The island remained undeveloped until the late 18th century. Even after 1592 the development of the island proceeded slowly. In the 16th century many of these Trinidadian Indians were captured by Spanish slave traders and sent to work in other Spanish possessions, but there was no effective Spanish presence on the island until 1592. When Christopher Columbus reached Trinidad in 1498 on his third voyage, the island was inhabited by Arawakan-speaking tribal groups originally from the Orinoco River delta region and a smaller number of Cariban speakers. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, tobacco and, later, cacao were cultivated, using Trinidadian Indian labour, but after a disastrous failure of the cacao crop in the 1720s, the industry declined. In that year Antonio de Berrio came in search of Eldorado (the mythical land of gold); he took official possession of the island and founded San Jos of Orua (now Saint Joseph), which served as the capital until 1784. Few Spaniards immigrated to Trinidad; only a handful of African slaves were imported; and there was little production or export.
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Trinidad and Tobago is the region's leading exporter of oil and gas but imports of fossil fuels provided over 90% of the energy consumed by its CARICOM neighbours in 2008. This vulnerability led CARICOM to develop an Energy Policy which was approved in 2013. This policy is accompanied by the CARICOM Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS).
The various councils are made up of a mixture of elected and appointed members. The island of Tobago is governed by the Tobago House of Assembly. Elections are due to be held every three years, but have not been held since 2003, four extensions having been sought by the government. Trinidad is split into 14 regional corporations and municipalities, consisting of 9 regions and 5 municipalities, which have a limited level of autonomy.
Both CSEC and CAPE examinations are held by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). Students attend secondary school for a minimum of five years, leading to the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) examinations, which is the equivalent of the British GCSE O levels. Children with satisfactory grades may opt to continue high school for a further two-year period, leading to the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), the equivalent of GCE A levels. Public Primary and Secondary education is free for all, although private and religious schooling is available for a fee.
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Despite this, it spent just 0.05% of GDP on R&D in 2012, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Calculated in thousands of current Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) dollars, research expenditure actually dropped between 2009 and 2012 from 21 309 to 19 232. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the more affluent members of CARICOM, thanks to its natural resources. Even when the country was enjoying economic growth of 8% per annum in 2004, it devoted just 0.11% of GDP to R&D.
Traditionally important agricultural export commodities included sugar, cocoa, and coffee; however, the sugar sector experienced a steep decline in the early 21st century when estate-based production of sugar was ended with the closure of the state-owned sugar-producing company. Other agricultural products include coconuts, citrus fruits, rice, poultry, and vegetables. In Tobago agriculture declined markedly after a disastrous hurricane in 1963. The contribution of agriculture and fishing to the economy is negligible. Indo-Trinidadians dominate food production and comprised the majority of sugar workers.
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Richards faces tough opponents in Rome
The chants of libertad (freedom in English) could be heard echoing through the walls of the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Aripo on Monday night.
The melodic notes that ring out from the instruments can take various tones: lively and funky or classical and orchestral. Trinidad and Tobago is the home of steel pans musical instruments made from an oil barrel.
This corresponds to 13% of the 134 patents registered by CARICOM members over this period. Between 2008 and 2013, Trinidad and Tobago registered 17 patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The team is a provisional member of the Pan American Baseball Confederation. There is also the Trinidad and Tobago national baseball team which is controlled by the Baseball/Softball Association of Trinidad and Tobago, and represents the nation in international competitions.
T&T's World bronze medallist, Jereem "The Dream" Richards, will take on 200 metres world number one sprinter Noah Lyles on Thursday at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Rome, Italy.
They are primarily descendants from indentured workers from South Asia, brought to replace freed African slaves who refused to continue working on the sugar plantations. The ethnic composition of Trinidad and Tobago reflects a history of conquest and immigration. While the earliest inhabitants were of Amerindian heritage, since the 20th century the two dominant groups in the country were those of South Asian and of African heritage. Through cultural preservation some residents of Indian descent continue to maintain traditions from their ancestral homeland. Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonians make up the country's largest ethnic group (approximately 37.6%).
The islands are outside the main hurricane zone, but Tobago occasionally is struck by disastrous hurricanes (e.g., in 1847 and 1963). The prevailing winds are the northeast trades. There is a main dry season from January to May and a lesser dry season (Petite Carme, or Indian Summer) in September and October.
About 43 species of freshwater fishes are known from Trinidad, including the well known guppy. There are about 100 species of mammals including the Guyanan red howler monkey, the collared peccary, the red brocket deer, the ocelot and about 70 species of bats. There are over 400 species of birds including the endemic Trinidad piping-guan. The island of Trinidad has a rich biodiversity. The fauna is overwhelmingly of South American origin. The largest of turtles (the leatherback turtle) nests on Trinidad's eastern and northern beaches. There are 37 recorded frog species, including the tiny El Tucuche golden tree frog, and the more widespread huge cane toad. 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.
The water tumbles over the rocks at the Argyle Falls in Tobago and gathers at its baseto form a blissful and refreshingly cool pool. Relax for a few hours or go onadventure climbing the three series of cliffs that make the Argyle Falls.
More About Trinidad and Tobago
In 1925 a constitutional reform did that, adding seven elected members. During the British colonial period, many activists sought to change the constitution to allow the inclusion of some elected members on the Trinidad and Tobago Legislative Council. For about 10 years after universal suffrage, politics in the colony were characterized by individualism and confusion, but in 1956 the Peoples National Movement (PNM) won a victory at the polls and formed the first party-based cabinet government, under the PNMs founder and leader, Eric Williams. Further agitationespecially an islandwide series of strikes and riots in 1937 under Grenadan-born labour leader Uriah Butlerled to the grant of universal suffrage in 1945 and other constitutional reforms that provided for a measure of self-government. Trinidad and Tobago attained independence in 1962 and became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1976.
In 2018 The Court of Arbitration for Sport made its final decision on the failed doping sample from the Jamaican team in the 4 x 100 relay in the 2008 Olympic Games.