The official name is the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
It is located on two large and several small islands northeast of Venezuela. Area 5128 km2, incl. 4828 km2 falls on the island of Trinidad, 300 km2 on the island of Tobago. Population 1.26 million people (census 2000). The official language is English. The capital is Port of Spain (49 thousand people, 2000).
Public holiday – Independence Day on August 31 (since 1962). The monetary unit is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.
Member of the UN (since 1962) and its specialized organizations, incl. Leningrad NPP (since 1975), CARICOM, MBR, IBRD, IMF, OAS (since 1967), etc.
Geography of Trinidad and Tobago
It is located between 60° and 6Г30′ west longitude and 10°30′ and 11° north latitude. It is washed by the Caribbean Sea from the north and west and by the Atlantic Ocean from the south and east. The total length of the coastline is 362 km. It has no land borders. It is separated from Venezuela in the west by two straits of the Gulf of Paria, 11 km wide. Trinidad is mostly flat. It is crossed by three small mountain ranges, which are a continuation of the Coastal Cordillera of Venezuela. The maximum height is 940 m (Arima). The relief of the island of Tobago is mountainous, with maximum heights up to 640 m.
The main minerals are oil, gas and asphalt. Of the solid minerals, andesite is of great importance. Oil reserves 0.1 billion tons (2002). In terms of natural gas reserves – 0.66 trillion m3 – Trinidad and Tobago is in 4th place in Latin America, slightly behind Bolivia. Asphalt reserves are the largest in the world and are estimated at 10 million tons.
A significant part of the territory of the island of Trinidad is occupied by gley soils formed under conditions of excessive moisture. The island of Tobago is dominated by more fertile tropical brown soils, which have better structure and chemical properties.
The climate is tropical, the average temperature is +23°-32°C. During the year there is a change of two seasons: dry (from January to May-June) and wet (from May-June to December). The average humidity is approx. 80%, ranging from 50% in the dry season to 100% in the wet. The average rainfall is 2110 mm on the island of Trinidad and 2500 mm on Tobago.
Both islands have a large number of rivers. The most significant rivers of the island of Trinidad are the Ortoire or Guatare (50 km long), which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caroni (40 km long), which flows into the Gulf of Paria. Both rivers are not navigable. World-famous is Peach Lake, an area of 41.6 hectares, located in the southwestern part of the island of Trinidad, containing the world’s largest reserves of natural asphalt.
The flora and fauna of Trinidad and Tobago is very diverse. There are 430 species of birds, 620 species of butterflies, 2300 types of flowering plants, 100 species of mammals and 70 species of reptiles. Chaconia (wild poinsettia), which is the national symbol of the country, grows in abundance in the wooded areas of the upland. Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of the capuchin monkey. The largest of the monkeys living in the country is the red howler, whose weight reaches 7 kg. Snakes are found in abundance, alligators are found. The leatherback turtle, the largest of the sea turtles, lives in the coastal marine area, the average weight of which reaches 360 kg. Spanish cedar and red sandalwood grow in evergreen rainforests. The islands are home to the brown tree duck, which nests in swamps in the crowns of dead palm trees.
Population of Trinidad and Tobago
According to Countryaah, the average annual population growth rate is 0.5%. 49.9% of the population are men, 50.1% are women, 25.1% are under 15 years old. Birth rate 13.4%, mortality 7.3%, average life expectancy 72.5 years. Competently 98.4% of the adult population. The retirement age is 60-65 years. 74% of the population lives in cities. In the ethnic structure of the population, the share of mestizos increases (16.3% in 1980, 18.4% in 1990) and the share of other ethnic groups decreases (respectively from 40.8 to 39.6% among Afro-Trinidadians and from 40.7 to 40.3 % – among the Indo-Trinidadians). The share of each of the other ethnic groups (Europeans, Chinese, etc.) is less than 1%. The official language is English; in addition, Hindi, French, Spanish and Chinese are in circulation.
Religion – Catholics 29.4%, Protestants 29.7%, Hindus 23.7%, Muslims 5.9%, other 11.3%.
History of Trinidad and Tobago
In 1498, when H. Columbus landed on the island of Trinidad (the name given by Columbus) and declared that the island belonged to Spain, it was inhabited by Indian tribes of Caribs and Arawaks. Until 1532, there were no Spanish colonists on it. From 1532-1797 Trinidad was a Spanish colony. To provide the settlements with labor, the Spaniards enslaved the Indians and began to instill in them the Christian faith. In con. 18th century during the French Revolution, many colonists came to Trinidad, mainly French, from Haiti, Grenada and other French-speaking colonies. Later, new settlers arrived, attracted by the news that large tracts of land had been given to Catholic colonists. The local population by that time was almost completely exterminated. To work on the sugar plantations, the colonists began to import black slaves from Africa.
The island of Tobago, also discovered by Columbus in 1498, was uninhabited until 1632, when a group of New Zealanders landed on it. For the next 200 years, the island was the object of rivalry between Denmark, Britain and France. In 1814 it became a British colony. After the abolition of slavery in 1838, the population of the islands began to grow. In 1845, a group of workers from India came to the islands to work under a contract on sugar plantations, and a little later, workers from Sierra Leone, Europe and China. Trinidad and Tobago was unified in 1889. A great influence on the structure of the economy of Trinidad and Tobago had a discovery in their territory in con. 19 – beg. 20th century oil fields. Trinidad and Tobago gained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.