Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago, officially Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, independent republic in the West Indies, consisting of 2 separate islands in the Caribbean Sea north of Venezuela. The island of Trinidad is 1,864 sq mi (4,828 sq km) and Tobago is 116 sq mi (300 sq km). The capital is Port of Spain, on Trinidad.
Land and people
Trinidad is very fertile and mainly flat, rising to c.3,000 ft (914 m) above sea level in the north. Tobago is densely forested and is dominated by a mountain ridge some 1,800 ft (549 m) high. The climate of both islands is tropical. The majority of the people are of black African descent, but more than one-third are East Indian. The principal languages are English and a French patois.
The country is one of the more prosperous in the Caribbean, producing and exporting sugarcane, cocoa, and bananas, as well as chemicals and petroleum products. Tourism is a growing industry.
Trinidad was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498 and settled by the Spanish, but British rule was established in 1802. Tobago, once held by the Dutch and French, went to the British in 1803. Combined politically in 1888, Trinidad and Tobago joined the West Indies Federation in 1958 but left in 1962. Eric Williams was premier from independence in 1962 until his death in 1981. During this term, Trinidad and Tobago became a republic (1976). In 1990, a coup attempt against the government of Prime minister Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson was diffused when the government promised new elections and amnesty for the rebels. However, rebel leader Iman Yasin Abu Bakr and many of his followers were imprisoned upon their surrender. Economic troubles have recently plagued the country, and severe rioting has taken place in the capital, Port-of-Spain. In 1997 Robinson was elected president.