Trinidad and Tobago 2

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago 3
Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Since 2003 the country entered a second oil boom, and petroleum, petrochemicals and natural gas continue to be the backbone of the economy. Tourism and the public service are the mainstay of the economy of Tobago, though authorities have attempted to diversify the island’s economy. A corruption scandal resulted in Manning’s defeat by the newly formed People’s Partnership coalition in 2010, with Kamla Persad-Bissessar becoming the country’s first female Prime Minister. However, corruption allegations bedeviled the new administration, and the PP were defeated in 2015 by the PNM under Keith Rowley. In August 2020, the governing People’s National Movement won general election, meaning the incumbent Prime Minister Keith Rowley will serve a second term.


Trinidad and Tobago 4
A map of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad is 4,768 km2 (1,841 sq mi) in area (comprising 93.0% of the country’s total area) with an average length of 80 kilometers (50 mi) and an average width of 59 kilometers (37 mi). Tobago has an area of about 300 km2 (120 sq mi), or 5.8% of the country’s area, is 41 km (25 mi) long and 12 km (7.5 mi) at its greatest width. Trinidad and Tobago lie on the continental shelf of South America, and are thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America.

The terrain of the islands is a mixture of mountains and plains. On Trinidad the Northern Range runs parallel with the north coast, and contains the country’s highest peak (El Cerro del Aripo), which is 940 metres (3,080 ft) above sea level, and second highest (El Tucuche, 936 metres (3,071 ft)). The rest of the island is generally flatter, excluding the Central Range and Montserrat Hills in the center of the island and the Southern Range and Trinity Hills in the south. The three mountain ranges determine the drainage pattern of Trinidad. The east coast is noted for its beaches, most notably Manzanilla Beach. The island contains several large swamp areas, such as the Caroni Swamp and the Nariva Swamp. Major bodies of water on Trinidad include the Hollis ReservoirNavet ReservoirCaroni Reservoir. Trinidad is made up of a variety of soil types, the majority being fine sands and heavy clays. The alluvial valleys of the Northern Range and the soils of the East–West Corridor are the most fertile. Trinidad is also notable for containing Pitch Lake, the largest natural reservoir of asphalt in the world. Tobago contains a flat plain in its south-west, with the eastern half of the island being more mountainous, culminating in Pigeon Peak, the island’s highest point at 550 metres (1,800 ft). Tobago also contains several coral reefs off its coast.

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