Trinidad & Tobago

Country Overview:
First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands’ sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is coping with a rise in violent crime.

Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates:
11 00 N, 61 00 W

Total: 5,128 sq km, land: 5,128 sq km, water: 0 sq km

Area – Comparative:
Slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries:
0 km

362 km

Tropical; rainy season (June to December)

Mostly plains with some hills and low mountains

Elevation extremes:
Caribbean Sea 0 m

Highest Point:
El Cerro del Aripo 940 m

Natural Resources:
Petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

1,047,366 (July 2008 est.)

Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)

Trinidadian, Tobagonian

Ethnic groups:
Indian (South Asian) 40%, African 37.5%, mixed 20.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.8% (2000 census)

Roman Catholic 26%, Hindu 22.5%, Anglican 7.8%, Baptist 7.2%, Pentecostal 6.8%, Muslim 5.8%, Seventh Day Adventist 4%, other Christian 5.8%, other 10.8%, unspecified 1.4%, none 1.9% (2000 census)

English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese

Country Name:
Trinidada & Tobago

Government Type:
Parliamentary democracy

Capital Name:

31 August 1962 (from UK)

National Holiday:
Independence Day, 31 August (1962)

1 August 1976

Legal System:
Based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Executive Branch:
Chief of state: President George Maxwell RICHARDS (since 17 March 2003)

Head of Government:
Prime Minister Patrick MANNING (since 24 December 2001)

Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament

president elected by an electoral college, which consists of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 February 2008 (next to be held by February 2013); the president usually appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives election results: George Maxwell RICHARDS reelected president; percent of electoral college vote – NA