Trinidad Explored

Trinidad Explored

trinidad carnival

Official NameRepublic of Trinidad
NationalityCitizen of Trinidad, Trinidadian(s)
Official LanguageEnglish
Total Population1,300,000
LocationLatitude 10 1/2°N, Longitude 61 1/2° W
Physical AreaMeasures 37 miles (60 km) by 50 miles (80 km)
Total Area1864m2 (4828km2)
Highest PointAlong the Northern Coast Range 940m (3,085 feet)


Sister Island

Official NameRepublic of Tobago
NationalityCitizen of Tobago, Tobagonian(s)
Official LanguageEnglish
Total Population54,000
LocationLatitude 11°N, Longitude 60°W
Physical AreaMeasures 26 miles (42 km) by 7miles (10 km)
Total Area116m2 (300km2)
Highest PointCentral Spine of Hills 549m (1,860 feet)

Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$)
Time ZoneEST +1; GMT -4

T&T West Indies

Ethnic DivisionsThe people are comprised of about forty percent African, forty percent East Indian, and the remainder being of European, Chinese, or mixed descent.

ClimateThe average temperature is about 30°C (89°F).

Trinidadis separated from Venezuela by the straits of the Gulf of Paria which is seven (7) miles (11km)

Trinidadis separated from Tobago by the Caribbean Sea which is twenty-one (21) miles (33km).

TobagoTobago, when it’s known at all, is most definitely known for its beaches. From the populous, vendor-lined Store Bay, plus Pigeon Point and Sandy Point in the west near the airport, to the Windward Coast’s remote Speyside and Batteaux Bay, the island’s beaches have got variety (pink sand, giant turtles) and, thanks to hotels (mostly of small to medium size) facilities.

TobagoEveryone takes a boat from Buccoo to the Nylon Pool, so named after Princess Margaret, who, on her honeymoon, announced the color was so crazy-blue it looked like nylon (okay, so she wasn’t the world’s greatest romantic).

Scarborough, TobagoTobago’s capital, Scarborough, is hilly and walkable from end to end in an hour. There are busy docks and a daily market, stores, and bars, but you feel it’s all more for the residents than the visitors—though you’re certainly welcome to share. Climb at dusk up to Fort King George, built by the British, to take in the total dearth of neon and high-rises and breathe it all in. It may not last.

La Brea, TrinidadThe town of La Brea in southwestern Trinidad was the first town in the Caribbean to have electric street lights.

Trinidad Explored


When Trinidad was explored by Columbus in 1498, it was inhabited by the Arawaks; Carib Indians inhabited Tobago. Trinidad remained in Spanish possession, despite raids by other European nations, until it was ceded to Britain in 1802. Tobago passed between Britain and France several times, but it was ultimately given to Britain in 1814. Slavery was abolished in 1834. Between 1845 and 1917, thousands of indentured workers were brought from India to work on sugarcane plantations. In 1889 Trinidad and Tobago were made a single colony.

Partial self-government was instituted in 1925, and from 1958 to 1962 the nation was part of the West Indies Federation. On Aug. 31, 1962, it gained independence and on Aug. 1, 1976, Trinidad and Tobago became a republic, remaining within the Commonwealth. While the country is a stable democracy and enjoys the highest living standards in the Caribbean thanks to oil revenue, tension between East Indians and blacks has underlined much of political life. In 1970 the tension was the underlying cause of riots, protests, and an army mutiny for the end of foreign influence over the economy. These events prompted a state of emergency which lasted for two years.

Eric Williams, “Father of the Nation” and leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM), which is largely supported by blacks, governed from 1956 until his death in 1981. In Dec. 1986 the multiracial National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), based in Tobago, won a parliamentary majority, promising to sell most state-owned companies, reorganize the civil service, and reduce dependence on oil.

In 1990, to protest the NAR government, some 100 radical black Muslims blew up the police station in an attempted coup, in which the prime minister and other officials were held hostage for six days. The NAR was defeated in 1991, and the PNM returned to power. In 1995, the East Indian–based party, the United National Congress (UNC), led by Basdeo Panday, formed a coalition government with the NAR. In 2000, Panday narrowly won another term.

In Dec. 2001 elections, the governing UNC Party and the PNM Party gained 18 seats each. The two parties agreed to allow President Robinson to select the prime minister to end the impasse. But when Robinson chose Patrick Manning of the PNM because of his “moral and spiritual values,” the opposition angrily called for new elections. In the Oct. 2002 elections, Manning’s party declared victory. Maxwell Richards, a university dean, was selected president by parliament in 2003.

In April 2006, former prime minister Panday was sentenced to two years in prison for committing fraud in public office. Richards, running unopposed, was reelected in February 2008.

First Female Elected Prime Minister

Prime Minister Manning called early elections in 2010 to prevent a no-confidence vote against him, and the People’s Partnership coalition won 29 of 41 seats in the May vote. The ruling People’s National Movement took 12 seats, bringing to an end four decades in power. Kamla Persad-Bissessar became the country’s first female prime minister.

Trinidad Panorama


Every panwomans or panmans dream, is for their band to play at the Panorama Steelband Competition and win.

The Panorama Finals, held each year, always on the Saturday night prior to Carnival Monday, is the event that all ‘pan’ lovers never miss. This is the time that ‘pan’ people, stranded in foreign lands, have a sinking whole-body pang of homesickness. They can’t turn on a radio to hear, or a TV to see, what is broadcast only on the local stations. But thankfully, even this is changing albeit very slowly. The finals of the event are held in the evening at the Grand Stand, Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain in Trinidad.

The Panorama Steelband Competition, initiated in 1963; was not the first steelband competition to be organised, nor is it the only steelband competition held in these islands, but it became and is, the Premiere steelband event of the year. As Trinidad gained Independence on August 31st 1962, the Nations first Prime Minister, the inimitable Dr ‘Doc’ Eric Williams who was steadfastly and conspicuously fond of cultural events and their promotion, (He was also steadfastly and conspicuously fond of Broadway Extra cigarettes that finally keeled him over), was probably instrumental, together with his government, in sponsoring a National Steelband Competition to mobilise and inspire a musical resource of such obvious abundance and talent but was stuck to the carnival “road”, with no other purpose on which to focus. So as a matter of no little National prestige, Panorama came to fruition the following year for a newly Independent and celebrating nation. Panorama flourished and remains. Its impetus and success has no doubt had incalculable beneficial effects for the steelbands, their promotion and for the world-wide recognition of their art-form.


President: Anthony Carmona (2013)

Prime Minister: Kamla Persad-Bissessar (2010)

Total area: 1,981 sq mi (5,131 sq km)

Population (2014 est.): 1,223,916 (growth rate: –0.086%); birth rate: 13.8/1000; infant mortality rate: 24.82/1000; life expectancy: 72.29; density per sq mi: 659.2

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Port-of-Spain, 66,000

Monetary unit: Trinidad and Tobago dollar

Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Current government officials

Languages: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese

Ethnicity/race: East Indian 35.4%, African 34.2%, mixed – other 15.3%, mixed African/East Indian 7.7%, other 1.3%, unspecified 6.2% (2011 est.)

Religions: Protestant 32.1% (Pentecostal/Evangelical/Full Gospel 12%, Baptist 6.9%, Anglican 5.7%, Seventh-Day Adventist 4.1%, Presbyterian/Congretational 2.5, other Protestant .9), Roman Catholic 21.6%, Hindu 18.2%, Muslim 5%, Jehovah’s Witness 1.5%, other 8.4%, none 2.2%, unspecified 11.1% (2011 est.)

Literacy rate: 98.8% (2011 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $27.14 billion; per capita $20,300.

Real growth rate:1.6%.

Inflation: 5.4%.

Unemployment: 5.9%.

Arable land: 4.87%.

Agriculture: cocoa, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry; sugar.

Labor force:621,000 (2013 est.); construction and utilities 20.4%, manufacturing, mining, and quarrying 12.8%, agriculture 3.8%, services 62.9% (2007 est.).

Industries: petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles.

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, asphalt.

Exports: $12.86 billion (2013 est.): petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers.

Imports: $9.638 billion (2013 est.): mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals.

Major trading partners:U.S., Brazil, Gabon, China, Canada, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Colombia (2012).

Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 287,000 (2012); mobile cellular: 1.884 million (2012).

Radio broadcast stations: 5 TV networks, one of which is state-owned, broadcast on multiple stations; multiple cable TV subscription service providers; multiple radio networks, one state-owned, broadcast over about 35 stations (2007).

Radios: 680,000 (1997).

Television broadcast stations: 4 (1997).

Televisions: 425,000 (1997).

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 241,690 (2012).

Internet users: 593,000 (2009).

Transportation: Railways: minimal agricultural railroad system near San Fernando; railway service was discontinued in 1968 (2001).

Highways: total: 8,320 km; paved: 4,252 km; unpaved: 4,068 km (2001).

Ports and harbors: Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port-of-Spain, Scarborough.

Airports: 4 (2013).

International disputes: Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago’s exclusive economic zone; in 2005, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to compulsory international arbitration under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea challenging whether the northern limit of Trinidad and Tobago’s and Venezuela’s maritime boundary extends into Barbadian waters; Guyana has also expressed its intention to include itself in the arbitration as the Trinidad and Tobago-Venezuela maritime boundary may extend into its waters as well.


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