If you ask any Trinbagonian what Sangre Grande means, they will tell you it is Spanish for Big Blood though you would never discern that from the Trinbagonian pronunciation. In the late 1770s, Spanish surveyors who were charting the island for the purposes of creating a map, found that the waters of two of the tributaries of the nearby Oropuche River were red as blood, hence the name.
About a century later, cocoa farmers began to move into the area, attracted by the nearby water supply. Transport was a challenge then, as they were 30 miles away from the capital, Port of Spain, and linked to the nearest town, Arima, by a dirt road. But they persisted, and cocoa and the POS-Arima railway service that became a reality in 1876 were both integral in creating the beginnings of what we know today as Grande. Ironically, although the signs at the station said Sangre Grande Railway Station, the train actually stopped at Cunapo. From that day, Cunapo officially ceased to exist because if the sign said Sangre Grande Railway Station, then the area was Sangre Grande.
During the 1930s, the area continued to prosper despite a cocoa recession and the popular refrain of the time, Arima tonight, Sangre Grande tomorrow night, was testament to its popularity and the laissez-faire attitude of those who lived there. The 1940s brought with it a time of economic prosperity and, some would say, moral decay, as a direct result of the US Forces who opened an air-base at Cumuto during the war. Still, the area survived that era and went on to expand population-wise, despite the fact that the days of cocoa were behind them. Today, it is a bustling, thriving town, full of activity and commercial/retail vibrancy.