Tobago's Colonial Forts
Fort James, Fort King George etc...
Small Caribbean island with a big history...
Tobago's old colonial forts dot the landscape like a Swiss cheese. Each a small reminder of the 32 times this Caribbean island changed hands while European powers battled over it's resources and strategic position.
Between Tobago's discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1498, when he called the island "Bella Forma", meaning "beautifully formed", and its final possession by British forces in 1793, the island was renamed several times as it was settled by Latvians, Dutch, Germans, Jews, British, French, and Scandinavians, each power building forts to protect its newly won possession. Even the recently independent United States of Americans attacked British interests in Tobago in the 1770s.
Fort James, one of the oldest colonial forts on the island, which overlooks Great Courland bay on Plymouths coral headland, is one of our favorite places to relax at the end of the day and enjoy Tobago sun sets.
Originally called "Jekabforts", or Fort Jacob, after it's Courland (Latvian) founder, Fort James' original fortifications date back to the 1650s, and like Tobago these fortifications have changed hands many times. The British built the current coral block fort during the early 1800s after recapturing the island from the French for the final time.
This is a small island with a big history, and no matter where you hail from it's likely that your homeland played some part in Tobago's often stormy past.
Across the bay, just beyond Turtle Beach, lays another of Tobago's old colonial forts, Fort Bennet a small 2 cannon battery at Black Rock.
But for the adventurous there are numerous small fortified sites, some of which were only wooden fortifications so exist in memory only, like Fort Monick, Fort Irvine, Fort Schmoll, Fort Cashmir, and French Fort, now a hilltop sporting communication towers.
There are several small fortified site along the Windward Road from Scarborough to Roxborough, and Fort Campbleton just beyond Charlotteville.
Fort Granby is a great place for a picnic, and a fun location to explore.
Built in the 1760s to protect Tobago's first short-lived capital George Town, abandoned in the 1790s, it was the major British fort in Tobago until the building of Fort King George.
Today little remains of the old fort and the former capital, other than the prettiest peninsulas on the island with its unusual dark sand beach, and one of the few fishing communities on the island that still remember how to sail a "bum boat", Tobago's original wooden fishing boats, wonderful relics from the days of wind and sail.
Fort King George
Fort King George was one of the last old colonial forts in Tobago to be built. Originally Fort Castries, it was started by the French to protect Port Louis, the renamed Scarborough, after they took the island from the British in 1781.
Just 6 years later the British recaptured the island, added further to the forts defenses, and renamed it Fort King George, after crazy old King George III.
Fort King George is a Tobago icon, the best preserved colonial fort on the island, and a must see for visitors wishing to while away a quiet afternoon, and another excellent place to watch the sun dip below the horizon on a balmy Caribbean evening.
There's a small museum at Fort King George with some interesting Island Carib artifacts. While there are no Amerindians in Tobago these days, there was a significant number in the past who successfully fort off invading forces in the early days, until their eventual demise.
Entry to all of Tobago's forts is free, but there's a charge of less than $1US per person to enter the Tobago Museum at Fort King George, which makes a great donation to help maintain Tobago's historic sites.
The truth is you don't have to go very far to see one of Tobago's old colonial forts. In fact, Fort Milford stands just a 5-minute walk from Crown Point International Airport and Store Bay. So...
If you are only visiting Tobago for the day you can enjoy one of the best beaches on the island, visit beautiful Buccoo Reef, and visit Fort Milford with out even renting a Taxi. Cab ride to Piarco International Airport and return airfare to Tobago will cost about $80US, less if your Trinidad hotel has an airport shuttle. That's a little more than it might cost to take a cab from your hotel to Maracas Beach, but less than it would cost to go on most 1-day eco tours. Related Topics... Idyllic Store Bay, Tobago Picturesque Pigeon Point Beach, Tobago Pretty beaches like Englishman's BayOur favorite Tobago VillaAs-Easy-As luxury Caribbean vacationsBeautiful Buccoo ReefTobago HotelsCrown Point Hotel in Tobago Suggested Topics... The Early History of the West Indies Caribbean Scenery & Fort George GO TO Options... TOP of Tobago's Old Colonial FortsBack to Trinidad and Tobago HistoryHOME PAGE