Eric Eustace Williams was born in Port of Spain in 1911. He began his education at Tranquility Boys Intermediate and won a college exhibition in June 1922 at the age of 11. He then attended Queen's Royal College (QRC) where he won an Island Scholarship which took him to Oxford University in England, where he studied history. Eric Williams graduated three years later, first in his class with first-class Honours degree. He then decided to persue his doctorate at Oxford, which he attained in 1938. Williams was awarded several honarary doctorates and other prestigious awards from Universities including Oxford, New Brunswick and the University of the West Indies (UWI). He was a professor of social and political science at Howard University in Washington D.C in 1939.
Williams made the study if Caribbean history his life's work. His publications included "The Negro in the Caribbean" in 1942 and his seminal work "Capitalism and Slavery in 1944". Dr. Williams then left Howard University to join the Caribbean Commission, which he left in 1955, when his contract was not renewed. Thereafter, Dr. Williams became active in politics with his public political lectures at the University of Woodford Square. He founded the People's National Movement in 1956 and served as its leader for 25 years consecutive years. The formation of this political party was the beginning of the age of organised party politics in Trinidad and Tobago.
By September of that same year, the PNM won the elections and Dr. Williams became the Chief Minister of the country from 1956 to 1959, Premier from 1959 to 1962, and on the attainment of Independence in 1962, Prime Minister until his death in 1981. Prime Minister, Dr. Williams also served briefly as Minister of National Security from July 1970 to June 1971, in the wake of the Black Power upheaval. Dr. Williams died on March 29th, 1981 while still in office and just six months short of his seventieth birthday.