Discover Tobago


Tobago, City of Scarborough Scarborough, Tobago's capital, has seen its share of excitement over the years: not surprisingly, an island that has changed hands more than 30 times in 150 years. The town's first incarnation was in 1654, when it was called Lampsinburg, after the two Dutch brothers that were its founders.

The success of the Dutch in settling Tobago aroused the envy of other European powers; the British lost no time in dispatching a fleet of privateers to attack the island. Then came the French, and the marathon game of musical chairs had begun.

It was the Dutch who, on their return to power in the 1670s, established the first civil government in Tobago, and brought in hundreds of African slaves to work the land. They built a pleasant little town of broad streets and neat houses along the shores of Rockley Bay, now Lower Scarborough. They lost their haven to the French in 1677.

When, in 1762, the British captured Tobago from the French, they established their capital, Georgetown, in the area now known as Studly Park. Soon, however, they began moving to Lampsinburg (changing its name in the process), which rapidly became the center of trade and commerce. In 1769, the settlers moved their House of Assembly to Scarborough, which was designated to the island's capital. Atop its highest point, they constructed Fort King George, between 1777-1779.

In 1781, Tobago once more fell into the French hands, and remained thus for 12 years. It was during this period that the soldiers garrisoned at the fort rebelled against their officers and set fire to the CourtHouse. Most of Scarborough was burnt to the ground.
After a few more historical twists and turns, Tobago was formally ceded to the British in 1814, ending at last its era of political uncertainty. In 1821-1825, the present House of Assembly was constructed on the site of the former CourtHouse.

Today, Scarborough is a bustling little town that sprawls from the heights of Fort King George to the lowland reaches of former Lampsinburg. Its House of Assembly is one of the Caribbean's finest examples of Georgian architecture; while the cannons on Gun Bridge offer a memorial of more turbulent times. A visitor to Scarborough should be sure to visit the Tobago Historical Museum, housed in one of the fort's historic buildings.

A lively street market flourishes in Lower Scarborough, near to the colourful produce market. The Scarborough Harbour was recently dredged to create a deep-water harbour capable of accommodating the major cruise liners, and a sparkling new Cruise Ship Complex has been constructed to welcome our visitors.


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