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sunnuntai 18. syyskuuta 2016

Trinidad and Tobago, Cool Facts #141

<= 140. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines                                                               142. Grenada =>

1. Trinidad and Tobago Name Origins

Christopher Columbus renamed the island "La isla de la Trinidad", fulfilling a vow he made before setting out on his third exploration voyage. The original name of the island in Arawakan languages was either "Iere" (Land of the Hummingbird) or "Kairi (Island).

The cigar-like shape of the island may have given its Spanish name (cabaco, tavaco, tobacco). The original Amerindian name in Arawakan was Aloubaéra (black conch) and Urupaina (big snail).

Mayaro Beach at Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago map

2. Most colonizers in the Caribbean 

The islands of Trinidad and Tobago were united in 1889. Before that they were separate colonies. Between 1958-1962 Trinidad and Tobago was part of the West Indies Federation. In 1962 the country became independent from Great Britain.

Spanish colony after the arrival of Columbus in 1498 until 1797, when Great Britain started ruling the island until the independence.

The island of Tobago has changed hands among different colonizers more than any other island in the Caribbean. Tobago was colonized by the Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlanders.


3. Birthplace of Limbo 

Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival and as the birthplace of limbo. Limbo is a dance contest that originated on the island of Trinidad. The dance was popularized by Julia Edwards aka First Lady of Limbo. Julia Edwards and her company appeared in several films making limbo famous, in particular the movie Fire Down Below (1957).

Traditionally the limbo dance began at the lowest possible bar, which was gradually raised. This signified the emergence from death into life. When limbo was adopted to the world of entertainment the traditional order was reversed.

Other music-related things originating on Trinidad and Tobago: 

Steelpan - also called steel drums or pans
Calypso - music style
Soca - music style
Parang - music style
Chutney - music style

limbo dancers

4. Indo-Trinidadians

Indo-Trinidadians are the largest ethnic group in the country with 37,6% of the population. Afro-Trinidadian and Tobagonians constitute the second biggest ethnic group with 36,3% of the population.

The ethnic composition of the country reflects the country's history of conquest and immigration. The Indo-Trinidadians are the descendants from indentured workers from India, who replaced the freed African slaves who refused to continue working on the sugar plantations.

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire completely in the 1830s. In the 1840s indentured workers from India and also China were brought to Trinidad and Tobago and other British colonies.

Some of the residents of Indian descent continue to maintain traditions from their ancestral homelands.

Newly arrived indentured Indians in Trinidad and Tobago

5. Wealthiest Caribbean Country 

Trinidad and Tobago is the third richest country in the Americas after USA and Canada by GDP (PPP) per capita. So it's the richest in the Caribbean and in the top 40 (2010 information) of the 70 High Income countries in the world.

In 2011 the OECD removed Trinidad and Tobago from its list of Developing Countries. The economy of the country is strongly influenced by the petroleum industry. Tourism and manufacturing are also important to the local economy.

Petroleum was discovered in 1857 in Trinidad and Tobago but it was between 1972-1983 when rising oil prices increased the living standards in Trinidad and Tobago greatly.

- Trinidad and Tobago is a regional financial centre
- Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports but only 5% of employment
- Trinidad and Tobago is one of the top 10 exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG)

Trinidad and Tobago oil
Trinidad and Tobago export map


1498 Christopher Columbus encountered the island of Trinidad on July 31th, the same year he saw Tobago but didn't land there
1530s The Spanish started conquering Trinidad from the native Orinoco and Warao people, the following decades were generally spent in warfare with the natives
1687 The Catholic Catalan Capuchin friars were given responsibility for the conversions of the indigenous people at Trinidad and the Guianas
1699 Arena massacra, the converted Amerindians revolted killing the priests after which several hundred Amerindians were killed
1783 The Spanish king granted the Cedula de Poblacion, which was an edict to open Trinidad to immigration and that increased the population of the island in the following decades
1797 The British invaded Trinidad and conquered it from the Spanish, who capitulated without fighting
1802 The British rule was formalized under the Treaty of Amiens
1833 Slavery was abolished but the former slaves served an apprenticeship period before full emancipation of slavery in 1838
1845 Contract workers from India, China and Portugal were brought to the plantations of Trinidad
1857 Petroleum was discovered
1889 Tobago and Trinidad were combined into the colony of Trinidad and Tobago
1920-1930s Widespread depression after the collapse of the sugarcane industry
1958 Part of the West Indies Federation before it was dissolved in 1962
1962 Trinidad and Tobago became independent from Great Britain
1972-1983 The oil-rich country profited greatly from the rising price of oil increasing the living standards greatly
1973 Trinidad and Tobago was one of the founding members of CARICOM
1976 Trinidad and Tobago became a republic 
2003 The country entered a second oil boom
2010 UNC won and Kamla Persad-Bissessar became the country's first female Prime Minister

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