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Trinidad and Tobago
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Trinidad and Tobago

For other uses of the word Trinidad, see Trinidad (disambiguation).

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 a lot smaller and less populous. The tallest building in Trinidad and Tobago is Eric Williams Plaza.

Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
(In Detail)
National motto: Together we aspire, together we achieve
Official languageEnglish
CapitalPort of Spain
PresidentGeorge Maxwell Richard
Prime ministerPatrick Manning
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 163st
5,128 kmē
Negligible
Population
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 151th
1,104,209
215/km²
IndependenceAugust 31, 1962
CurrencyDollar
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

History

Main article: History of Trinidad and Tobago, History of the Caribbean

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.

In 1976 the country severed its links with the British monarchy and became a republic within the Commonwealth.

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.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Trinidad and Tobago

Chief of state in Trinidad and Tobago is the president, Professor George Maxwell Richards, who is elected by the parliament. This parliament consists of two chambers, the Senate (31 seats) and the House of Representatives (36 seats). The members of the former are appointed by the president,the ruling party and the Opposition, while the members of the latter are chosen 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 (2004) is the People's National Movement led by Patrick Manning; the Opposition is the United National Congress led by Basdeo Panday.

Counties and Municipalities

Main article: Counties and Municipalities of Trinidad and Tobago

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

The five towns with municipality-status are: In the early 1990s the system of County Councils was replaced with a system of Regional Corporations. The final order is:

Geography

Main article:
Geography of Trinidad and Tobago

The terrain of the islands is a mixture of mountains and plains. The highest point in the country is found on the Northern Range at El Cerro del Aripo which is situated at 940 m above sea level. The climate is tropical. There are two seasons annually. The dry season, for the first six months of the year, and the rainy season, in the second half of the year. The rainy season is also known as the Hurricane season, however unlike most of the other Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago have frequently escaped the wrath of major devastating hurricanes. Trinidad and Tobago are supplied with the North Westerly winds which blow from the north west of the islands to the south east of the islands.

As the majority of the population live in Trinidad, this is the location of most major towns and cities. There are two major cities in Trinidad. They include the capital, Port of Spain and the second most important city is the city of San Fernando. The largest settlement on Tobago is Scarborough.

Trinidad is made up of a variety of soil types, the majority being clay and topsoil. In addition to this, the mountainous areas of the islands contain limestone.

Economy

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.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Trinidad and Tobago

The two predominant ethnic groups are "East-Indians", the descendants of indentured labourers from India (40.3% of the population) and "Africans" who descend from African slaves (39.5%). Together the two groups form about 79.8% of the population; most of the remainder are people of mixed descent, with small minorities of Europeans, Chinese, Syrian-Lebanese and Caribss (descendants of the indigenous inhabitants, not recognized as a distinct census category).

Many different religions are present in Trinidad and Tobago. The largest two are the Roman Catholic Church and Hinduism; the Anglican Church, Islam, Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church are among the smaller faiths.

English is the country's only official language, but Hindi is also spoken by some East Indians. Patois (a dialect of French Creole is rarely spoken. Due to Trinidad's location, on the coast of South America, the country is slowly developing a connection with the Spanish speaking peoples, and therefore as a result, many schools now teach Spanish to the locals.

Culture

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. Other indigenous art forms include chutney, soca and pichakarie (musical forms which blend the music of the Caribbean and India) and the famous limbo dance.

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

Miscellaneous topics

External links


[ Edit {}] Countries in West Indies
Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas | Barbados | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Haiti | Jamaica | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad and Tobago
Dependencies: Anguilla | Aruba | Bermuda | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Guadeloupe | Martinique | Montserrat | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Turks and Caicos Islands | U.S. Virgin Islands