Trinidad and Tobago is a nation consisting primarily of two Caribbean islands just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. The country is the most industrialised and one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean. Tourism is not a major industry, leaving the islands replete with natural unspoiled beauty not found in most other Caribbean countries.
The country has a cosmopolitan society inhabited by many different peoples and cultures who live together in relative peace and harmony.
The two islands have distinct personalities.
Trinidad is the larger of the two, and is the location of most of the country's cities and activity. It is also the country's industrial centre, noted for petroleum and natural gas production, which make T&T one of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean.
Tobago is known for tourism, which is its main industry and is a popular tourist destination. Both islands have a share of natural beauty.
The islands were first inhabited by Arawak and Carib people, who settled here from the South American mainland, and whose descendants make up a small minority of the population. Trinidad was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who claimed it for Spain. Under Spanish rule, large numbers of French settlers established cocoa plantations in Trinidad and imported slaves to work them. The British seized the island in 1798, and abolished slavery. To make up for the labor shortage the government encouraged heavy immigration from countries such as Portugal, France, Germany, China, and most importantly India. Trinidad was united with Tobago in the 1880's.
Throughout the early 1900's the country welcomed thousands of mostly black immigrants from other Caribbean countries, as well as Venezuela and Colombia. Following World War II, TT was combined with various other British Caribbean countries into the West Indies Federation, but the different countries could not get along and the federation soon collapsed. TT eventually achieved complete independence on August 31, 1962. Throughout the sixties and seventies, the country prospered thanks to large deposits of oil and natural gas, becoming the wealthiest nation in the Caribbean. However, in the late eighties, oil prices dropped significantly, causing a major economic meltdown. Thousands of Trinidadians left the country at this time, in search of better opportunities elsewhere. Throughout the nineties and 2000's the country recovered dramatically and it continues to improve today.