OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
CAPITAL: Port of Spain
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 5,128 Sq Km (1,980 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 1,364,300
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Trinidad and Tobago are the two
southern most islands of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean
Sea. Trinidad Island's most prominent natural feature is
the three mountain ranges called the Northern, Central and
Southern Ranges which run east to west. Between these ranges
are broad plains while extensive swamps cover the east,
south and west coasts. Tobago Island has an uneven terrain
dominated by a main ridge, which is a series of volcano
mountains while an extensive coral platform is located to
the southwest. Both islands have numerous rivers of which
the Ortoire and Caroni Rivers are Trinidad's longest and
Tobago's is the Courland River. Major Cities (pop. est.);
Chaguanas 56,600, Port of Spain 50,900, San Fernando 30,100,
Arima 29,700, Point Fortin 20,000 (1990). Land Use; forested
46%, pastures 2%, agricultural-cultivated 24%, other 28%
CLIMATE: Trinidad and Tobago has a tropical climate influenced
and modified by the surrounding sea and the trade winds. The climate is
characterized by a dry season from January to May and a wet season from
June to December, with the warmest month July and the coolest January.
The wettest months are June through to November and average annual precipitation
varies from 2,540 mm (100 inches) to 3,810 mm (150 inches) depending on
the region. Average temperature ranges on the coast are from 24 degrees
Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) to 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit)
PEOPLE: The population consists of as many as 13 ethnic groups,
of which two form the majority. (1.) The Black Africans who account for
around 41% of the population and (2.) the East Indians who also account
for around 41%. The remainder are Whites, Chinese, Caribs, Arawaks, Arabs
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 244 persons per sq km
(631 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 69.1% urban, 30.9% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 50.1% male, 49.9% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
69.7 years male, 74.7 years female (1993). Age Breakdown; 31% under 15,
26% 15 to 29, 22% 30 to 44, 13% 45 to 59, 8% 60 and over (1991). Birth
Rate; 18.1 per 1,000 (1991). Death Rate; 6.6 per 1,000 (1991). Increase
Rate; 11.5 per 1,000 (1991). Infant Mortality Rate; 18.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians which account for 70% of the population,
of which 36% are Roman Catholic and 13% are Protestant. Other religious
minorities include Hindus which account for 23% and Muslims for 6% of the
LANGUAGES: The official language is English with different varieties
ranging from Creole to the standard English. Other minority languages include
a French and Spanish Patois as well as numerous AmerIndian languages.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
7.1%, primary 66.5%, secondary 21.7%, higher 2.7%, unspecified 2.0% (1980).
Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 751,600 or 96.1% (1985).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1961 Britain granted Trinidad
and Tobago internal self-government and on Aug. 31, 1962 full independence
was achieved with Dr. Eric Williams as the country's first Prime Minister.
In the early 1970's "Black Power" supporters protested against
widespread unemployment as well as social and economic inequality. Supported
by a mutiny in the army, violent demonstrations broke out which resulted
in the declaration of two States of Emergency. On Aug. 1, 1976 Trinidad
and Tobago became a republic within the Commonwealth. Since the early 1970's
there has been a political movement on Tobago to make the island independent
from the rest of the country. In Mar. 1981 Williams died and was succeeded
by George Chambers. In Feb. 1986 four opposition parties formed the National
Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR). In Dec. 1986 the NAR won elections and
A.N.R. Robinson became Prime Minister. In 1987 the NAR suffered internal
divisions and three ministers were dismissed, only to form another opposition
party. On July 27, 1990 a small Black Muslim sect, the Jamaat al Muslimeem
with around 120 extremists, attempted to overthrow the government and seized
55 hostages including Prime Minister Robinson. The coup attempt resulted
in the deaths of 30 people which led to widespread looting in the capital.
On Aug. 1, 1990 the rebels surrendered and were subsequently imprisoned
on charges of murder and treason. In 1991 the government's economic liberalization
program led to widespread protests throughout the year. On Dec. 16, 1991
the People's National Movement (PNM) was returned to power with Patrick
Manning as Prime Minister after five years in opposition. In Jan. 1992
the government introduced its first budget which resulted in increased
income taxes. In May 1992 Prime Minister Manning met with US Pres. George
Bush in Washington, D.C. to discuss among other things joint cooperation
in fighting the drug trade. In July 1992 the members of the Jamaat al Muslimeem
were released from prison after the High Court had upheld the validity
of an amnesty granted by the acting President. In Sept. 1992 the PNM won
the majority of seats in local government elections, although the NAR retained
control of the House of Assembly following elections on Dec. 7, 1992. Also
in 1992 the NAR elected Carson Charles as its new leader. In Jan. 1993
a US steel company, Nucor Corp Inc., agreed to establish a iron carbide
plant in an industrial estate in Trinidad. In March 1993 the government
sold its 51% interest in the country's ammonia plant as well as its 100%
stake in the Trinidad and Tobago Urea Co. for US $175 million. The government
also announced plans to privatise a further 28 state-owned companies. In
April 1993 the government removed currency controls and allowed it to float
on the foreign exchange market which led to an immediate 26% devaluation
against the Green Back. In Aug. 1993 Prime Minister Manning with four other
Caribbean leaders met wit US Pres. Bill Clinton to discuss their community
policy of establishing closer ties with Cuba.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Dollar (TTD) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $4,776,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $1,704,000,000 (1993). Imports; TTD $7,495,000,000 (1993). Exports;
TTD $8,801,000,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $80,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; TTD $4,354,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 504,500
or 40.5% of total population (1993). Unemployed; 19.8% (1993).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
the EU and CARICOM countries.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Asphalt, Bananas, Citrus Fruits, Cocoa, Coffee,
Oil and Natural Gas, Rice, Sugar.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Fertilizers, Food Processing,
Oil and Natural Gas Production and Refining, Paints, Plastics, Steel, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Cocoa, Coffee, Crude Oil, Fruit, Petroleum
TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 7,900 km (4,909 mi)
(1985). Vehicles; cars 269,238 (1989), trucks and buses 68,759 (1989).
Merchant Marine; vessels 49 (1990), deadweight tonnage 12,549 (1990). Air
Transport; passenger-km 2,691,000,000 (1,672,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989),
cargo ton-km 14,381,000 (9,850,000 short ton-mi) (1989).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 3 with a total circulation
of 96,000 (1990). Radio; receivers 700,000 (1993). Television; receivers
250,000 (1993). Telephones; units 192,500 (1993).
MILITARY: 2,600 (1994) total active duty personnel with 76.9%
army and 23.1% coast guard while military expenditure accounts for 1.8%
(1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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