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Trinidad was sighted in 1498 by Columbus and christened as La Isla de la Trinidad. It is the southernmost of the islands in the Caribbean archipelago and lies 7 miles (11 km) from the South American mainland. The land area is 1883 sq miles (4828 sq km) and because of its proximity to the South American continent, it has a luxuriant rainforest and a wide variety of plant and animal life. There are more than 400 species of birds, 600 species of butterflies, 50 kinds of reptiles and 100 types of mammals including red howler monkeys, anteaters, agouti and armadillos. The average daily high temperature is 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) with lows of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius). There are two seasons, the dry season and the wet season, June to August being the wettest months. Trinidad is outside the hurricane belt.
The original inhabitants of the island were Amerindian tribes from the South American mainland. War, enslavement and diseases brought to the island by outsiders eventually wiped out the Amerindian population almost completely. The Spanish established their first settlement in 1592, and over the next two centuries unsuccessful attempts were made by the Spanish colonists to establish tobacco and cocoa plantations. Crop failures and lack of support left the island only lightly settled. Apart from the Spanish small groups of Dutch and British established small colonies, which were short lived.
In 1783 Spain issued the historic Cedula of Population which was designed to attract immigrants by offering free grants of land to citizens of any country friendly to Spain provided they were Roman Catholic. Most of the new settlers were French; many plantations were started with labour being provided by African slaves. The British took over in 1797 and slavery was abolished in the 1830's which prompted the British to import thousands of indentured workers mostly from India. Indentured labour remained in place for over 100 years. Trinidad gained it's independence from the British in 1962. An oil boom in the 1970's brought prosperity to the island.
Due to the rich history of the island the culture of the country is diverse and heavily influenced by the multiethnic population. The people, their lifestyles, the food and the music makes for one of the most unique and vibrant cultures in the Caribbean. Trinidad is well known for its Carnival which is the most outrageous in the Caribbean, steelpan music and food. It is also one of the richest destinations for eco-tourism in the Caribbean. The most popular sport on the island is cricket and you can be forgiven for thinking it was an art form or quasi religion here.
visiting yachtsmen, Chaguaramas Bay is the place to dock. Most of the
yachting facilities are here. Originally a major base for the Americans
during the Second World War, yachting has taken a firm hold of the area.
The Chaguaramas anchorage is generally well protected and is the port
of entry for visiting yachts. The yachting facilities are excellent;
the many marinas offer haul-outs, dockage, riggers, chandleries, sail
makers, technical yacht services including carpentry and refrigeration.
this map to see larger area
Climate: tropical - rainy season June - December
Natural hazards: outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms
Population: 1,047,366 (July 2008 est.)
Ethnic groups: black 37.5%, east Indian (local term, immigrants from northern India) 40%, mixed 20.5%, other 2%
Religions: Roman Catholic 26%, Hindu 22.5%, Anglican 7.8%, Muslim 5.8%, Presbyterian 3.4%, other 26.7%
Languages: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese
Government type: Parliamentary democracy
Capital: Port of Spain
Legal System: Based on English common law, judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Flag description: red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side.
Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD) Click here to calculate a conversion.
Internet country code: .tt
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