What evidence is there to tie the liberated Africans from the Trouvadore, to today’s population and their cultural identity? These first generation Africans entered a community divided between those who had been slave owners, and those who had been slaves. The former slaves were also divided between those brought to the Islands by the Loyalists, the salt rakers and those born on the Islands. This creates a web of cultural influences and it is this rich tapestry that forms the basis of modern day customs of the “Belongers”, the name adopted by the local Islanders. The influx of such a large number of first generation Africans in 1841 would have had a major impact on the community.
The population of the country was around 2300 and an influx of 168 Africans increased it by around 7%. Because the way the population has grown over the last 150 years we believe that every Belonger is tied to the survivors by blood or marriage. As one archaeologist put it “This is the Plymouth rock of the Turks and Caicos Islands”. Through this one incident Belongers can identify African roots through first generation Liberated Africans.