Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a two-island country off the northern coast of South America just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. It shares maritime borders with Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, and Venezuela. The country is growing at a rate of just 0.3% per year. 96% of the population lives on Trinidad while 4% live in Tobago. Despite its rather low population, Trinidad and Tobago is densely populated with just 5,131 square kilometers of land. There are 254 people per square kilometer (659/sq mi), which ranks 48th in the world.
Trinidad and Tobago Demographics
The country is dominated by two ethnic groups: the Africans and the Indians. The Africans are mostly Christian while the Indians are mostly Hindu, and there has been a great deal of tension between the two groups. While the two groups are equal in number, many Africans in the country feel they are being taken over or pushed aside by the Indians.
The two ethnic groups in the country descend from the freed black people who were enslaved by the British to work plantation fields and the imported Indian workers who came to the area after slavery was abolished.
The heartland of the Indian population is in Chaguanas.
Trinidad and Tobago History
Both islands were originally settled by Amerindians, with Trinidad settled first around 7,000 years ago. When Europeans first made contact, Trinidad was occupied by several Arawakan-speaking groups such as the Nepoya and Suppoya and Cariban-speaking groups, while the Tobago island was occupied by Galibi and Island Caribs.
Christopher Columbus found the island in 1498. Foreign disease from European settlers greatly reduced the native population, and there are few remaining today. The European influence on the country comes mostly from Britain, France, and Spain, all of which claimed the islands at various times during the colonial history.
While under British rule, the slaves were shipped from Africa to work plantations on the islands. When the African slave trade ended, East Indians were brought in as indentured servants. The current residents of Trinidad and Tobago today are descended from these two groups.