The canboulay riots started in February 1881 in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and in the southern cities of San Fernando and Princes Town in February 1884.
When the emancipated slaves started celerbating their freedom, they would burn sugar canes which they called “cannes brulees” then called canboulay. The would march through the streets of Port of Spain with the lighted sugar canes and drumming and chanting.
The canboulay celebrations turned into violence when in 1881 Captain Baker who was the head of police at the time was beaten when he and others tried to stop the canboulay.
The riots are still commemorated today and are done in the early mornings in Port of Spain. For many, it is still considered the official start of Carnival.
Youtube video of canboulay re enactment 2010