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près de Arouca, Tunapuna/Piarco (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago)
The Village of Lopinot lies in the Northern Range approximately 5.75 miles north of Arouca. It is named after Charles Joseph Count de Loppinot (1738-1819). Loppinot was a young Knight who rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General in the French Army. He had left France to serve time in the North American French colony named Acadie. This former French territory is today the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Loppinot left Acadie in circa 1755 after the French was expelled. He headed to Louisiana and settled there temporarily. He fled Louisiana upon recognising signs of annexation by the United States and moved to Santo Domingo. At this time Santo Domingo was one of the wealthiest sugar producing territories in the world. In Santo Domingo Loppinot became a sugar planter. He amassed great wealth there and acquired land and slaves.
Loppinot was again forced to flee but this time it was because of the slave uprisings which started in the territories in 1791. Loppinot fought alongside the British in an attempt to reclaim the island colony. However, this was a war that they had lost. Loppinot petitioned the British Secretary of State for the Colonies to get compensation for property lost in Santo Domingo. Thus, when the British annexed Trinidad in 1797, the Secretary of State for the Colonies gave Loppinot instruction to go to the island to receive a grant of land by the Governor, Thomas Picton. Loppinot entered Trinidad in 1800 along with his wife, children and about one hundred slaves but was disappointed to learn that Picton had not been informed by the British Secretary of State for the Colonies and so no grant of land was made. Loppinot remained in Trinidad despite this and purchased a sugar estate in Tacarigua. In 1805, the then Governor, Thomas Hislop appointed him Brigadier-General of the Trinidad Militia. Loppinot used this position to again request a grant of land and this time he was successful. Thus, the Count trekked up the mountains of north Arouca until he discovered flat land amidst the mountainous terrain. He decided this time around to grow cocoa on the estate, La Reconnaissance, which proved a successful venture. Loppinot was later appointed to the Council of Government by the Governor, Ralph Woodford, and remained a member until his death in 1819.
The La Reconnaissance estate had remained virtually unchanged until the Government decided to build a dam at the nearby Caura Village. The village was taken over by the government and in order to protect the water supply, in 1943 and 1944, all the adjacent areas including La Reconnaissance were taken over. The village was then renamed "Lopinot" after the man who first established it. After the villagers of Caura were evacuated from the area, they were given the option of re-settling on the newly acquired Government lands at Lopinot. The people transferred the Caura Church (the Church of La Veronica), the la Veronica R.C. School, and their customs, culture and Spanish language to the Patois speaking community of Lopinot.
Today, the small village of Lopinot remains largely unchanged despite the fact that the cocoa estates have been cleared to a large extent to facilitate the building of the school, the church and houses. Cocoa estates still remain, and many people still engage in agriculture for a living. Also, remains of his cocoa houses and a jail are still evident in the village. By the 1970s, the Trinidad and Tobago Tourist Board found that the Lopinot Village had great potential as a historic site and began to restore old structures to maintain the historical appeal of the village. Thus, Lopinot Village remains a part of Trinidad and Tobago that blossoms with natural and almost undisturbed beauty, and limitless history to be appreciated by all. The village is reportedly haunted by a soucouyant, and the ghost of Loppinot himself.
Continue along the Lopinot Road up to the remote village of La Pastora. There are lots of local handmade cocoa and chocolates available for sale along here. The road deteriorates very quickly as you go along to the point where it’s only accessible with off-road vehicles. It’s not advisable to go without a 4X4 because you’d get stuck and cell phone signal bottles out to zero along this road. The dirt road begins at about 10.72555° N and -61.31655° W. This road eventually exits onto the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road at Las Lapas at 10.72926° N and -61.31118° W. Follow this road right to the intersection of the Paria-Mourne Bleu Road at 10.73121° N and -61.30762° W. Turn right at this point. Going left there takes you to the coastal village of Blanchisseuse. This road take you right into Brasso Seco. Then take the Madamas Road at 10.74587° N and -61.26112° W. This road is extremely treacherous and in terrible condition but it will take you right to the Madamas River at 10.74353° N and -61.23221° W. From here it’s a very short trek to the waterfall located at 10.74146° N and -61.23004° W. There is a smaller waterfall located not far from the road at 10.74331° N and -61.23234° W.