Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago

Geographical Location of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago are the southernmost islands of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean. The northern part of Trinidad consists of the Northern Range mountain range, while the rest of the island consists mainly of lowlands with white sandy beaches along the northern and eastern coasts. To the southwest is Peach Lake, which is the world's largest natural asphalt deposit.

The island of Tobago is an extension of the mountain range north of Trinidad. Almost the entire island is hilly and steep, with beautiful sandy beaches along the coast. Rainforest covers a third of the islands. The island of Trinidad is home to one of the hottest peppers in the world - the Trinidad Scorpio. The climate is tropical, hot and humid all year round with slight temperature fluctuations. It rains most from July to October, and least from January to May. The country is rarely exposed to tropical hurricanes, which regularly hit other Caribbean islands.

The biggest environmental problems in Trinidad and Tobago are water and sea pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial emissions and contaminated wastewater. Hundreds of oil leaks from the country's oil industry have also led to the destruction of parts of the coastline and marine ecosystems. Inland, deforestation has caused widespread soil erosion and damaged the soil over large areas.

Brief History of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad has been inhabited for at least 7,000 years and the indigenous people were from South America. When Christopher Columbus landed in Trinidad in 1498 as the first European, the population there was primarily Arawak-speaking. Tobago was uninhabited in pre-Columbian times, but over time people speaking a Caribbean language settled there. The first Europeans to settle on the island were the Dutch. Until Trinidad and Tobago officially became a British colony in 1899, the islands underwent major changes as they were colonized by Spain, France, the Netherlands and the Duchy of Courland and Semigallen.

Spain colonized Trinidad in the early 16th century, establishing sugar plantations. The indigenous population was virtually wiped out due to European diseases and slave labor. African slaves were purchased and imported to keep the plantations running. Spain ceded Trinidad to Britain in 1797, and in 1814 the British also captured Tobago. When slavery was abolished in 1833, many Chinese and Indian labor immigrants arrived, and from 1899 the islands of Trinidad and Tobago were united into one British colony.

The population consisted mainly of Indians and Africans, since after a short time the Chinese left the colony. However, the white upper class had economic and political control. From the 1930s, the oil industry emerged and led to rapid economic growth. The colony gained internal self-government in 1945 and became independent in 1962.

Society and Politics of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is a democratic republic. The country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the head of state is the British monarch. The head of state is the president, who serves a largely ceremonial role and is elected every five years. Executive power belongs to the government, headed by the prime minister. And legislative power belongs to parliament. Parliament consists of two chambers: the popularly elected House of Representatives and the Senate, appointed by the president.

Important political topics in Trinidad and Tobago are the vast inequalities between rich and poor in society, as well as the country's widespread drug-related violence and smuggling. The islands are located at the center of a drug smuggling route from South America to North America. Despite international criticism, the country has reintroduced the death penalty to deter criminal gangs.

Although there is great inequality in society, the standard of living is high compared to other countries in the region. Medical services are free and work well. Social benefits such as health insurance, unemployment benefits, pensions and alimony are reliable and well developed. The oppression of women and violence against women is a widespread problem, but has become an important political issue in recent years.

Economy and Trade of Trinidad and Tobago

The economy of Trinidad and Tobago is primarily based on the production and export of natural gas and oil. The country's most important trading partner is the United States. The services sector (including tourism) is another important industry, employing about two-thirds of the population. Agriculture mainly produces sugar, cocoa and coconuts, but this sector is less important.

Trinidad and Tobago is part of a regional cooperation organization - the Caribbean Community and Common Market. The purpose of the organization is to create a common economic market in the Caribbean, as well as ensuring equal customs rates, free movement of capital and labor in the region.

Among the Caribbean states, Trinidad and Tobago is among the richest countries due to its access to natural resources. However, about three percent of the population lives in absolute poverty. Poverty is most common in cities; in rural areas the standard of living is higher.

Flag of Trinidad and Tobago
Coat of Arms of Trinidad and Tobago

Basic Information About Trinidad and Tobago

  • Full name - Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Capital - Port of Spain
  • Language - English
  • Population - 1,403,374
  • Form of government - republic
  • Area - 5,130 km2
  • Currency - Trinidad and Tobago dollar
  • National Day - August 31st