Los Roques "People" continued ....
According to historians the Dutch were expelled at the beginning of the XX century. It was not until 1910, after a resolution from the Agriculture and the Fishing Ministry whereby the extraction of colored tannin from the mangrove tree was forbidden, that the settlement of Margarita fishermen and the displacement of the Dutch took place. "Even the local Commissionaire was Dutch "referred a fishermen about the strong presence of the Dutch in theses islands. He concludes saying that "some of them left and others died here".
Between 1910 and 1923 the first settlements took place in Gran Roque. In 1923 there were 6 houses and in 1948 there were 13 families.
Adventures, Dreamers or traders?
As told by one of the fishermen in Los Roques, the first inhabitants were not adventurers nor daring fishermen. By the time the fishermen decided to settle in these islands, there were people already there mainly Dutch with the capacity to trade products like limestone, mangrove, salt, coal and eventually fishing. They used to recruit fishermen in La Guaira and Margarita; while they worked they provided workers with everything they needed to live and to trade the products. On many occasions the payment was made in food or alcoholic beverages. The direct buying of fish could have been one of the reasons why the fishermen from La Guaira and Margarita settled in the archipelago. Basically when someone who had the capacity to trade, they looked for labor and would set up the operation in the island and they would guarantee the buying of the product. People were brought in from elsewhere and there was nothing nothing at all here. People did not have the purchasing power to trade products by themselves. This system survives up to this day for the trading of fish: A fishing boat anchors here for several days to load up to 7 tons of fish that buys directly form the fishermen and then they would leave. From this we can tell that people here have never transported their products to the mainland.
Between 1950 and 1981 the population of Los Roques has gone 530 to 585 inhabitants. In the year 2000 it reached 1.062 inhabitants.
The majority of those who came here did it to improve their economic situation but afterwards the quiet and peaceful living of these islands as well as its beauty made the difference. This is why many came and the decided to stay.
Lionel Guevara arrived when he was 17 with his cousins and brothers "to make some money even if it was not much" . Now 40 years later he says he lives happily here" Nobody interferes with anybody, and there are no worries nor crime".
Mr. Cruz says "a few have left but they come back shortly after because life here is very different to life in Margarita. Here you can go about any way you like, bare feet and in shorts and topless, although life is expensive. Another factor is how quiet it is here, there is no risk of being assaulted. One can sleep on the beach and spend the whole night there because nothing is going to happen to you.. >>