Trinidad and Tobago is an island country in the Caribbean Sea, off the northeast coast of Venezuela. It comprises two main islands (Trinidad and Tobago) as well as various smaller ones. This country is close to South America and can be found to the northwest of Guyana and the northeast of Venezuela. Trinidad, measuring 4,828m2 and comprising mountains in the north and plains in remaining areas, is the larger of the two islands; Tobago measure just 300m2 and consist of lush forests with hardwood trees.
The climate of Trinidad and Tobago is tropical, owing to the islands’ proximity to the Equator. The weather is generally hot (with an average temperature of around 25ºC). Trinidad is slightly hotter than Tobago, with an annual mean temperature of 26ºC.
Trinidad and Tobago is known for its annual carnival, with its impressive marches, free creativity and party atmosphere. Masquerade bands, colourful costumes and joyful music fill the air and a fantastic Kings and Queens costume competition is one of the highlights of the event. Trinidad and Tobago is also the country where you will find the hottest pepper in the world: the reddish-orange Moruga Scorpion! Tobago is known as the resort island, with its white sand beaches, impressive golf courses and old world Caribbean atmosphere. Trinidad, meanwhile, is the business centre of the country, with its lucrative oil and natural gas industry. Tobago is thought to be the location Robert Louis Stevenson described in Treasure Island. It also lays claim to the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere. Trinidad and Tobago is also known for its colourful vocabulary, which includes phrases like ‘liming’ (which simply means ‘hanging out’).
Native American Arawak and Carib tribes were the first to call the islands home. Christopher Columbus arrived in 1498 and the Spanish remained in possession of Trinidad for hundreds of years, despite raids by other European peoples. In 1802, Trinidad was ceded to Britain, while Tobago hovered between British and French possession for many years, until the British officially took control in 1814. Slavery was ended in 1834 and in 1889, Trinidad and Tobago were united as one colony. The island nation gained its independence from Britain in 1962, when the Union Jack was lowered and the national flag was raised for the first time.
Trinidad and Tobago houses around 2,500 plant species, including colourful orchids, verdant ernes and 214 different species of grass! The marine environment comprises seagrass beds, algae and phytoplankton. The islands are home to a plethora of animals, including approximately 45 species of freshwater fish, 400-500 marine fish species, 37 amphibia, and an array of reptiles, birds and mammals. The national bird of Trinidad is the scarlet ibis, whose bright red hue contrasts beautifully against the blue skies. The birds obtain their unique colour from their food, which consists of shrimp, crabs, insects and fish. The best viewing spot for this unique bird, found only in a few places in South America, is the Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary.
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