Trinidad and Tobago

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Posted by sonny 04/27/2009 @ 00:11

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News headlines
Report: Trinidad & Tobago's Crime Rate Tops Jamaica's - Travel Agent
But a recent report by Barbados newspaper, The Nation, is reporting that Trinidad & Tobago's crime rate has topped Jamaica's. First-quarter crime figures have shown an increase in murders and robberies as compared with the same period last year,...
The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Signs eTRACE ... - PR Newswire (press release)
The MOU establishes conditions of the partnership between ATF and law enforcement authorities in Trinidad and Tobago regarding policy and procedures for the access and use of eTrace services made available to law enforcement agencies....
Caribbean banks remain financially sound, says Trinidad bankers ... - Caribbean Net News
The Trinidad Guardian reported that Kumar, whose comments appeared in the April 2009 issue of CMMB Investment Quarterly, said that the March report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Trinidad and Tobago stated that domestic banking sector is...
IDB backs Trinidad and Tobago's Seamless Education System - Caribbean PressReleases.com (press release)
By SC Admin May 20, 2009 --The Inter-American Development Bank today approved a $48.75 million loan to Trinidad and Tobago to support the first phase of a program to improve the quality and equity of education, with a focus on early childhood....
ICC Americas Women's Tournament: USA Women remain competitive ... - Dreamcricket
Canada has been practicing in Trinidad and Tobago over the past month, as the players loosened up from the harsh Canadian winter blahs. In other matches played so far, Trinidad and Tobago also beat Brazil in a late Monday afternoon game,...
Discussions on the Constitution - Trinidad & Tobago Express
I urge all to read, study and make your views known on this matter that is fundamental to the future of Trinidad and Tobago." I have repeatedly urged that The Working Document be reproduced in the daily newspapers (as the Sir Ellis Clarke draft...
Cops spread love in concert - Trinidad & Tobago Express
The director of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Services Band, Enrique Moore, believes a lack of love is the cause of the crime situation in the country. He shared his sentiments during the annual police cultural show at the Police Training Academy in...
The Council and the Cross - Trinidad & Tobago Express
That name (ask some of our 'historians') is 'Trinidad', and Trinidad is a country of which Tobago-like, say, Brasso Piedra or Rampanalgas-is a part, and consequently without a separate identity in what we love to call, erroneously, our 'twin-island...
Progress Made in Jamaica Trinidad and Belize Trade Concerns - Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service
Minister Baugh said that the issues involving trade in beer and spirits with Belize and in animal products with Trinidad and Tobago, had been the subject of extensive bilateral and regional consultations at the meeting. "We agreed on both a regional...
RBL credit card interest rate down - Trinidad & Tobago Express
Commercial banks have also reduced their prime lending rates in the past few weeks, down to about 12.5 per cent from a high of about 13 per cent at the start of the year. There are more than 350000 credit card customers in Trinidad and Tobago and up to...

Trinidad and Tobago

Flag of Trinidad and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (pronounced /ˈtrɪnɨdæd ən təˈbeɪɡoʊ/) is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying northeast of the South American country of Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. It shares maritime boundaries with other nations including: Barbados to the northeast, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west. The country covers an area of 5,128 square kilometres (1,980 sq mi) and consists of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous smaller landforms. Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the main islands; Tobago is much smaller, comprising about 6% of the total area and 4% of the population. The nation lies outside the hurricane belt.

Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago's economy is primarily industrial-based, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. It is the wealthiest independent Caribbean country, boasting a high standard of living and high literacy rates. Although Tobago is often referred to as "the jewel of the Caribbean" and contains a number of resort areas, Trinidad and Tobago as a whole does not rely heavily on tourism as a source of revenue.

Trinidad and Tobago is famous for its pre-Lenten festival known as Carnival and as the birthplace of steelpan, calypso, soca, and limbo.

Christopher Columbus named Trinidad after the Holy Trinity. Historian E.L. Joseph claimed that Trinidad’s Amerindian name was Iere derived from the Amerindian name for hummingbird ierèttê or yerettê. However, Boomert claims that Cairi or Caeri does not mean hummingbird and tukusi or tucuchi does. Others have reported that Kairi or Iere simply meant island. There is also another theory that it was named after the Three(tri) Fathers(dad): a group of hills not far from port of spain.

Tobago’s cigar-like shape may have given it its Spanish name (cabaco, tavaco, tobacco) and possibly its Amerindian names of Aloubaéra (black conch) and Urupaina (big snail) (Boomert, 2000), although the English pronunciation is /təˈbeɪɡoʊ/, rhyming with plumbago and sago.

Both Trinidad and Tobago were originally settled by Amerindians of South American origin. Trinidad was first settled by pre-agricultural Archaic people at least 7,000 years ago, making it the earliest-settled part of the Caribbean. Ceramic-using agriculturalists settled Trinidad around 250 BC and then moved further up the Lesser Antillean chain. At the time of European contact Trinidad was occupied by various Arawakan-speaking groups including the Nepoya and Suppoya, and Cariban-speaking groups such as the Yao, while Tobago was occupied by the Island Caribs and Galibi.

Christopher Columbus encountered the island of Trinidad on July 31, 1498. Columbus reported seeing Tobago, which he named Bella Forma, but did not land on the island. Antonio de Sedeño first settled Trinidad in the 1530s as a means of controlling the Orinoco and subduing the Warao (Whitehead, 1997). Cacique Wannawanare (Guanaguanare) granted the St Joseph area to Domingo de Vera e Ibargüen in 1592 and then withdrew to another part of the island (Boomert, 2000). San José de Oruña (St Joseph) was established by Antonio de Berrío on this land. Walter Raleigh arrived in Trinidad on March 22 1595 and soon attacked San José and captured and interrogated de Berrío obtaining much information from him and from the cacique Topiawari (Whitehead, 1997). In the 1700s, Trinidad belonged as an island province to the vice royalty of New Spain along with modern Mexico and Central America (Besson, 2000). However Trinidad in this period was still mostly forest, populated by a few Spaniards with their handful of slaves and a few thousand Amerindians (Besson, 2000). Spanish colonisation in Trinidad remained tenuous. Because Trinidad was considered underpopulated, Roume de St. Laurent, a Frenchman living in Grenada, was able to obtain a Cédula de Población from the Spanish King Charles III on the 4th November, 1783. This Cédula de Población was more generous than the first of 1776 and granted free lands to Roman Catholic foreign settlers and their slaves in Trinidad willing to swear allegiance to the Spanish king. The land grant was thirty two acres for each man, woman and child and half of that for each slave brought. As a result, Scots, Irish, German, Italian and English families arrived. The Protestants among them profited from Governor Don José Maria Chacon's generous interpretation of the law. The French Revolution (1789) also had an impact on Trinidad's culture since it resulted in the emigration of Martiniquan planters and their slaves to Trinidad who established an agriculture-based economy (sugar and cocoa) for the island.

The population of Puerto de España (Port of Spain) increased from under 3,000 to 10,422 in five years and the inhabitants in 1797 consisted of mixed-races, Spaniards, Africans, French republican soldiers, retired pirates and French nobility (Besson, 2000). The total population of Trinidad in 1797 was 17,718; 2,151 of which were "white", 4,476 were "free blacks and people of colour", 10,009 were slaves and 1,082 Amerindians.

In 1797, General Sir Ralph Abercromby and his squadron sailed through the Bocas and anchored off the coast of Chaguaramas. The Spanish Governor Chacon decided to capitulate without fighting. Trinidad became a British crown colony, with a French-speaking population and Spanish laws (Besson, 2000). The conquest and formal ceding of Trinidad in 1802 led to an influx of settlers from England or the British colonies of the Eastern Caribbean. After the abolition of slavery and the collapse of the French planters' cane economy, the 'French Creole' planters and the peasant population of mixed Spanish-Amerindians turned to cocoa cultivation. Although originally a sugar colony, cacao (cocoa) dominated the economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. After the collapse of the cacao crop (due to disease and the Great Depression) petroleum increasingly came to dominate the economy. The Depression and the rise of the oil economy led to changes in the social structure. By the 1950s cocoa had become a staple in Trinidad's export market and was responsible for a growing middle-class.

The Dutch and the Courlanders had established themselves in Tobago in the 16th and 17th centuries and produced tobacco and cotton. Tobago changed hands between British, French, Dutch and Courlanders from modern-day Latvia. Britain consolidated its hold on both islands during the Napoleonic Wars, and they were combined into the colony of Trinidad and Tobago in 1889. As a result of these colonial struggles, Amerindian, Spanish, French and English place names are all common in the country. African slaves and Chinese, Indian, and free African indentured labourers, as well as Portuguese from Madeira, arrived to supply labour in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Emigration from Barbados and the other Lesser Antilles, Venezuela, Syria, and Lebanon also impacted on the ethnic make-up of the country.

Trinidad and Tobago became an independent nation (from the United Kingdom) in 1962. The presence of American military bases in Chaguaramas and Cumuto in Trinidad during World War II profoundly changed the character of society. In the post-war period, the wave of decolonisation that swept the British Empire led to the formation of the West Indies Federation in 1958 as a vehicle for independence. Chaguaramas was the proposed site for the federal capital. The Federation dissolved after the withdrawal of Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago elected for independence in 1962.

In 1976, the country severed its links with the British monarchy and became a republic within the Commonwealth, though it retained the British Privy Council as its final Court of Appeal. Between the years 1972 and 1983, the Republic profited greatly from the rising price of oil, as the oil-rich country increased its living standards greatly. In 1990, 114 members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, led by Yasin Abu Bakr, formerly known as Lennox Phillip, stormed the Red House (the seat of Parliament), and Trinidad and Tobago Television, the only television station in the country at the time, and held the country's government hostage for six days before surrendering.

Since 2003, the country has entered a second oil boom, a driving force which the government hopes to use to turn the country's main export back to sugar and agriculture. Great concern was raised in August 2007 when it was predicted that this boom would last only until 2018. Petroleum, petrochemicals and natural gas continue to be the backbone of the economy. Tourism is the mainstay of the economy of Tobago, and the island remains a favourite destination for many European tourists. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most prosperous and stable democratic nations in the Caribbean.

The flag was chosen by the Independence committee in 1962. Red, black and white symbolize fire (the sun, representing courage), earth (representing dedication) and water (representing purity and equality) . Some claim that the direction of the black and white diagonal stripe is the same direction of the undersea border shared between Trinidad and Tobago.

The coat of arms was designed by the Independence committee, and features the the Scarlet Ibis (native to Trinidad), the Cocrico (native to Tobago) and the Hummingbird. The shield bears three ships, representing both the Trinity, and the three ships that Columbus sailed.

Trinidad and Tobago is a republic with a two-party system and a bicameral parliamentary system based on the Westminster System. The Head of State of Trinidad and Tobago is the President, currently George Maxwell Richards. The Head of Government is the Prime Minister Patrick Manning. The President is elected by an Electoral College consisting of the full membership of both houses of Parliament. The Prime Minister is elected from the results of a general election which takes place every five years. The President is required to appoint the leader of the party who in his opinion has the most support of the members of the House of Representatives to this post; this has generally been the leader of the party which won the most seats in the previous election (except in the case of the 2001 General Elections). Tobago also has its own elections, separate from the general elections. In these elections, members are elected and serve in the Tobago House of Assembly.

The Parliament consists of two chambers, the Senate (31 seats) and the House of Representatives (41 seats). The members of the Senate are appointed by the president. Sixteen Government Senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, six Opposition Senators are appointed on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition and nine Independent Senators are appointed by the President to represent other sectors of civil society. The 41 members of the House of Representatives are elected by the people for a maximum term of five years in a "first past the post" system.

Since December 24, 2001, the governing party has been the People's National Movement led by Patrick Manning; the Opposition party is the United National Congress led by Basdeo Panday. Another recent party is the Congress of the People, or COP, led by Winston Dookeran . Support for these parties appears to fall along ethnic lines with the PNM consistently obtaining a majority Afro-Trinbagonian vote, and the UNC gaining a majority of Indo-Trinbagonian support. COP gained 23% of the vote but failed to win a single seat. At present the PNM holds 26 seats in the House of Representatives and the UNC Alliance (UNC-A) holds 15 seats, following elections held on the 5th November 2007.

There are 14 municipal corporations (two cities, three boroughs, and nine Regions) which have a limited level of autonomy. The various councils are made up of a mixture of elected and appointed members. Elections are due to be held every 3 years, but have not been held since 2002, 2 extensions having been sought by the government. Local Government elections are next due in July 2009.

Trinidad and Tobago is a leading member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), of which only the Caribbean Single Market (CSM) is in force. It is also the seat of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which was inaugurated on 16 April 2005. The CCJ is intended to replace the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final Appellate Court for the member states of the CARICOM. Since its inauguration, only two states, Barbados and Guyana, have acceded to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ. The CCJ also serves as an original jurisdiction in the interpretation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, to which all members of CARICOM have acceded. However, to date, only one matter has been filed under the original jurisdiction.

The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) is the military organisation responsible for the defence of the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It consists of the Regiment, the Coast Guard, the Air Guard and the Defence Force Reserves. Established in 1962 after Trinidad and Tobago's independence from Britain, the TTDF is one of the largest Military forces in the English speaking Caribbean. Its mission statement is to "defend the sovereign good of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, contribute to the development of the national community and support the State in the fulfillment of its national and international objectives". The Defence Force has been engaged in Domestic incidents, such as the 1990 Coup Attempt, and International missions, such as the United Nations Mission in Haiti between 1993 and 1996.

Trinidad and Tobago are southeasterly islands of the Antilles, situated between 10° 2' and 11° 12' N latitude and 60° 30' and 61° 56' W longitude. At the closest point, Trinidad is just 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) off the Venezuelan coast. Covering an area of 5,128 km2 (1,980 sq mi), the country consists of the two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous smaller landforms – including Chacachacare, Monos, Huevos, Gaspar Grande (or Gasparee), Little Tobago, and St. Giles Island. Trinidad is 4,768 km2 (1,841 sq mi) in area (comprising 93.0% of the country's total area) with an average length of 80 km (50 mi) and an average width of 59 kilometres (37 mi). Tobago has an area of about 300 km2 (120 sq mi), or 5.8% of the country's area, is 41 km (25 mi) long and 12 km (7.5 mi) at its greatest width. Trinidad and Tobago lie on the continental shelf of South America, and is thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America. However the Caribbean islands are generally considered to part of North America, and as the language and cultural links of Trinidad and Tobago are not to South America but to the rest of the English speaking Caribbean nations, the nation is often treated as part of North America.

The terrain of the islands is a mixture of mountains and plains. The highest point in the country is found on the Northern Range at El Cerro del Aripo which is 940 m (3,100 ft) above sea level. The climate is tropical. There are two seasons annually: the dry season for the first six months of the year, and the wet season in the second half of the year. Winds are predominantly from the northeast and are dominated by the northeast trade winds. Unlike most of the other Caribbean islands, both Trinidad and Tobago have frequently escaped the wrath of major devastating hurricanes including Hurricane Ivan, the most powerful storm to pass close to the islands in recent history in September 2004.

As the majority of the population live in Trinidad, this is the location of most major towns and cities. There are three major municipalities in Trinidad: Port of Spain, the capital, San Fernando, and Chaguanas. Of these, Chaguanas is the fastest growing. The main town in Tobago is Scarborough.

Trinidad is made up of a variety of soil types, the majority being fine sands and heavy clays. The alluvial valleys of the Northern Range and the soils of the East-West Corridor are the most fertile.

The Northern Range consists mainly of Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous metamorphic rocks. The Northern Lowlands (East-West Corridor and Caroni Plains) consist of younger shallow marine clastic sediments. South of this, the Central Range fold and thrust belt consisits of Cretaceous and Eocene sedimentary rocks, with Miocene formations along the southern and eastern flanks. The Naparima Plains and the Nariva Swamp form the southern shoulder of this uplift. The Southern Lowlands consist of Miocene and Pliocene sands, clays, and gravels. These overlie oil and natural gas deposits, especially north of the Los Bajos Fault. The Southern Range forms the third anticlinal uplift. It consists of several chains of hills, most famous being the Trinity Hills. The rocks consist of sandstones, shales and siltstones and clays formed in the Miocene and uplifted in the Pleistocene. Oil sands and mud volcanoes are especially common in this area.

Although it is located just off-shore from South America, Trinidad and Tobago is generally included as part of the West Indies by virtue of its geographical and historical heritage in the Caribbean.

Trinidad's economy is strongly influenced by the petroleum industry. Tourism and manufacturing are also important to the local economy. Tourism is a growing sector, although not proportionately as important as in many other Caribbean islands. Agricultural products include citrus, cocoa, and other products. Sugar cane was once a prominent crop of Trinidad but commercial production has ceased since 2007.

Trinidad and Tobago has transitioned from an oil-based economy to a natural gas based economy. In 2007, natural gas production averaged 4 billion standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d), compared with 3.2 bcf/d in 2005. In December 2005, the Atlantic LNG fourth production module or "train" for liquefied natural gas (LNG) began production. Train 4 has increased Atlantic LNG's overall output capacity by almost 50% and is the largest LNG train in the world at 5.2 million tons/year of LNG.

Trinidad and Tobago's infrastructure is good by regional standards. The international airport in Trinidad was expanded in 2001. There is an extensive network of paved roads with several good four and six lane highways including one controlled access expressway. Emergency services are reliable, but may suffer delays in rural districts. Medical Care at public hospitals is modern, with high investment in equipment, but suffers from emigration of personnel. Private hospitals are available and reliable. Utilities are fairly reliable in the cities. Some areas, however, especially rural districts, still suffer from water shortages. The government is addressing this problem with the construction of additional desalinization plants. Infrastructure improvement, especially rural roads and telephone service, drainage and sewerage, are among the government's budget priorities.

Telephone service is relatively modern and reliable. Cellular service is widespread and has been the major area of growth for several years. Digicel and Laqtel were granted cellular licenses in 2005, breaking TSTT's monopoly. The Internet has come into widespread use, although service can be slow at peak times.

Trinidad and Tobago has a transportation system that is comprised of many components, including main roads, highways, freeways, Ferries and water taxis, as well as public and private transportation. Located in Trinidad is the Piarco International Airport, the country's major airport. A smaller number of international flights from fly to Tobago's Crown Point Airport. Public Transportation options on land are public buses, private taxis and minibuses. By sea, the options are Inter island ferries and inter-city Water Taxis .

The older south terminal underwent renovations in 2009 for use as a VIP entrance point during the 5th Summit of the Americas.

Of the country's 1.3 million inhabitants (as of 2005), most (96%) reside on the island of Trinidad with most of the remainder (4%) in Tobago. The ethnic composition of Trinidad and Tobago reflects a history of conquest and immigration. Two major ethnic groups - Afro-Trinidadians and Indo-Trinidadians - account for almost 80% of the population, while people of Mixed-race, Euro-Trinidadian/European, Chinese Trinidadian/Chinese and Arab-Trinidadian/Syrian-Lebanese descent make up most of the rest of the population.

Afro-Trinidadians make up the country's second largest ethnic group. The majority are descendants of the Colonial slave laborers who were brought in the last few years of Trinidad's Spanish Colonial era, and the beginning of the English colonial period. The experience of slavery in Trinidad was limited in that the island was very sparsely populated. The Cedula of Population transformed a small colony of 1000 in 1773 to 18,627 by 1797. Even in the census of 1777 there were only 2,763 people recorded as living on the island, including some 2,000 Arawaks. During this time, Trinidad was also relatively unique in that there were many slave owners of African ethnic origin (Ref: History of Trinidad and Tobago). In 1807, the UK Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act 1807 that abolished the trading of slaves, and the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 abolished the practice of slavery.

Indo-Trinidadians make up the country's largest ethnic group. They are primarily descendants from indentured workers from India, brought to replace freed African slaves who refused to continue working on the sugar plantations. The Indian community is divided roughly half-and-half between those who maintained their original, native Hindu or Muslim religions and those who have taken to Christianity or have no religious affiliation. Through Cultural Preservation groups, Indians have maintained some of their customs and original heritage rites.

The White population is primarily descended from early settlers and immigrants. About half are of British origin, and the remainder are of French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German heritage. The recent census counted 11,000 British, 4,100 Spanish, 4,000 French, 2,700 Portuguese and 2,700 Germans, and 600 Jews. These numbers do not account for the significant numbers of people who have at least some white ancestry but identify as Black or Indian. The Spanish may be descended from settlers from Spain, or from mixed raced immigrants from Venezuela commonly referred to as Cocoa Panyols. The French arrived mostly during the Spanish period to take advantage of free agricultural lands. The Portuguese were brought to replace freed black slaves when they refused to accept low wages. Most whites have not maintained their native language. Trinidadian Whites are commonly referred to as French Creoles regardless of their actual heritage. Almost all whites live on Trinidad in the areas in and around Port of Spain. In Tobago, most whites are retirees from Germany and Scandinavia. Whites once made up a larger proportion of the country's population, but many fled following threats made during the 1970 Black Power Revolution or during the economic crises of the late 1980s. Although modern Whites in Trinidad and Tobago have no real political representation, many are very successful in commerce and the professions, while others are part of the middle class.

There are groups of Chinese who, like the Portuguese and Indians, are descended from indentured laborers. They account for about 20,000 people and live mostly in Port-of-Spain and San Fernando. There are also about 2,500 Arabs (Syrians/Lebanese) and live mostly in Port-of-Spain, in many affluent areas due to their success and fortunes. The Lebanese community in Trinidad is largely influenced by the French where many migrated from in the late 19th century. Finally there are the mixed raced Caribs who are descended from the native, precolonial people of the islands. They are organized around the Santa Rosa Carib Community and live mostly in and around Arima.

Given the large number of ethnic identities in Trinidad and Tobago many citizens have a mixed ethnic heritage. Such racial mixtures can include caucasian and African, Indian and African (dougla) and Indian and caucasian. Mixed race can include ethnic mixes of any number of Trinidad and Tobago's many ethnic groups.

Emigration from Trinidad and Tobago, as with other Caribbean nations, has historically been high; most emigrants go to the United States, Canada and Britain. Emigration has continued, albeit at a lower rate, even as the birth-rate sharply dropped to levels typical of industrialised countries. Largely because of this phenomenon, as of 2007, Trinidad and Tobago has been experiencing a low population growth rate (0.37%).

Many different religions are present in Trinidad and Tobago. The largest two are Roman Catholics (26%) and Hindus (22%). The Anglicans (8%), Muslims (5%), Seventh-day Adventists (4%), Presbyterians, Jehovah's Witnesses and Methodists are among the other faith groups represented. Two African syncretic faiths, the Shouter or Spiritual Baptists and the Orisha faith (formerly called Shangos, a less than complimentary term) are among the fastest growing religious groups, as are a host of evangelical and fundamentalist churches usually lumped as "Pentecostal" by most Trinidadians (although this designation is often inaccurate). A noteworthy Judaic community does exist, as well as several other Eastern religions such as Taoism.

English is the country's only official language, but the main spoken language is a dialect or a creole which reflects the African and European heritage of the nation and is spoken by all Trinidadians regardless of ethnicity.

The major spoken language in Tobago is also English. Both languages contain elements from a number and variety of African languages; Trinidadian English, however, is also largely influenced by French, French Creole, Spanish (still spoken in the south as well as other parts of the island), and by Bhojpuri/Hindi. The creole languages and other vernaculars are normally spoken in informal situations, and there is no formalized system of writing. Patois (a variety of French Creole) was once the most widely spoken language in Trinidad, and there are various remnants of the language in everyday vernacular. Due to Trinidad's location on the coast of South America, the country has been slowly redeveloping a connection with the Spanish-speaking peoples but has been impeded by the fact that in 2004, only 1,500 inhabitants spoke Spanish. In 2004 the government initiated the Spanish as a First Foreign Language (SAFFL) initiative, with a public launch in March 2005. Government regulations now require Spanish to be taught to everyone beginning at the primary school level, while thirty percent of public employees are to be linguistically competent within five years. The government also announced that Spanish is to become the second official language of the country by 2020 alongside English. Venezuelans often come to Trinidad and Tobago to learn English, and many English schools have expanded to feature both English and Spanish. Cantonese is also spoken by Chinese immigrants.

Because of the country's colonial heritage, the names of towns in Trinidad are in roughly equal proportions of English (Chatham, Brighton, Green Hill, St. Mary's, Princes Town, Freeport, New Grant), French (Blanchisseuse, Sans Souci, Pointe-à-Pierre, Basse Terre, Matelot, Petit Bourg), Spanish (Puerto España, San Fernando, Sangre Grande, Rio Claro, San Juan, Las Cuevas, Maracas, Manzanilla, Los Bajos) East Indian (Fyzabad, Barrackpore, Indian Walk, Madras Settlement, Penal, Debe) and Amerindian languages (Chaguanas, Tunapuna, Guayaguayare, Carapichaima, Mucurapo, Chaguaramas, Arima, Arouca, Guaico, Oropouche, Aripo). In Tobago, English names predominate. However, there are several names which suggest its colonial past: Belle Garden, Bon Accord, Charlotteville, Les Coteaux, Parlatuvier (French), Auchenskeoch, Blenheim (Dutch).

Inheriting British colonial laws, Trinidad and Tobago is behind progress seen in most western countries regarding the use of judicial killings and torture, and the basic equal protections of homosexuals. The Cat o' nine tails is still used to flog prisoners. On 11 March, 2005, the Government of Trinidad & Tobago was ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to pay US$ 50,000 for "moral damages" to a prisoner who had received 15 strokes of the "Cat" plus expenses for his medical and psychological care (). {{Caesar vs. Trinidad and Tobago - Series C No. 123 IACHR 4 (11 March 2005) }} It is unclear whether the Court's decisions were met; however, the "Cat" has not been used for several years, and the use of the birch has also fallen into disuse. Prisoners sentenced to death for capital crimes used to be hanged, but recent attempts to execute persons sentenced to death have been blocked by the Privy Council, with sentences being commuted to life imprisonment.

It is also the birthplace of calypso music and the steelpan, which is widely claimed in Trinidad and Tobago to be the only acoustic musical instrument invented during the 20th century. The diverse cultural and religious background allows for many festivities and ceremonies throughout the year. Other indigenous art forms include soca (a derivate of calypso), Parang (Venezuelan-influenced Christmas music), Chutney, Rapso music, which was made famous by Cheryl Byron and Pichakaree (musical forms which blend the music of the Caribbean and India) and the famous Limbo dance.

The artistic scene is vibrant. Trinidad and Tobago claims two Nobel Prize-winning authors, V.S. Naipaul and St Lucian-born Derek Walcott. Edmundo Ros, the 'King of Latin American Music', was born in Port of Spain. Mas' designer Peter Minshall is renowned not only for his Carnival costumes, but also for his role in opening ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics, the 1994 Football World Cup, the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2002 Winter Olympics, for which he won an Emmy Award.

Hasely Crawford won the first Olympic gold medal for Trinidad and Tobago in the men's 100 m dash in the 1976 Summer Olympics. Nine different athletes from Trinidad and Tobago have won twelve medals at the Olympics, beginning with a silver medal in weightlifting, won by Rodney Wilkes in 1948 , and most recently, a silver medal by Richard Thompson in the Men's 100m in 2008. Ato Boldon has won the most Olympic and World Championship medals for Trinidad and Tobago in athletics with eight in total - four from the Olympics and four from the World Championships. Boldon is also the only world champion Trinidad and Tobago has ever had in athletics competition. He won the 1997 200 m sprint World Championship in Athens, Greece.

Cricket is one of the most popular sports of Trinidad and Tobago, with intense inter-island rivalry with its Caribbean neighbors. Trinidad and Tobago plays Test Cricket, One Day International as well as Twenty20 cricket as a member of the West Indies team. The national team plays at the first-class level in regional competitions. Trinidad and Tobago along with other islands from the Caribbean co-hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Brian Lara, world record holder for the most runs scored both in a Test and in a First Class innings, was born in a small town of Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago and is often referred to as the Prince of Port of Spain or simply the Prince. This legendary West Indian batsman is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen ever to have played the game, and is one of the most famous sporting icons of the country.

The national football team qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup for the first time by beating Bahrain in Manama on 16 November 2005, making them the smallest country ever (in terms of population) to qualify. The team, coached by Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, and led by Tobagonian-born captain Dwight Yorke, drew their first group game - against Sweden in Dortmund - 0-0, but lost the second game to England on late goals, 0-2. They were eliminated after losing 2-0 to Paraguay in the last game of the Group Stage. Prior to the 2006 World Cup qualification, T&T came agonisingly close to qualifying in a controversial 1974 campaign and again for the 1990 competition needing only a draw at home against the United States but losing 1-0 . Trinidad and Tobago hosted the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship.

Netball has been popular sport in Trinidad and Tobago. At the Netball World Championships they co-won the event in 1979 and were runners up in 1987 and second runners up in 1983. Netball has declined in popularity in recent years with .Basketball is commonly played in Trinidad and Tobago in collages, universities and throughout various urban basketball courts. Notable figures in Trinidad and Tobago basketball include Niall Dalton-Brown and Brian Manning (son of Patrick Manning).Rugby and Horse Racing, are also played actively in the country.

1Occupied jointly with the United States 2In 1931, Canada and other British dominions obtained self-government through the Statute of Westminster. see Canada's name. 3Gave up self-rule in 1934, but remained a de jure Dominion until it joined Canada in 1949.

Dark blue: Countries and territories where English is spoken natively by a significant population.

Light blue: Countries where English is an official language but not native. English is also one of the official languages of the European Union. Click on the coloured regions to view the related article.

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History of Trinidad and Tobago

A medallion showing the Capture of Trinidad and Tobago by the British in 1797.

The history of Trinidad and Tobago begins with the settlements of the islands by Amerindians. Both islands were encountered by Christopher Columbus on his third voyage in 1498. Tobago changed hands between the British, French, Dutch and Courlanders, but eventually ended up in British hands. Trinidad remained in Spanish hands until 1797, but it was largely settled by French colonists. In 1888 the two islands were incorporated into a single crown colony. Trinidad and Tobago obtained its independence from the British Empire in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.

Human settlement in Trinidad dates back at least 7,000 years. The earliest settlers, termed Archaic or Ortoiroid, are believed to have settled Trinidad from northeastern South America around 5000 BC. Twenty-nine Archaic sites have been identified, mostly in south Trinidad; this includes the 7,000-year-old Banwari Trace site which is the oldest human settlement in the eastern Caribbean. Archaic populations were pre-ceramic, and dominated the area until about 200 BC.

Around 250 BC the first ceramic-using people in the Caribbean, the Saladoid people, entered Trinidad. Earliest evidence of these people come from around 2100 BC along the banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. From Trinidad they are believed to have moved north into the remaining islands of the Caribbean. Thirty-seven Saladoid sites have been identified in Trinidad, and are located all over the island.

After 250 AD a third group, called the Barrancoid people settled in southern Trinidad after migrating up the Orinoco River toward the sea. The oldest Barrancoid settlement appears to have been at Erin, on the south coast.

Following the collapse of Barrancoid communities along the Orinoco around 650 AD, a new group, called the Arauquinoid expanded up the river to the coast. The cultural artifacts of this group were only partly adopted in Trinidad and adjacent areas of northeast Venezuela, and as a result this culture is called Guayabitoid in these areas.

Around 1300 AD a new group appears to have settled in Trinidad and introduced new cultural attributes which largely replaced the Guayabitoid culture. Termed the Mayoid cultural tradition, this represents the native tribes which were present in Trinidad at the time of European arrival. Their distinct pottery and artifacts survive until 1800, but after this time they were largely assimilated into mainstream Trinidad society. These included the Nepoya and Suppoya (who were probably Arawak-speaking) and the Yao (who were probably Carib-speaking). They have generally been called Arawaks and Caribs. These were largely wiped out by the Spanish colonisers under the encomienda system. Under this system which was basically a form of slavery, Spanish encomederos forced the Amerindians to work for them in exchange for Spanish "protection" and conversion to Christianity. The survivors were first organised into Missions by the Capuchin friars, and then gradually assimilated. The oldest organised indigenous group in Trinidad is the Santa Rosa Carib Community centred in the town of Arima, although several new groups have developed in recent years.

First contact with Europeans, led by Christopher Columbus, took place on July 31, 1498. Columbus is reported to have promised to name the next land he discovered for the Holy Trinity, and considered it a miracle when the first land he sighted was the three peaks of the Trinity Hills. However, it is unlikely that he saw the Trinity Hills, since their position on the south coast of Trinidad makes it difficult for them to be the first land spotted by a sea-traveller.

Amerindians in Trinidad were initially classified as friendly (and thus Arawak). The location of Trinidad between the Island Caribs (or Kalinago) of the Lesser Antilles and those of the South American mainland made the island prone to slave raiding even before Spanish settlement and a more warlike population than was found among their Taino Arawak kin in the Greater Antilles.

Trinidad is reported to have been densely populated at the beginning of the colonial period. Although in 1510 Trinidad was said to have the only "peaceful Indians" along the whole South American coast, demand for slaves to supply the pearl-fisheries in nearby Isla Margarita led to them being declared "Caribs" (and thus, fair game for slavers) in 1511. As a consequence of this Trinidad became the focus of Spanish slaving raids, especially to supply Margarita's pearl fisheries.

In 1530 Antonio Sedeño was granted a contract to settle Trinidad, with an eye toward discovering El Dorado and controlling the trade in slaves. In 1532 he attempted to settle, but was driven off following the Battle of Cumucurapo (In English The Place of the Silk Cotton Tree). He withdrew to Margarita and returned the following year and built a settlement at Cumucurapo (modern Mucurapo in Port of Spain). After failing to attract more settlers to Trinidad, Sedeño was forced to withdraw in 1534.

In 1553 Juan Sedeño was authorised to settle Trinidad, but the contract was never fulfilled. In 1569 Juan Troche Ponce de León built the "town of the Circumcision", probably around modern Laventille. In 1570 this settlement was abandoned. In 1592 Antonio de Berrio established the first lasting settlement, the town of San José de Oruña (the modern St. Joseph).

Missions were established as part of the Spanish colonisation. In 1687 the Catalonian Capuchin friars were given responsibility for the conversion of the indigenous population of Trinidad and the Guianas. In 1713 the missions were handed over to the secular clergy. Due to shortages of missionaries, although the Missions were established they often went without Christian instruction for long periods of time. Tensions between priests and Amerindians led to the Arena Massacre of 1699, wherein the Amerindians murdered the priests. After being hunted by the Spanish, the survivors are reported to have committed suicide by jumping off cliffs into the sea.

Although Spanish settlement began in the sixteenth century, the population in 1783 was less than three thousand, the majority being Amerindians. In 1783, the proclamation of a Cedula of Population by the Spanish Crown granted 32 acres (129,000 m²) of land to each Roman Catholic who settled in Trinidad and half as much for each slave that they brought. Uniquely, 16 acres (65,000 m²) was offered to each Free Coloured or Free Person of Colour (gens de couleur libre, as they were later known), and half as much for each slave they brought. In the tumult of the Haitian and French Revolutions, many people migrated from the French islands to Trinidad. This resulted in Trinidad having the unique feature of a large French-speaking Free Coloured slave-owning class.

In the census of 1777 there were only 2,763 people recorded as living on the island, including some 2,000 Arawaks. By the time the island was surrendered to the British in 1797 the population had increased to 17,643: 2,086 whites, 1,082 free people of colour, 1,082 Amerindians, and 10,009 African slaves. By 1960, the population was 827,957 and included no Amerindians.

Spanish rule over the island, which nominally began in 1498, ended when the final Spanish Governor, Don José María Chacón surrendered the island to a British fleet of 18 warships under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby on February 18, 1797.

With the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, plantation owners in the new British colony of Trinidad was left with a severe shortage of labour.

In August, 1816, seven hundred former Black slaves from the US South, who had escaped to the British lines during the War of 1812 and been recruited into the Royal Marines, were rewarded for their service to the British Crown during the war by being granted land on Trinidad. These ex-marines reportedly organised themselves in villages along the lines of the military companies in which they had fought.

In Trinidad, as in other Caribbean slave colonies, an attempt was mande to circumvent the abolition of slavery in 1833. The first announcement from Whitehall in England that slaves would be totally freed by 1840 was made in 1833. In the meantime, slaves on plantations were expected to remain where they were and work as "apprentices" for the next six years.

Trinidad demonstrated a successful use of non-violent protest and passive resistance. On 1 August 1834, an unarmed group of mainly elderly Negroes being addressed by the Governor at Government House about the new laws, began chanting: "Pas de six ans. Point de six ans" ("Not six years. No six years"), drowning out the voice of the Governor.

1838 also saw the abolition of the "apprenticeship" system in Jamaica, Barbados, and the Leeward and Windward Islands.

To deal with the problem of "shortage of labor", Trinidad planters compensated for the loss of their slaves by importing indentured servants from the 1830s until 1917. Initially, Chinese, free West Africans, and Portuguese from the island of Madeira were imported, they were replaced by indentured workers from India. In addition, large numbers of ex-slaves migrated from the Lesser Antilles to Trinidad.

The sugar plantations which dominated the economy of Trinidad in the nineteenth century gradually gave ground to the cultivation of cacao. Trinidadian chocolate became a high-priced, much sought-after commodity. The Colonial government opened land to settlers interested in establishing cacao estates. French Creoles (white Trinidadian elites descended from the original French settlers) were being marginalised economically by large English business concerns who were buying up sugar plantations, and this gave them a fresh avenue of economic development.

Venezuelan farmers with experience in cacao cultivation were also encouraged to settle in Trinidad, where they provided much of the early labour in these estates. Many of the former cocoa-producing areas of Trinidad retain a distinctly Spanish flavour and many of the descendants of the Cocoa Panyols (from 'espagnol') remain in these areas including Trinidad's most famous cricketer, Brian Lara.

After the slaves were freed, the plantation owners were desperate for new sources of labour. In 1839 the British government began a programme of recruiting Indian labourers (or coolies) in Calcutta to be sent to Trinidad and British Guiana, now Guyana. They bound themselves to work as indentured labourers for a set number of years on the plantations. The mostly Hindu and Muslim labourers were compelled to work 7 and a half hours a day, six days a week for 3 years, receiving about 13 cents a day for their work. At first, half of the recruits were women but, in 1840, the proportion was reduced to a third of the number of men. In 1844, the period of indenture was extended to five years with a guarantee that, if they wished, they would get a free passage home at the end of their service. In 1853 the law was again amended to allow the indentured labourers to re-indenture themselves for a second five-year term or, if they wished, to commute any portion of their contract by repayment of a proportionate part of their indenture fee.

Many Indian immigrants who had completed their indentureship also established cocoa estates, most notable of them being Haji Gokool Meah, a Kashmiri-born immigrant who went on to the become one of the wealthiest men in Trinidad. The Indian community has steadily prospered and grown until now it makes up about 41% of the population of the nation (the largest ethnic group by about 1%).

The Hosay Massacre took place in 1884.

The American Merrimac Oil Company drilled what is said to be, "the first successful well in the world" at La Brea at Trinidad in 1857, where oil was struck at 280 feet. Also mentioned is the pioneering work of Capt. Darwent with his Paria Petroleum Company Limited, and Conrad F. Stollmeyer (who was great grandfather of Republic Bank’s then Chairman, former West Indies cricket captain, Jeffrey Stollmeyer), an entrepreneur of that period who felt that a combustible fuel could not be distilled out of the asphalt from the pitch lake. The other point of view from Capt. Darwent was that a combustible fuel, refined from oil drilled from the earth would be the ideal fuel for the future." In 2005 Trinidad produced an estimated 150,000 bbl/day.

In either 1865, 1866, or 1867, according to different accounts, the American civil engineer, Walter Darwent, discovered and produced oil at Aripero. Efforts in 1867 to begin production by the Trinidad Petroleum Company at La Brea and the Pariah Petroleum Company at Aripero were poorly financed and abandoned after Walter Darwent died of yellow fever.

In 1893 Mr. Randolph Rust, along with his neighbour, Mr. Lee Lum, drilled a successful well near Darwent's original one. By early 1907 major drilling operations began, roads were built and infrastructure built. Annual production of oil in Trinidad reached 47,000 barrels by 1910 and kept rapidly increasing year by year.

Tobago's development was similar to other plantation islands in the Lesser Antilles and quite different from Trinidad's.

At the time of European contact, Tobago was inhabited by Island Caribs. According to the earliest English-language source cited in the Oxford English Dictionary, it bore a name that has become the English word tobacco.

The first European visitors appear to have been English adventurers in 1580 and in 1608; James I claimed Tobago for England. The first European settlers were Dutchmen who in 1654 formed a short-lived settlement at New Walcheren or modern Plymouth. The island changed hands at least 22 times altogether - more often than any other West Indian island - between the French, Dutch, British and Courlanders, however Courland's inhabitants and the settlers were primarily peoples of German and Latvian origin, it was also controlled at times by various pirate groups. It was finally ceded to the United Kingdom in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. From 1833 to 1889, it was part of the British Windward Islands colony.

Originally a sugar colony, Tobago's economy collapsed after the abolition of slavery. In 1889, Trinidad and Tobago were incorporated into the single crown colony with Tobago reduced to the status of a Ward of Trinidad until the formation of the independent Commonwealth nation of Trinidad and Tobago on 31 August 1962. In 1976 the two islands together became a republic.

The remaining plantations in Tobago were almost wholly destroyed by Hurricane Flora 1963.

Trinidad was ruled as a crown colony with no elected representation until 1925. Although Tobago had an elected Assembly, this was dissolved prior to the union of the two islands. In 1925 the first elections to the Legislative Council were held. Seven of the thirteen members were elected, the others were nominated by the Governor. The franchise was determined by income, property and residence qualifications, and was limited to men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30. The 1946 elections were the first with universal adult suffrage.

Labour riots in 1937 led by T.U.B. Butler (an immigrant from the neighbouring island of Grenada) shook the country and led to the formation of the modern Trade Union movement. Butler was jailed from 1937 to 1939, but was re-arrested when the United Kingdom entered World War II and jailed for the duration of the war. After his release in 1945 Butler reorganised his political party, the British Empire Citizens' and Workers' Home Rule Party. This party won a plurality in the 1950 General Elections, the establishment feared Butler as a radical and instead Albert Gomes became the first Chief Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

The 1956 General Elections saw the emergence of the People's National Movement under the leadership of Eric Williams. The PNM, opposed by Dr. Rudranath Capildeo of the Democratic Labor Party and Ashford Sinanan, who later founded the West Indian National Party (WINP), continued to dominate politics in Trinidad and Tobago until 1986. The party won every General Election between 1956 and 1981. Williams became Prime Minister at independence, and remained in that position until his death in 1981.

In 1958, the United Kingdom tried to establish an independent West Indies Federation comprising most of the former British West Indies. However, disagreement over the structure of the federation led to Jamaica's withdrawal. Eric Williams responded to this with his now famous calculation "One from ten leaves nought." Trinidad and Tobago chose not bear the financial burden without Jamaica's assistance, and the Federation collapsed. Trinidad and Tobago achieved full independence in August 1962 within the Commonwealth with Queen Elizabeth II as its titular head of state. In August 1, 1976, the country became a republic, and the last Governor-General, Sir Ellis Clarke, became the first President.

In 1968 the National Joint Action Committee was formed by members of the Guild of Undergraduates at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, under the leadership of Geddes Granger. In 1969 it was formally launched to protest the arrest of West Indian students at Sir George Williams University in Montreal. Together with Trade Unions and other groups, this led to the birth of the Black Power movement. In 1970 a series of marches and strikes led to the declaration of a State of Emergency and the arrest of 15 Black Power leaders. In sympathy with the arrested leaders, a portion of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, led by Raffique Shah and Rex Lassalle mutinied and took hostages at the Teteron Barracks (located on the Chaguaramas Peninsula). However, the Coast Guard remained loyal and was able to isolate the mutineers at Teteron (as the only way out was along a narrow coastal road). After 5 days the mutineers surrendered.

Political difficulties in the post-Black Power era culminated in the "No Vote" campaign of 1971 (which resulted in the PNM winning all the seats in Parliament). In 1973, in the face of a collapsing economy Eric Williams was prepared to resign as Prime Minister. However, the outbreak of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War led to the recovery of oil prices and Williams remained in office. The high oil prices of the 1970s and early 1980s led to an oil boom which resulted in a large increase in salaries, standards of living, and corruption.

In 1979, construction on the Eric Williams Plaza began. It would eventually finish in 1986. It remained the tallest building in Trinidad and Tobago until the construction of the Nicholas Tower in 2003.

Williams died in office in 1981. The PNM remained in power following the death of Dr. Williams, but its 30 year rule ended in 1986 when the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), a multi-ethnic coalition aimed at uniting Trinidadians of Afro-Trinidadian and Indo-Trinidadian descent, won a landslide victory by capturing 33 of 36 seats. Tobago's A.N.R. Robinson, the political leader of the NAR, was named Prime Minister. The NAR also won 11 of the 12 seats in the Tobago House of Assembly. The NAR began to break down when the Indian component withdrew in 1988. Basdeo Panday, leader of the old United Labour Front (ULF), formed the new opposition with the United National Congress (UNC). The NAR's margin was immediately reduced to 27 seats, with six for the UNC and three for the PNM.

In July 1990, the Jamaat al Muslimeen, an extremist Black Muslim group with an unresolved grievance against the government over land claims, tried to overthrow the NAR government. The group held the prime minister and members of parliament hostage for five days while rioting shook Port of Spain. After a long standoff with the police and military, the Jamaat al Muslimeen leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, and his followers surrendered to Trinidadian authorities. Having had the matter referred back to the local courts by the Privy Council with a clear indication of a view that the amnesty was valid, in July 1992, the High Court upheld the validity of a government amnesty given to the Jamaat members during the hostage crisis. Abu Bakr and 113 other Jamaat members were jailed for two years while the courts debated the amnesty's validity. All 114 members were eventually released. Subsequent to this, the UK Privy Council deemed the amnesty invalid but expressed the view that it would be improper to re-arrest the 114 accused.

In December 1991, the NAR captured only the two districts in Tobago. The PNM, led by Patrick Manning, carried a majority of 21 seats, and the UNC came in second. Manning became the new Prime Minister and Basdeo Panday continued to lead the opposition. In November 1995, Manning called early elections, in which the PNM and UNC both won 17 seats and the NAR won two seats. The UNC allied with the NAR and formed the new government, with Panday becoming prime minister - the first prime minister of Indo-Trinidadian descent.

Elections held in December 2000 returned the UNC to power when they won 19 seats, while the opposition PNM won 16, and the NAR 1. The UNC government fell in October 2001 with the defection of three of its parliamentarians amidst allegations of corruption in the then UNC government, and the December 2001 elections resulted in an even 18 to 18 split between the UNC and the PNM. Taking a page from the United States Supreme Court, President Robinson appointed Patrick Manning Prime Minister despite the fact that the UNC won the popular vote and that Panday was the sitting Prime Minister. Despite the fact that Manning was unable to attract a majority (and Parliament was thus unable to sit), he delayed calling elections until October 2002. The PNM formed the next government after winning 20 seats, while the UNC won 16. Both parties are committed to free market economic policies and increased foreign investment. Trinidad and Tobago has remained cooperative with the United States in the regional fight against narcotics trafficking and on other issues.

The serious crime situation in the country has led to a severe deterioration in security conditions in the country. In addition, a resurgent Jamaat al Muslimeen continues to be a threat to stability. The FBI recently opened an office in Trinidad in connection with its hunt for Adnan el-Shukrijumah.

1Occupied jointly with the United States 2In 1931, Canada and other British dominions obtained self-government through the Statute of Westminster. see Canada's name. 3Gave up self-rule in 1934, but remained a de jure Dominion until it joined Canada in 1949.

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Trinidad and Tobago dollar

The dollar (currency code TTD) is the currency of Trinidad and Tobago. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively TT$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is subdivided into 100 cents.

For earlier currencies, see Trinidadian dollar and Tobagan dollar.

The dollar was introduced in 1898. It circulated alongside the British pound, with 1 dollar = 4 shillings 2 pence (or one pound equals four dollars and eighty cents). From 1935, the currency was equivalent to the British West Indies dollar. In 1951, notes of the British Caribbean Territories, Eastern Group, were introduced, replacing Trinidad and Tobago's own notes. In 1955, coins were introduced when the dollar was decimalized. In 1964, Trinidad and Tobago introduced its own dollar, replacing the East Caribbean dollar at par. The Trinidad and Tobago dollar and the Eastern Caribbean dollar were the last two currencies in the world to retain the old rating of one pound equals four dollars and eighty cents, as per the gold sovereign to the Pieces of eight. Both of these currencies ended this relationship within a few weeks of each other in 1976.

In 1966, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. A large sized 1 dollar coin was first released for circulation in 1969 and again in 1979 before being replaced with a smaller sized version in 1995 more regularly minted. The 1 and 5 cents are struck in bronze, with the other denominations in cupro-nickel. The obverses all feature Trinidad and Tobago's coat of arms, with the reverse designs solely featuring the denomination until 1976, when they were replaced by either a national bird or flower in addition to the denomination after the declaration of a republic. The 50 cent and 1 dollar coins are scarcely seen in circulation.

In 1898, the Colonial Bank introduced 20-dollar notes. These were followed in 1901 by 5 dollars. 100-dollar notes were also issued. The last notes were issued in 1926, after which the Colonial Bank was taken over by Barclays Bank, which issued 5-, 20- and 100-dollar notes until 1941.

In 1905, notes were introduced by the government in denominations of 1 and 2 dollars, followed by 5 dollars in 1935 and 10 and 20 dollars in 1942.

The Royal Bank of Canada introduced 5-, 20- and 100-dollar notes in 1909. From 1920, the notes also bore the denomination in sterling. 100-dollar notes were not issued after 1920, whilst the 5 and 20 dollars were issued until 1938. The Canadian Bank of Commerce introduced 5-, 20- and 100-dollar notes in 1921, with the 5- and 20-dollar notes issued until 1939.

In 1964, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago introduced notes for 1, 5, 10 and 20 dollars. 50- and 100-dollar notes were issued in 1977, although the 50-dollar note was not continued. The reverses of the current notes feature the Central Bank Building of Trinidad and Tobago. The obverses have the coat of arms in the center, a national bird and a place in Trinidad, such as a market, petroleum refinery, etc. In 2002, new 1 and 20 dollar notes were introduced. In 2003 new 1, 5, 10 and 100 dollars were also introduced. The notes were only slightly changed; they now have more security features and darker color. Recently, more security features have been added to the notes by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Royal Bank of Canada one hundred dollar note shown here is a relic of a monetary system in which the unit of account was related to the circulating coinage on the basis of two historical coins which were no longer in use. In the nineteenth century, the British gold sovereign was valued at four Spanish silver dollars and eighty cents. When the sterling coinage was finally accepted as the main circulating coinage in the British West Indies, the Eastern Caribbean colonies continued nevertheless to use the dollar unit for accounting purposes. The West Indian dollar was therefore equivalent to four shillings and two pence. This Royal Bank of Canada note reflects this state of affairs with its overt mention of the fact that one hundred dollars is equal to twenty pounds, sixteen shillings, and eight pence sterling. This state of affairs was exclusively confined to the Eastern Caribbean region, possibly due to the geographical proximity to British Guiana. British Guiana had a reason to wish to retain the dollar unit owing to its recent changeover from Dutch currency. These factors did not effect Jamaica, Bermuda, or the Bahamas which adopted the sterling currency in both coinage and as the unit of account.

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Trinidad and Tobago Regiment

Image:TTR cap badge.jpg

The Trinidad and Tobago Regiment is the main ground force element of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. It has approximately 2000 men and women organized into a Regiment Headquarters (located in Chaguaramas) and four battalions. There is also a Volunteer Defence Force that has been renamed the Defence Force Reserves. The regiment has two primary roles; Maintaining the internal security of Trinidad and Tobago and the assistance of local law enforcement.

As one of the larger military forces in the region, the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment is also one of the main units used in peacekeeping and humanitarian situations from the Caribbean region, most recently in Grenada after Hurricane Ivan.

The Trinidad and Tobago Regiment also provides the bulk of the musicians assigned to the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra, the world's only military steel band.

The Trinidad and Tobago Regiment has its origins the late 19th century, though it was directly spawned from the break-up of the Federation of the West Indies in 1962. At that time, the two battalions of the West India Regiment were split and came under the control of the main nations formed by the split. The 1st Battalion became the 1st Battalion, Jamaica Regiment, while the 2nd Battalion was transferred to Trinidad and Tobago to become the 1st Battalion, Trinidad and Tobago Regiment. A second battalion was raised in 1965, but was disbanded in 1972.

The Trinidad and Tobago Regiment has been involved in two major conflicts.

The Regiment also maintains a Camp Omega, also at Chaguaramas, which is used primarily for infantry training.

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Source : Wikipedia