cocoa Drying House (model), Trinidad
Cocoa Drying House (model), Trinidad
Cocoa Panyols (Chart),Trinidad
Cocoa Panyols (Chart),Trinidad

The Panyols are a Pardo (tri-racial) ethnic group in Trinidad and Tobago of mixed Spanish, South American Amerindian, Trinidadian and Tobagonian Amerindian, Afro-Latin American, and Afro-Trinidadian and Tobagonian descent. They comprise the Cocoa Estate Plantations owners community along with peasant workers from Venezuela and Colombia, also referred to as Pagnols, local Spanish, Cocoa panyols (or Cocoa Payols). They were born of the shared Island nation, on both sides of the Gulf of Paria, Peninsulas that settling within the Northern Range Rain Forest Mountains Valleys of Trinidad and Tobago Caura River, down the mountains into the Tacarigua River into the Caroni River, and the Orinoco, and Caura River Venezuela. They played an important role in the development of the cocoa industry in Trinidad and Tobago, running the Cocoa Estate and not to be confused with the freed community of former slaves.

Panyols and Cocoa Panyols self references

The Venezuelan and Colombian peasant cocoa-farm workers of the Venezuelan ancestry of Panyol landowners were referred to as Cocoa Panyols (or Cocoa Payols). The present-day Panyols of Trinidad and Tobago are descendants of those Venezuelan, Colombian, and Spanish Settlers, whose ancestors originated from Canary Islands, and Gulf of Paria and neighboring region ethnic indigenous Amerindians communities on both sides of the Gulf of Paria, its Peninsulas, and into the Northern Range Rain Forest Mountains Valleys, of Trinidad. They traveled over the Chaguaramas Peninsula and Mountains of Diego Martin into the Rain Forest of the Northern Mountain Range of Trinidad and formed Villages high and deep in various parts of the Mountains to the Caura region, and via Caura River Trinidad, in past history and later generations during the Cedula.

Donkey with panniers (model),Trinidad
Donkey with panniers (model),Trinidad

1838 Cocoa farms Labour Shortage with Slavery Abolished - 1841 Arrivals of Cocoa Farmers Invitees from Sierra Leone

Their community was a part of the Cedula of Populations migrants from Venezuela, Settlers that owned Cocoa Plantations and sugar, as well, that settled and brought in workers from Venezuela. The Estate owners used Venezuelan peasants to farm the lands during the late 17th century. In 1838, with the Abolition of Slavery on the Islands of Trinidad and Tobago, shortages in labour-force became severe for some, though all were indirectly affected. This led to an invitation by the Estate Owners Community of the Free Community of elites to West Africa resulting in the subsequent arrival of a delegation of new landowners and their workforce from their regions, communities and households, from Sierra Leone, Africa, in 1841.

The Sierre Leone Africa invited guests settled in Sierra Leone, Diego Martin which was especially prepared for them, in the beautiful Diego Martin Area and surrounding Northern Range Maraval and Paramin.

Some of the landowners of the Cocoa Farms Estate intermarried with Sierra Leone the Africa invited group and that formed an integral part of the Estate Lands settlers in that Region Community, who kept much to themselves and within their Communities up in the Mountains, the underlying Valleys, and still today remain a close family, inter-related over generations, a minority community of shared ancestry and heritage over generations on the islands.

Cocoa Panyols are a mixture of Amerindian, European, and African ancestry.

Panyols Estate Families began inter-marrying with Sierra Leone Africans around 1841[1] period and thereafter within Cocoa Estates Community, which included the invited Africans, and from additional islands that were given Cocoa Estate Lands. That assemblage of Landowner Elite Free Community included those that invited the Sierre Leone Community in Diego Martin and intermarried to unite work-forces needed at that time. The Panyols and those invited were all a part of the Cedula of Populations and those later invited, including from Venezuela after the 1838 Abolition of Slavery, to save the industry. Migrants from Venezuela settled and brought in workers from Venezuela. The Estate owners used Venezuelans peasants to farm the lands, and a few intermarried, in particular in Diego Martin, within the 1841[1] from Sierra Leone Africa, invited group and with that community formed an integral part of the Estate Lands settlers in that Region. Among their descendants today are the Emmanuel, Herrera's, Tardieu, George, Felix, Hospedales and Thomas families, and these are among the larger that families of Maraval, Paramin and Diego Martin. They became an integral part of the Cocoa Farms Estate owners and settled many of the lands and regions in Maraval, Paramin, St, Ann's, and Diego Martin with their descendants expanding lines and Trade interest, and are yet of primary Venezuelan Spanish ancestry. The name comes from the patois word for Spanish, espagnol, or even Spanish word Español and reflects the historical association between the group and the cultivation of cacao in Trinidad (Cocoa Español).

Panyol Regions

The Caura River is also called the Tacarigua River the name of the area it flows through, into the Caroni River, and into the Orinoco River, and which rejoins the Caura River in Bolivar Venezuela. That region's Community, as far into and beyond Suriname and further, are the ancestors, alongside the Spanish, of the Panyols. That line intermarried within and across those communities. Their descendants intermarried with the Spanish migrants of the Cocoa Estate Mestizo owners and those that migrated from Venezuela to develop the lands. Many of the Cocoa Estate peasant intermarried with the freed slaves and others that arrived, who were also given lands, where they settled and built alongside and within the greater estates of the Cocoa Estates families of that region, the Cocoa Panyols. That ethnic origin of the Panyols of the Native South Americans internal indigenous lines of the Gulf of Paria Region Native Community makes the Panyol, as a community as natives, indigenous of ancestry and ethnic inheritance, shared with that of the Spanish which is the predominate shared European Ancestors of them all.

Cocoa Panyols were most prevalent in the cacao-growing areas of the Northern Range (Caura, Lopinot, Arima, Santa Cruz and Maraval) and the Central Range (especially the Montserrat and Tortuga districts). Also, large communities of cocoa panyols resided in the areas of Moruga, such as La Lune. The relocation of the village of Caura for the planned Caura Dam (which was never constructed) led to a major disruption of Cocoa Panyol society.

Many families re-located to the Lopinot Valley, but others moved into urban areas and were absorbed into the mainstream of Trinidadian life. In today's modern multi-ethnic Trinidadian society, the Cocoa Panyols are sometimes seen as a vanishing minority. Some Cocoa Panyols merged into the French Creole, Mixed (Mulatto), Afro-Trinidadian and Indo-Trinidadian communities through intermarriage. In the Paramin region of Maraval, in the Northern Range, some Cocoa Panyols became integrated into the French Patois-speaking communities, giving rise to the Parang tradition in Paramin and the blending of Venezuelan and French Creole cultures.

The term Spanish is used synonymously with Panyol of Trinidad and their Cocoa Panyol plantations farmworkers, and may also be used for Venezuelans, Colombians, or other Hispanic national groups. This term is used as a reference to the language, and not the actual race/ethnicity of the Cocoa Panyols, which is argued by that community with the natural response of identity, especially among the larger lines, with ancestors and families yet there.

Cocoa Estate Panyols descendant Families

The community in Trinidad originated in the late sixteenth century (see History of Trinidad and Tobago). After the Island fell under British control in 1797, Spanish-speaking Venezuelans continued to settle in Trinidad, usually in connection with the civil wars and revolutions which followed the Bolivarian revolution. The rise of cocoa cultivation in Trinidad was largely achieved through the importation of Venezuelan peasant farmers. These farmers were employed to clear the forest and establish cocoa seedlings. After five to seven years, they were paid for each mature cocoa tree on the plot of land. Then, they moved on to a new plot of land, repeating this process. They are also credited with establishing parang in Trinidad.

The present descendants of Panyol in Trinidad are born of the communities thereof, and a few that intermarried with the indigenous lines of the surrounding regions, on both sides of the Caura River, and a relatively small community of interrelated families over generations with those of the larger Cocoa Estate and Venezuelan Free Community prior to and after 1838 in Diego Martin, Maraval and Paramin. Among these includes the present Nubian-Nation Empress and Nubia-Sheba Throne Queen Shebah Kasambu 'Ra of Kasambu 'Ra House Africa, Sierra Leone born of the 1841 delegation descendants, and first Panyols of the South lines New World, enthroned.

Some intermarried with the Portuguese as well of Port-of-Spain and St. Ann's and settled lands in the St. Ann's Hills. They played an important role in the development of the cocoa industry in Trinidad and Tobago, running the Cocoa Estates, and are not to be confused with the free community of mixed-heritage born during slavery, or the Native Indian Groups in the lower regions that suffered through so much beneath the Mountains, and families of intermarriages with that community on both sides over generations.

The Panyols are primarily of ancestry from Venezuelan and Spaniard ancestors from Spain and thus referred to as the Hispanic and Spanish

Notable Cocoa Panyols


  1. ^ a b "TRINBAGOPAN.COM - DIEGO MARTIN". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  2. ^ "Biographies A-C". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  3. ^ "Kasambu 'Ra House, Sierre Leone Trinidad 1841-1963".
  • The Cocoa Panyols of Trinidad : An Oral Record – Sylvia Moodie-Kublalsingh ISBN 1-85043-660-6
This page was last edited on 22 June 2020, at 10:05
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