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The Cedula of Population was a 1783 edict by the King of Spain, Jos de Glvez, opening Trinidad to immigration from,

primarily, the French Caribbean islands. Negotiated by Phillipe Rose Roume de SaintLaurant, a key figure in Trinidad's colonial history, the edict consists of 28 articles governing several forms of land grants to encourage population growth, naturalization of inhabitants, taxation, armament of slave owners, the duty and function of a militia to protect the island, and merchant and trade issues. The edict invited persons of either gender and of the Roman Catholic faith who would swear loyalty to the Spanish Crown to receive land allotments in sizes depending on their race and heritage. Specifically, it granted 32 English acres (130,000 m2) of land to each Roman Catholic who settled in Trinidad and half as much for each slave that they brought. 16 acres (65,000 m) was offered to each free person of color, or gens de couleur libre, as they were later known, and half as much for each slave they brought. The effect of the cedula was immediate, as what had once been a small colony of 1000 in 1773 had boomed to 18,627 inhabitants by 1797. Upon the capture of Trinidad by the British in 1797, the Cedula of Population became a paramount document that established the legal status of the free coloreds in Trinidad in the declaration of capitulation. In particular, it protected their "liberty, persons and property like other inhabitants."