Trinidad & Tobago is a twin island country situated off the northern edge of the South American mainland, lying just 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and 130 kilometres (81 miles) south of Grenada. The twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago is inhabited by a diverse population. The multicultural framework of the islanders reflects the ancestry of Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, Indians and others. Trinidad is known for its annual Carnival celebrations, Steelpan music and diversity in religion and food.
Trinidad and Tobago is separated by 20 miles of water. The islands are boarded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea- located in the far-southeastern Caribbean Sea, just a few miles off the coast of South America.
HISTORIC FACTS ABOUT TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
When Christopher Columbus came to Trinidad he thought he had found India. The island was already inhabited by indigenous tribes known as the Arawaks and Caribs. He called them Indians because of their physical similarities. Due to this misunderstanding, the Arawaks and Caribs were later referred to as the Amerindians to differentiate them from the Indians who came to Trinidad on May 30th 1845.
In 1498, Christopher Columbus claimed Trinidad as a Spanish colony. The tribes fought for almost 100 years before the Spaniards could permanently settle on the island- there began Trinidad’s era of colonialism. During this era, the king of Spain was obsessed with gold and so the main interest was not to develop the island but to excavate the land for gold. The Spaniards eventually gave up on the idea and began utilizing the land to plant crops.
It has not been verified when the first enslaved Africans came to Trinidad, but there were enslaved Africans during the period of Spanish colonisation. Trinidad remained under Spanish rule until 1797. During that period, the island was largely settled with French colonist. Trinidad became rich from the production and trade of sugar, cotton, cocoa and coffee. Because of the amount of plantations and mills, the French began utilizing slave traders to sustain the trade industry.
Most Afro Trinidadians can trace their lineage back to slavery days who were brought to the islands to work on the plantations. The mixture of races living in Trinidad changed from one colonial regime to another.
The Spanish rule of Trinidad lasted for over 250 years which later gave way to British rule in 1797. The British were the first to make attempts to occupy Tobago. After a long rivalry with the indigenous tribes, French, Dutch and Courlanders, Tobago eventually ended up in British hands following the second Treaty of Paris in 1814. In 1833, attempts were made to circumvent the abolition of slavery in Trinidad and Tobago. The Act of Emancipation was passed by the British Parliament in 1833 and it became law on August 1st, 1834 – Emancipation Day.
In 1889 the two islands were incorporated into a single crown colony and Tobago was made a ward of Trinidad in 1898. Trinidad and Tobago, gained its independence from the British rule on 31st August 1962. On August 1st, 1976 the twin island became the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago- celebrated on September 24th to commemorate the first Parliament assembly as a Republican Constitution.
English is the official language of Trinidad and Tobago, while Spanish, Hindi, Creole, French, Chinese and Arabic are the recognized regional languages.
After the constitution, the parliament is made up of the ruling party which was successful in claiming the most seats in the General Elections and the Opposition. The head of state is the President, Anthony Carmona and the head of the government is Prime Minister, the Honorable Dr Keith Rowley.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago recognize multiple religions. Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are the three main religions by which religious groups are formed.
• New Year’s Day
• Good Friday
• Easter Monday
• Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day
• Corpus Christi
• Indian Arrival Day
• Labour Day
• Emancipation Day
• Independence Day
• Republic Day
• Boxing Day
Every year thousands of locals take to the streets of the cities to participate in the annual Carnival celebrations which take place for two days (Monday and Tuesday) before Ash Wednesday.