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Trinidad and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is a nation located in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela. It consists of two islands, Trinidad and Tobago. The larger and more populated island is Trinidad, while the island of Tobago is much smaller and less populous.

Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
National motto: Together we aspire, together we achieve
Official languageEnglish
CapitalPort of Spain
PresidentGeorge Maxwell Richard
Prime ministerPatrick Manning
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 163st
5,128 kmē
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 151th
IndependenceAugust 31, 1962
Time zone UTC - 4
National anthemForged From The Love of Liberty
Internet TLD.TT
Calling Code1-868

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Counties and Municipalities
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External Links


Main article: History of Trinidad and Tobago

Little is known of the history of the islands before they were discovered by Christopher Columbus on July 31, 1498. He named Trinidad after the Holy Trinity; Tobago was named Bella Forma by him, but this later became Tobago (probably derived from tobacco).

The Spanish settled on Trinidad, while Tobago frequently changed hands between the European sea powers, but the settlements on both islands were small and underdeveloped. The changing of hands of the European powers was mainly to keep Tobago free of pirates. In the 18th century, Britain acquired both islands, and they were combined into the colony of Trinidad and Tobago in 1889.

Following World War II, when American naval bases were located on Trinidad, the islands became independent as part of the West Indies Federation in 1958. The federation was dissolved quickly, and the independent nation of Trinidad and Tobago was formed in 1962.

At present, the country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean, thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing.


Main article: Politics of Trinidad and Tobago

Chief of state in Trinidad and Tobago is the president, who is elected by the parliament. This parliament consists of two chamers, the Senate (31 seats) and the House of Representatives (36 seats). The members of the former are appointed by the president, while the members of the latter are chose by the public in elections held every five years.

The Prime Minister, who heads the House of Representatives, is chose by the president; usually the leader of the largest party is chosen.

The present ruling party (2003) is the People's National Movement; the Opposition is the United National Congress.

Counties and Municipalities

Main article: Counties and Municipalities of Trinidad and Tobago

While Tobago has the status of ward, and is not subdivided, the Trinidad is separated into eight counties and three municipalities. The counties are:

The three towns with municipality-status are:


Main article:
Geography of Trinidad and Tobago

The terrain of the islands is mostly plains, although the highest point in the country, El Cerro del Aripo is situated at 940 m above sea level. The climate is tropical with a rainy season in the second half of the year. Unlike many other Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago rarely suffer from tropical storms.

As the majority of the population lives on Trinidad, this is the location of most major towns, including the capital Port of Spain. The largest settlement on Tobago is Scarborough.


Main article: Economy of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses. A leading performer the past four years has been the booming natural gas sector. Tourism is a growing sector, although not proportionately as important as in many other Caribbean islands. The economy benefits from low inflation and a trade surplus. The year 2002 was marked by solid growth in the oil sector, offset in part by domestic political uncertainty.


Main article: Demographics of Trinidad and Tobago

The two predominant ethnic groups are the descendants of African slaves (39.5%), and the East-Indians, who are descendants of indentured labourers from India. Both groups form about 79.8% of the population; most of the remainder are people of mixed descent.

Many different religions are present in Trinidad and Tobago. The largest two are the Roman-Catholic Church and Hinduism; the Anglican Church and Islam have smaller groups of followers.

English is the country's only official language, but Hindi is also commonly spoken by the East Indians. Patois is rarely spoken.


Main article: Culture of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago are famous as the birthplace of the calypso music, as well as the music of the steel pan (whose patent is held by someone in Maryland, United States). The diverse cultural and religious background allows for many festivities and ceremonies throughout the year.

DateEnglish NameRemarks
January 1New Year's Day
March 30Spiritual Baptism Liberation Shouter Day
VariableCorpus Christi
May 30Indian Arrival Day
June 19Labour Day
August 1Emancipation Day
August 31Independence Day
September 24Republic Day
December 25Christmas
December 26Boxing Day

Miscellaneous topics

External Links

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