Bloody Bay Folklore, Culture And History

History

1666 A legend has grown that Tobago was the scene of a remarkable sea battle which took place in 1666, when the British admiral Sir John Harman encountered the combined fleets of France and Holland which had rendezvoused off a bay then called Anse Erasme or Rash House Bay, now known as Bloody Bay on the north-west or leeward side of the island. It is said that the British defeated them with such great slaughter that the sea ran red in the golden sunset, the cannon booming into the night. Today, giant immortelle trees bloom a brilliant scarlet on the mountains above Bloody Bay. The bloody battle might have been one that took place in Barbados, but has been so assimilated into Tobago history that it is now 'remembered' as having taken place in Bloody Bay and been absorbed into the recall of other battles fought there. See BATTLES

It might be noted, however, that the early Dutch maps give it the name 'Rasphuys Bay'. Rasphuis, according to English historian Simon Schama, was a 17th century workhouse in Amsterdam where brazilwood was powdered to produce dye. The timber was rasped by convicts, and hence the name 'rasp house'. Indeed, until 50 years ago Parlatuvier, the village in the next bay, still had a sawmill. And one of the most important dyewoods from the district, called redwood, used to also be known as 'bloodwood', for it stained the rivers in which it was floated. Was Bloody Bay a similar user of ' bloodwood'.

1771 Slave uprising of a few dozen slaves at Bloody Bay.

30.09.1963 At 12:40 hours on 30 September 1963, Hurricane Flora, with winds of 90 to 100 miles per hour and gusts even stronger at an estimated 120 miles per hour, swept in from the Atlantic onto the island of Tobago's eastern shores. Many hurricanes had struck the islands to the north - an annual occurance - Tobago was not expecting it so the population was only given two hours warning prior to the advent of the storm, very little notice and though some hurried preparations were undertaken, it could not be sufficient to avoid the destruction that was to be so immense. In many instances entire villages were destroyed and sixty percent of the island's houses were demolished. Twenty-four lives were lost and 31 people were seriously injured. The economic infrastructure of Tobago suffered a similar fate; crop and property damage was estimated at around $30,000,000. To make matters worse, Tobago's economic base, composed primarily of plantation-grown cash crops, never recovered. This put many families out of work.

Folklore

We will make you Fishers of Men - A catch of biblical proportions. Early April 2001 the Bloody Bay seine fishermen hauled in a record catch, probably Tobago's largest in living history. They ran out of vans to take the fish to Scarborough market. The villagers of Bloody Bay had their fill, one lady was carrying so much that she fell over. A number of local buses detoured to the beach where the drivers and passengers all helped themselves to the catch. Hugh quantities were salted for later use. Still many were buried to prevent pollution. Thanks was given to God for his blessings.