Initially, the area surrounding Government House, which was located at Belmont Hill, was called Belmont by Governor Thomas Hislop (1803-1810), after his residence, office and most of Port of Spain was destroyed by a fire on March 24, 1808. The area was also called Belmonte, meaning Beautiful Hills, by the French. Additionally, it was known as Freetown Village, by the Africans. Belmont was bounded on the North by Carib Hill (now Belmont Hill), on the south by Laventille, east by Belmont Circular Road, and west by St. Ann’s River (Rio de Santa Ana), now the East Dry River along its present course up on Observatory Street.
By 1852, it consisted of small sugar, coffee, cocoa and cotton estates. As families grew and the area developed, estates were divided up by their owners into lots and given to family members or sold to liberated Africans or migrants from other islands. By the time Belmont was incorporated into the city of Port of Spain in 1899, over 0ne hundred years ago, it was already a crowded community. Belmont emerged early in its development as suburb of the working class.
Belmont is known for its narrow lanes, but there are also new areas of infrastructure under development. The results are a community that grew with a city but still retains the character and spirit of the village.