Nielson or Nelson Island is one of the Five Islands located approximately two miles off the north-western coast of Trinidad. This island is home to one of the oldest standing roofed buildings in Trinidad and bears the inscription AD 1802. This building was constructed by the “colonial/King’s negroes” who were enslaved men owned by the colonial government and used for public works. It was built of island mined blue limestone, cast in mortar of burnt lime and sand as well as framed in rough timber boxing. From the 1820’s to 1860’s the island was used as a holiday spot for Englishmen and their families. In 1866 this changed as the island was to be used as a depot for East Indian indentured servants coming to Trinidad.

In the twentieth century, Nelson Island was used to house detainees of the Government such as Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler in the 1940’s as well as the leaders and members of the 1970 Black Power Revolution. The Revolution was instrumental in the development of the newly independent nation as it sought to force socio-political change and create a strong national identity. Leaders of the movement who were detained on Nelson Island included Mackandal Dagga (Geddes Granger), Khafra Kambon (Dave Darbeau), Clive Nunez and George Weekes.



De Verteuil, Anthony. Western Isles of Trinidad. Port of Spain, Trinidad: A. De Verteuil, 2002. Print. “Nelson Island … where history comes alive – Presentation” National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. Web. 18th July, 2016.

“15 Black Power Leaders held in Police Swoop Exercise.” Express. 23rd April, 1970. p.g. 3. Print. Ryan, Selwyn D., and Taimoon Stewart. The Black Power Revolution of 1970: A Retrospective. St. Augustine, Trinidad: I.S.E.R., U of the West Indies, 1995. Print.