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Nickname: Land of the Hummingbird
Map of Trinidad and Tobago
Lesser Antilles location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Trinidad in the Lesser Antilles
LocationEastern Caribbean
Coordinates 10°30′N61°18′W / 10.5°N 61.3°W / 10.5; -61.3
Area4,768 km2 (1,841 sq mi)
Highest elevation940 m (3080 ft)
Highest point El Cerro del Aripo
Regions 14
Capital city Port of Spain
Largest settlement Chaguanas (pop. 83,516)
President Christine Kangaloo
Prime Minister Keith Rowley
Demonym Trinidadian
Population1,267,145 [1] (2011)
Pop. density266/km2 (689/sq mi)
Languages Trinidadian and Tobagonian English / Trinidadian Creole
Currency Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD)
Religions Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Orisha (Shango), Rastafari, Sikhism, Bahá'í, Irreligion, others [2]
Ethnic groups Indian, African, Multiracial (incld. Dougla, Creole-Mulatto, and Cocoa panyols), Indigenous, European, Chinese, Arab, Hispanic/Latino [3]
Additional information
Time zone
  • AST (UTC −4) (Trinidad does not observe DST)
Postal code 10xxxx – 87xxxx [4]
Moruga - Christopher Columbus monument. Columbus landed here on his third voyage in 1498. This is on the southern coast of the island of Trinidad, West Indies Moruga - Christopher Columbus monument.jpg
MorugaChristopher Columbus monument. Columbus landed here on his third voyage in 1498. This is on the southern coast of the island of Trinidad, West Indies

Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The island lies 11 km (6.8 mi) off the northeastern coast of Venezuela and sits on the continental shelf of South America. It is often referred to as the southernmost island in the West Indies. With an area of 4,768 km2 (1,841 sq mi), it is also the fifth largest in the West Indies.



The original name for the island in the Arawaks' language was Iëre which meant "Land of the Hummingbird". [5] Christopher Columbus renamed it La Isla de la Trinidad ('The Island of the Trinity'), fulfilling a vow he had made before setting out on his third voyage. [6] This has since been shortened to Trinidad. Indo-Trinidadians called the island चीनीदत्त (Devanagari script), 𑂒𑂲𑂢𑂲𑂠𑂞𑂹𑂞 (Kaithi script), چینی دت(Perso-Arabic script), Chinidat or Chinidad in Trinidadian Hindustani which translated to the land of sugar. The usage of the term goes back to the 19th century when recruiters from India would call the island Chinidat as a way of luring workers into indentureship. [7]


Caribs and Arawaks lived in Trinidad long before Christopher Columbus encountered the islands on his third voyage on 31 July 1498. The island remained Spanish until 1797, but it was settled mostly by French colonists from the French Caribbean, especially Martinique. [8] In 1889 the two islands became a single British crown colony. Trinidad and Tobago was granted self-governance in 1958 and independence from the United Kingdom in August 1962, [9] and it became a republic in August 1976. [10]


Major landforms include the hills of the Northern, Central and Southern Ranges (Dinah ranges), the Caroni, Nariva and Oropouche Swamps, and the Caroni and Naparima Plains. Major river systems include the Caroni, North and South Oropouche and Ortoire Rivers. There are many other natural landforms such as beaches and waterfalls. Trinidad has two seasons per the calendar year: the rainy season and the dry season. El Cerro del Aripo, at 940 metres (3,084 ft), is the highest point in Trinidad. It is part of the Aripo Massif and is located in the Northern Range on the island, northeast of the town of Arima. [11]


As of the 2011 Trinidad and Tobago Census, the population was 35.43% Indian, 34.22% African, 7.66% mixed African and East Indian, and 15.16% other mixed. [1] Venezuela has also had a great impact on Trinidad's culture, such as introducing the music style parang to the island. Many groups overlap. For example, a "Dougla" is a person of African and East Indian descent who may identify as being part of either group. [12] [13] [14]


There are multiple festivals on Trinidad, featuring the music of the Caribbean and the steelpan (which originated on Trinidad and is the country's national instrument); These festivals [15] include the multi-national, pre-Lenten Carnivál, J'ouvert, and Panorama, the national steelpan competition.

In addition to the traditional Christian holidays and official public days (such as Boxing Day, Christmas, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Emancipation Day, Good Friday, Independence Day, Labour Day, New Year's Day, and Republic Day) in Trinidad, the island nation also celebrates a significant percentage of its population's Indian ancestry (of both Hindu and Muslim backgrounds), with officially-recognised holidays such as Divali, Eid al-Fitr and Indian Arrival Day. Sites of cultural or religious significance include Mount Saint Benedict and the Temple in the Sea. [16] [17]


The island of Trinidad has a rich biodiversity. [18] The fauna is overwhelmingly of South American origin. There are about 100 species of mammals including the Guyanese red howler monkey, the collared peccary, the red brocket deer, the ocelot and about 70 species of bats. [19] There are over 400 species of birds including the endemic Trinidad piping-guan. Reptiles are well represented, with about 92 recorded species including the largest species of snake in the world, the green anaconda, the spectacled caiman, and one of the largest lizards in the Americas, the green iguana. Trinidad is also the largest leatherback turtle nesting site in the western hemisphere; they nest on Trinidad's eastern and northern beaches. There are 37 recorded frog species, including the tiny El Tucuche golden tree frog, Trinidad poison frog, and the more widespread huge cane toad. [20] About 43 species of freshwater fish are known from Trinidad, including the well known guppy. It is estimated that there are at least 80,000 arthropods, and at least 600 species of butterflies. [21]

The William Beebe Tropical Research Station (founded by William Beebe), also known as Simla, lies 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of Arima.


The economy of Trinidad and Tobago is diversified, based to a large extent on oil and natural gas. It is one of the leading gas-based export centers in the world, being one of the top five exporters of liquefied natural gas and the largest onshore natural gas well was recently discovered in southern Trinidad. This has allowed Trinidad to capitalize on the biggest mineral reserves within its territories. It is an oil-rich country and stable economically. [22] [ verification needed ]


Regional Geology of Trinidad and Venezuela Trinidad geology.jpg
Regional Geology of Trinidad and Venezuela

The Venezuela Tertiary Basin is a subsidence basin formed between the Caribbean and South American plates, and is bounded on the north by the coast ranges of Venezuela and the Northern Range of Trinidad, and bounded on the south by the Guayana Shield. [24] This Guayana shield supplied fine-grained clastic sediments, which with the subsidence, formed a regional negative gravity anomaly and growth faults. [25] Oil and gas discoveries from the Pliocene Moruga Group include Teak (1968), Samaan (1971), Poui (1972) and Galeota. [26] These fields are mainly faulted anticline traps producing from depths of 1.2 to 4.2 km (0.75 to 2.61 mi) subsea, with Teak possessing a hydrocarbon column almost 1 km (0.62 mi) thick. [25]

The Northern Range is an Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous range of metamorphic rocks striking east and dipping south. The range's southern boundary is marked by a fault extending from the El Pilar Fault System in Venezuela. South of this fault is the Northern Basin, or Caroni Syncline, consisting of Tertiary sedimentary rocks unconformably overlying Jurassic and Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. South of this basin is the Central Range, consisting of Upper Tertiary sedimentary rocks lying unconformably atop Lower Eocene and Paleocene rocks. South of this range is the Naparima Plain, a thrust belt of Oligocene and Lower Tertiary beds.

Hydrocarbon bearing anticlines include those associated with Pitch Lake, Forest Reserve, Point Fortin, Penal, Barrackpore, and Balata Fields. The Los Bajos Fault is a wrench fault, with Lower Pliocene displacement of 6.51 miles, bordered on the north by the Siparia syncline, and on the south by the Erin syncline. Finally, the Southern Range consists of anticlinal folds, including the Rock Dome-Herrera anticline and the Moruga-West Field. East of this Rock Dome are en echelon folds containing the Lizard Springs Field. South of these folds is another fold trend containing the Moruga-East, Guayaguayare, Beach, and Galeota Fields. South of the Morne Diablo-Quinam Erin Field westward is a strongly folded anticline associated with shale diapirism, which extends west southwestward to the Pedernales Field in southeast Venezuela. The northeast portion of the Southern Range separates into a northern trend containing the Lizard Springs, Navette, and Mayaro Fields, while the southern trend contains the Beach Field. [26] :5–9


Trinidad is considered one of the best places in the world to catch Atlantic tarpon. [27]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Geography of Trinidad and Tobago</span>

Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic republic in the southern Caribbean between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. They are southeasterly islands of the Lesser Antilles, Monos, Huevos, Gaspar Grande, Little Tobago, and St. Giles Island. Trinidad is 11 km (6.8 mi) off the northeast coast of Venezuela and 130 km (81 mi) south of the Grenadines. The island measures 4,768 km2 (1,841 sq mi) in area with an average length of 80 km (50 mi) and an average width of 59 km (37 mi). The island appears rectangular in shape with three projecting peninsular corners. Tobago is 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Trinidad and measures about 298 km2 (115 sq mi) in area, or 5.8% of the country's area, 41 km (25.5 mi) in length and 12 km (7.5 mi) at its greatest width. The island is cigar-shaped in appearance, with a northeast–southwest alignment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Port of Spain</span> Capital of Trinidad and Tobago

Port of Spain, officially the City of Port of Spain, is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago and the third largest municipality, after Chaguanas and San Fernando. The city has a municipal population of 49,031, an urban population of 544,949 and a transient daily population of 250,000. It is located on the Gulf of Paria, on the northwest coast of the island of Trinidad and is part of a larger conurbation stretching from Chaguaramas in the west to Arima in the east with an estimated population of 600,000.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gulf of Paria</span> A shallow semi-enclosed inland sea between the island of Trinidad and the east coast of Venezuela

The Gulf of Paria is a 7,800 km2 (3,000 sq mi) shallow semi-enclosed inland sea located between the island of Trinidad and the east coast of Venezuela. It separates the two countries by as little as 15 km at its narrowest and 120 km at its widest points. The tides within the Gulf are semi-diurnal in nature with a range of approximately 1m. The Gulf of Paria is considered to be one of the best natural harbors on the Atlantic coast of the Americas. The jurisdiction of the Gulf of Paria is split between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela with Trinidad and Tobago having control over approximately 2,940 km2 (1,140 sq mi) (37.7%) and Venezuela the remainder (62.3%).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anticline</span> In geology, an anticline is a type of fold that is an arch-like shape

In structural geology, an anticline is a type of fold that is an arch-like shape and has its oldest beds at its core, whereas a syncline is the inverse of an anticline. A typical anticline is convex up in which the hinge or crest is the location where the curvature is greatest, and the limbs are the sides of the fold that dip away from the hinge. Anticlines can be recognized and differentiated from antiforms by a sequence of rock layers that become progressively older toward the center of the fold. Therefore, if age relationships between various rock strata are unknown, the term antiform should be used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Northern Range</span>

The Northern Range is the range of tall hills across north Trinidad, the major island in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The hills range from the Chaguaramas peninsula on the west coast to Toco in the east. The Northern Range covers approximately twenty-five percent of the land area of Trinidad.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caroni River (Trinidad and Tobago)</span> River in Trinidad and Tobago

The Caroni River is the largest river in Trinidad and Tobago, running for 40 km (25 mi) from its origins in the Northern Range on the island of Trinidad, through the northern lowlands of the Caroni Plains and enters the Gulf of Paria at the Caroni Swamp.

Penal is a town in south Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago. It lies south of San Fernando, Princes Town, and Debe, and north of Moruga, Morne Diablo and Siparia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biota of Trinidad and Tobago</span>

Trinidad and Tobago are continental islands with a geologically very recent history of direct land bridge connection to South America. As a result, unlike most of the Caribbean Islands, Trinidad and Tobago supports a primarily South American flora and fauna and has greater diversity of plant and animal species than the Antilles. However, rates of endemism are lower than in the rest of the Caribbean because there has been less time for genetic isolation from mainland populations because of the history of land bridge connections and hence fewer opportunities for speciation, and so a greater proportion of the species in Trinidad and Tobago are also found on the South American mainland. Trinidad is nearer to mainland South America and has been directly connected to the mainland via land bridges more often and for longer periods than Tobago. This, as well as Trinidad's larger size and more varied topography and hydrology compared to that of Tobago allow greater species and ecosystem diversity on the former compared to that on the later of the islands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maracaibo Basin</span> Foreland basin in Venezuela

The Maracaibo Basin, also known as Lake Maracaibo natural region, Lake Maracaibo depression or Lake Maracaibo Lowlands, is a foreland basin and one of the eight natural regions of Venezuela, found in the northwestern corner of Venezuela in South America. Covering over 36,657 square km, it is a hydrocarbon-rich region that has produced over 30 billion bbl of oil with an estimated 44 billion bbl yet to be recovered. The basin is characterized by a large shallow tidal estuary, Lake Maracaibo, located near its center. The Maracaibo basin has a complex tectonic history that dates back to the Jurassic period with multiple evolution stages. Despite its complexity, these major tectonic stages are well preserved within its stratigraphy. This makes The Maracaibo basin one of the most valuable basins for reconstructing South America's early tectonic history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moruga</span> Village in Princes Town, Trinidad and Tobago

The village of Moruga lies on the central south coast of Trinidad at the western end of the Trinity Hills. It is in Victoria County, Trinidad and Tobago, and is served by the Princes Town Regional Corporation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trinidad and Tobago</span> Country in the Caribbean

Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean. Consisting of the main islands Trinidad and Tobago and numerous much smaller islands, it is situated 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and 130 kilometres south of Grenada. It shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the east, Grenada to the northwest, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the north and Venezuela to the south and west. Trinidad and Tobago is generally considered to be part of the West Indies. The island country's capital is Port of Spain, while its largest and most populous city is San Fernando.

Main Ridge is the main mountainous ridge on the island of Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago. It is a 29-kilometre (18 mi) chain of hills which runs from southwest to northeast between the Caribbean Sea and the Southern Tobago fault system and reaches a maximum height of 572 m (1,877 ft). The Main Ridge Forest Reserve, which was legally established in 1776, is one of the oldest protected areas in the world. It is a popular site for birdwatching and ecotourism. Main Ridge provides important habitat for native plants and animals, including several species endemic to Tobago.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tunapuna–Piarco</span> Region

Tunapuna–Piarco is one of the 9 regions of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the most populous region in the country by total population and the fifth-largest by total land area. Geographically located in Northern Trinidad, Tunapuna–Piarco shares its borders with the regions of San Juan–Laventille to the west, Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo to the south, the Borough of Chaguanas to the south-west, Sangre Grande to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the north. The region also completely surrounds the Royal Chartered Borough of Arima, which is located in the south-eastern corner of the region.

The Weald Basin is a major topographic feature of the area that is now southern England and northern France from the Triassic to the Late Cretaceous. Its uplift in the Late Cretaceous marked the formation of the Wealden Anticline. The rock strata contain hydrocarbon deposits which have yielded coal, oil and gas.

The Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago is a Presbyterian church in Trinidad and Tobago, established by missionaries from the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Naparima Plain</span>

On the island of Trinidad, the Naparima Plain is a broad lowland area on the west between the Central Range and the Southern Range ; the lowland area on the east is the Nariva Plain. To the north of the Central Range is the Caroni Plain. The Oropouche river flows through the Naparima Plain and drains into the Oropouche Lagoon, a swampy area, on the Gulf of Paria coast. The northern region of the Naparima Plain has alluvial soil; the southern region is sandy and less fertile.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Columbus Basin</span>

The Columbus Basin is a foreland basin located off the south eastern coast of Trinidad within the East Venezuela Basin (EVB). Due to the intensive deformation occurring along the Caribbean and South American plates in this region, the basin has a unique structural and stratigraphic relationship. The Columbus Basin has been a prime area for hydrocarbon exploration and production as its structures, sediments and burial history provide ideal conditions for generation and storage of hydrocarbon reserves. The Columbus Basin serves as a depocenter for the Orinoco River delta, where it is infilled with 15 km of fluvio-deltaic sediment. The area has also been extensively deformed by series of north west to southeast normal faults and northeast to southwest trending anticline structures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bolivar Coastal Fields</span>

The Bolivar Coastal Fields (BCF), also known as the Bolivar Coastal Complex, is located on the eastern margin of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. Bolivar Coastal Field is the largest oil field in South America with its 6,000-7,000 wells and forest of related derricks, stretches thirty-five miles along the north-east coast of Lake Maracaibo. They form the largest oil field outside of the Middle East and contain mostly heavy oil with a gravity less than 22 degrees API. Also known as the Eastern Coast Fields, Bolivar Coastal Oil Field consists of Tía Juana, Lagunillas, Bachaquero, Ceuta, Motatán, Barua and Ambrosio. The Bolivar Coast field lies in the Maracaibo dry forests ecoregion, which has been severely damaged by farming and ranching as well as oil exploitation. The oil field still plays an important role in production from the nation with approximately 2.6 million barrels of oil a day. It is important to note that the oil and gas industry refers to the Bolivar Coastal Complex as a single oilfield, in spite of the fact that the oilfield consists of many sub-fields as stated above.

The geology of Trinidad and Tobago includes two different islands with different geological histories.


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