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Thursday 23rd November
Trinidad and Tobago Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the most southerly of the Caribbean islands, is northeast of the South American country of Venezuela.

The capital city is Port-of-Spain in Trinidad. Scarborough is the main urban centre and port in Tobago. Ports and harbours in the Gulf of Paria (Trinidad) are Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Pointe-a-Pierre and Port-of-Spain.

Trinidad is the larger of the two islands. The terrain consists of plains with hills and three low mountain ranges. Tobago has a central mountain chain. The Ortoire and the Caroni are the longest rivers in Trinidad and the Courland is the longest river in Tobago.

The climate is tropical with the rainy season lasting from June to December.

Environment
Trinidad and Tobago is very close to South America, separated from the mainland by the Gulf of Paria.

There are a variety of landscapes on the islands: mountains, rainforests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, savannah, coastline and mangrove swamps.

Tobago's Main Ridge Forest Reserve was established in 1776. Little Tobago, a small island northeast of Tobago, is a bird sanctuary for almost sixty species of birds. Other protected areas include the Asa Wright Nature Centre and the Caroni Bird Sanctuary on the island of Trinidad.

Trinidad's Nariva Swamp, on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, is an extensive complex of freshwater swamp forest, permanent herbaceous swamp, seasonally flooded marshes, and mangrove forest. The area supports a rich fauna: at least thirteen species of birds, various mammals and reptiles.

Over four hundred species of birds inhabit the islands, a migratory crossing point. Birds include the scarlet ibis and the blue-footed booby. Over sixteen types of hummingbirds live in Trinidad, a fact that gave Trinidad its name before the arrival of the Europeans: Land of the Hummingbirds.

There are over six hundred species of butterflies and a number of different species of mammals and reptiles. Wildlife includes anteaters, armadillos, deer, red howler monkeys, ocelots, wild pigs, porcupines, iguanas, frogs and toads. Manatees and turtles (loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback) are found in the sea surrounding the islands. Other sea life includes seahorses, flying fish, groupers, seabass, rays, blue marlins, whale sharks and sharks.

Architecture
Port-of-Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago, is a modern city with skyscrapers, hotels, offices and shopping centres. Some Colonial architecture remains, together with churches, temples and mosques.

Buildings of historical interest listed by the government include the Residence and Office of the President of Trinidad and Tobago, Queen's Royal College (a government college for boys since 1904), Red House (the seat of the National Parliament) and Whitehall (the Office of the Prime Minister).

Tobago is a small island. Scarborough, the modern administrative centre, is its largest urban area. Richmond Great House, a restored Colonial house, can be seen outside Scarborough. There are also examples of red tin-roofed houses and traditional wooden houses on stilts.

Population
The population of Trinidad and Tobago was estimated at 1,227,505 in 2011.

Languages
English is the official language. Other languages spoken include Hindi, French, Spanish and Chinese.

Religion
Over half of the people are Christians, over a fifth are Hindus and some are Muslims. Orisha, a traditional African religion, is also practised.

Food
The cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago is influenced by the diverse cultures of its population: African, Creole (African and French), East Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Syrian and Lebanese.

Creole dishes make use of ingredients such as coconut, cassava, sweet potatoes, plantain, fish and meat. Roti bread is a popular East Indian food, eaten with curried meat and vegetables. Spanish pastelles are meat filled corn pastries cooked in banana leaves. Chinese food is also very popular.

Fish is prepared in a variety of ways: barbecued, baked, stewed and curried. A favourite recipe is for callaloo, a soup made from spinach or dasheen leaves; sometimes crab or other meat is added too.

Desserts use tropical fruits such as guavas, mangoes and papayas. Indian sweets and ice creams flavoured with tropical fruits are also popular.

Ginger beer is a local non-alcoholic drink; others are fruit juices and coconut water. Beer is brewed locally and rum and Angostura bitters are produced in the Republic.

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