Trinidad and Tobago Country Guide
Location: Southeast Central America.
Area: 5,123 km2.
Forest area: 2 thousand km2
The country is made up of two main islands and islets with a tropical climate and mountainous terrain, located in the southern Caribbean Sea, just 11 kilometers off the coast of Venezuela.
Trinidad is a mountainous island, located north of the mouth of the Orinoco River and is separated from the mainland by the Gulf of Paria.Tobago is of volcanic origin and is located about 32 km northeast of Trinidad.
Total: 1.3 million (2000), 41% African-American, 41% Indian,
16% Eurasian, 1% European (Southern and English), 1% (1996).
Density: 253.76 inhab./km2.
Urban population: 73% (1998).
Rural population: 26% (1998).
Demographic growth: 0.5% per year (1995-2000).
Fertility: 1.65 children per woman (1995-2000).
Life expectancy M / F: 71.5 / 76 years (1995-2000).
Infant mortality: 15 per thousand births (1995-2000).
Illiteracy: 1.8% (2000).
HDI (0-1): 0.793 (1998).
Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar.
GDP: US $ 6.4 billion (1998).
Agricultural GDP: 2% (1998).
Industry GDP: 48% (1998).
GDP of services: 50% (1998).
GDP growth: 1.6% per year (1990-1998).
Agriculture : Mainly sugar cane, coffee, cocoa and citrus fruits.
Livestock : cattle, pigs, goats, poultry.
Mining : oil, natural gas, natural asphalt.
Business partners : USA, UK, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, France.
Form of government: Parliamentary republic.
Administrative division: 7 counties and 5 cities.
Main parties: United National Congress (UNC),
National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), National People’s Movement (PNM).
Legislative: bicameral – House of Representatives, with 36 members elected by direct vote; Senate, with 31 members appointed by the president.
Both have a 5-year term.
Current Constitution: 1976.
The islands present an exotic religious panorama where they coexist:
Catholic Christianity 29.4%) and Protestant 29.7%, Hinduism 23.7%,
and Islamism 5.9%, another 11.3%.
In addition to cults of African origin, such as Ourisha, of Yoruba origin. These Afro-cults take on particular features there, incorporating not only Christian symbols, but also elements of Hindu and Muslim beliefs. More recently, movements like Rastafarianism have penetrated the islands. In Trinidad, there is a Bobo-Ashanti Congregation.
Port of Spain (Port of Spain) (52,451) (1992);
Main cities: Chaguanas (56,601) (1990);
San Fernando (30,115),
Arima (29,483) (1991);
Point Fortin (20,025) (1990).
Language: English (official), French, Spanish, Hindi, Chinese.
According to themotorcyclers, Trinidad and Tobago’s culture is characterized by varied expressions of popular identity that reflect the meeting of the peoples that form the island’s ethnic group. This syncretism appears mainly in religious manifestations, in popular celebrations and in the national rhythm, the sound of the calypso where the bands (the suits) of metal predominate. In this context, Carnival, which takes place before Lent, is the most important and expected party, when thousands of people wear costumes and occupy the streets democratically. In Tobago, July is the month of the Tobago Heritage Festival, an ample display of historical memory, folklore, uses and customs, including culinary specialties.
Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498, the islands were only occupied by the Spanish in the 17th century. The English conquered Trinidad in 1802.
Tobago is assigned to the United Kingdom in 1814 and with Trinidad formed a single colony in 1889. In 1956 the National People’s Movement (PNM) was founded, led by Eric Williams. The territory joined the Federation of the West Indies in 1958 and became an independent state associated with the British Commonwealth in 1962. Williams became Prime Minister. The arrest of black students in 1970 sparked violent protests, led by the Black Power movement. They only end when Williams decrees a state of emergency. As of 1973, oil exports increased and the government invested in the social sector. Williams dies in 1981 and the PNM, worn out by the drop in oil prices, loses the 1986 elections to the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), whose leader, Arthur Robinson, is named prime minister.
The indigenous name of Trinidad, used by the natives since the year 1000 AD, is “IERI” or, Land of the Hummingbird ”. However, officially, the bird-symbol of the nation is the Flamingo.