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The Colonial Bank, the forerunner to Barclays Bank and Republic Bank Limited, was established in the West Indian colonies as an effort, on the part of a group of merchants and private bankers in London, to fill the need for a banking system. Business commenced in Trinidad and other colonies (Jamaica, Barbados, British Guiana, St. Thomas) on May 15 1837. By the end of 1837, thirteen branches and agencies had been established.

This collection of letters consists of the incoming correspondence to the Colonial Bank in Trinidad from its inception in 1837 to 1885. It comprises a total of 1848 items, the majority of which - about 57 % - are letters from the Court of Directors in London to the Manager in Trinidad. The correspondence affords an insight into the economic and social history of Trinidad, the banking needs of the sugar planters and the precarious nature of sugar production in the nineteenth century.

Republic Bank Limited inherited the collection of documents from Barclays Bank. The collection was donated to The University of the West Indies as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Bank's operations.

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