Trinidad and Tobago Overview
|Republic of Trinidad and
||Port of Spain
|Form of government
||Presidential Republic in the Commonwealth
||Trinidad and Tobago dollar
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago consists of the
two Caribbean islands of the same name, which belong to
the Lesser Antilles and are located off the coast of
Venezuela. The main island of Trinidad (4,828 km²) also
has a few smaller side islands, around 30 km northeast
is the smaller Tobago (300 km²). Both islands were
originally connected to the South American mainland.
Trinidad is characterized by three mountain ranges
that run through the country in an east-west direction.
The highest elevation is the Cerro del Aripo with 940 m
in the Northern Range, which is a continuation of the
Venezuelan coast cordillera. The Southern and Central
Range have heights of up to 300 m. Between the mountain
ranges there are plateaus, some of which are muddy. In
the southwest of Trinidad is Pitch Lake, which is around
42 hectares and has the largest natural asphalt deposit
in the world. The largest rivers on the island are the
Ortoire River (50 km long) and the Caroni River (40 km).
The island of Tobago is mostly mountainous, with
heights of up to 576 m. In the north there are rugged
cliffs, the southwest is flat with wide sandy beaches.
The capital, Port of Spain, is on the west coast of
Trinidad and Tobago has a tropical climate with high
temperatures all year round. The average values are
around 26 ˇăC. During the day the temperatures rarely
rise above 30 ˇăC, at night they do not drop below 20 ˇăC.
There is a rainy season between June and October, and
the average rainfall is around 2,000 mm. Up to 3,500 mm
can also be reached on the mountain slopes facing the
Flora and fauna
About 40% of the country's area is forested,
including large stocks of tropical rainforest with an
extraordinary biodiversity. Almost untouched areas can
be found especially in the Northern Range on Trinidad
and Tobago. The first nature reserve worldwide was
established on Tobago in 1765 (Tobago Forest Reserve).
In the drier areas there are wet and dry forests and
extensive mangrove swamps along the coast.
The animal world is also rich in species, there are
several bat species, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys,
peccaries, deer and agoutis in mammals. The bird life is
very diverse, in addition to different herons,
flamingos, cranes, wild geese, the scarlet fever, the
national bird of Trinidad, lives here. Around 600
species of butterflies were counted. There is a
species-rich underwater world in the coral reefs off
Around 1.02 million people live in the island state
of Trinidad and Tobago. The most densely populated
region is the west of Trinidad. The capital of Port of
Spain with 52,000 residents is also located here, but
around 450,000 people live in the greater region. Other
important cities are Chaguanas (73,000 residents), San
Juan (55,000) and San Fernando (57,000). The average
population density is around 199 residents per square
According to COUNTRYAAH, 38% of the population are black (descendants of
African slaves), but now the largest group of the
population with 40% are Indians. Mixed breeds have a
share of about 20%, whites (mostly of British, French or
Spanish origin) and Chinese form small minorities. The
proportion of black people in Tobago is over 80%. Almost
60% of the population profess Christian faith (25% of
the total population are Catholics and about 11%
Anglicans). There are also about 20% Hindus and 6%
Muslims. Religious freedom prevails.
The official language is English, Hindi, Spanish,
Chinese and Creole languages are also used. Healthcare
and education are well developed. The average life
expectancy is 69 years, the population growth is low
0.4%. School attendance is compulsory for children
between the ages of five and twelve, attending schools
is free of charge. The literacy rate is almost 99%.
Trinidad and Tobago are, according to the 1976
constitution, a parliamentary democracy within the
British Commonwealth of Nations. The head of state is
the President (Anthony Carmona since March 2013), who is
elected by a body made up of representatives of the two
chambers of Parliament. The term of office is five
years. The government is headed by the Prime Minister
(Kamla Persad-Bissessar since May 2010), who is usually
the representative of the strongest political party in
Parliament and is appointed by the President.
The legislature lies with the parliament, which
consists of two chambers: the 41 members of the House of
Representatives are elected by the people for a
five-year term, the 31 members of the Senate are
appointed by the President in coordination with the
Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. The
dominant political parties are People's National
Movement (PNM) and United National Congress UNC).
The island nation is divided into eleven regions,
three districts and two cities.
The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is one of
the wealthier Caribbean countries due to its oil and gas
reserves. Most of the export earnings come from the sale
of oil or products.
Thanks to petroleum, the dominant industrial sector
accounts for 55% of gross domestic product (GDP). In
addition to iron, steel and petrochemicals, there are
food processing companies and textile and building
material production, and electrical goods are also
manufactured. To ensure that the refineries are fully
utilized, crude oil is imported and re-exported after
The share of the service sector in the overall
economy is 44%; here trade and increasingly the
financial sector play an important role. The most
important trading partners of the islands for export
(petroleum, chemical products, raw materials) and for
imports (machines, vehicles, food and crude oil) are the
USA, followed by the countries of CARICOM.
Agriculture only generates 1% of GDP. Sugar cane,
cocoa, coffee, coconuts, citrus fruits, vegetables and
tobacco are grown.
Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange
and is being expanded further by the government.
Around half of the approximately 8,300 km of road are
paved, although the road conditions are often poor.
Left-hand traffic prevails. Airplanes are an important
means of transportation between the islands. There is an
international airport near the capital Port of Spain and
The currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.