|Motto: "Pulchrior Evenit" (Latin)
"She becomes more beautiful"
|Anthem: Forged From The Love of Liberty|
Map of Tobago (large island), Little Tobago (far right) Goat Island (between Tobago and Little Tobago) & St. Giles Island (top right).
|Recognised regional languages||Trinidadian Creole
Trinidad and Tobago
|-||Prime Minister of
Trinidad and Tobago
|-||Chief Secretary||Orville London|
116 sq mi
|Currency||Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)|
|Calling code||1 868|
Tobago // is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt. According to the earliest English-language source cited in the Oxford English Dictionary, Tobago bore a name that has become the English word tobacco. The national bird of Tobago is the cocrico.
Geography and climate
Tobago has a land area of 300 km² and is approximately 40 km long and 10 km wide. It is located at latitude 11° 15' N, longitude 60° 40' W, slightly north of Trinidad. The population was 60,874 at the 2011 census. The capital, Scarborough, has a population of about 17,000. While Trinidad is multiethnic, Tobago's population is primarily of African descent, although with a growing proportion of Trinidadians of East Indian descent and Europeans. Between 2000 and 2011, the population of Tobago grew by 12.55 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing areas of the country.
Tobago is primarily hilly and of volcanic origin. The southwest of the island is flat and consists largely of coralline limestone. The hilly spine of the island is called the Main Ridge. The highest point in Tobago is the 550-metre (1804 ft) Pigeon Peak near Speyside.
Tobago is divided into seven parishes – three in the Western Region and four in the Eastern Region:
|Region||Parish name||Area (km2)||Population|
The climate is tropical, and the island lies just south of the Atlantic hurricane belt. Average rainfall varies between 3800 mm on the Main Ridge to less than 1250 mm in the southwest. There are two seasons: a wet season between July and November, and a dry season between December and June.
Possession of Tobago has been fought over by numerous nations since it was first sighted by Columbus in 1498.
The original Island Carib population was forced to defend the island against other Amerindian tribes. Then, during the late 1500s and early 1600s, the natives defended it from European colonists, the first being Courlanders in 1654. Over the years, the Dutch, English, Spanish, Swedish and French transformed Tobago into a battle zone and the island changed hands 33 times, the most in Caribbean history, before it was finally ceded to the British in 1814 under the Treaty of Paris.
From about 1672, during a period of stability under temporary British rule, plantation culture began. Sugar, cotton and indigo factories sprang up and Africans were imported to work as slaves. The economy flourished and by 1777 Tobago was exporting great quantities of rum, cotton, indigo and sugar. But in 1781 the French invaded, destroyed the plantations, and forced the British governor to surrender. The island’s buoyant economy fell into decline.
In 1814, when the island was again under British control, another phase of successful sugar production began. But a severe hurricane in 1847, combined with the collapse of plantation underwriters, marked the end of the sugar trade. Without the highly profitable sugar production, Britain had no further use for Tobago and in 1889 the island was made a ward of Trinidad. Without sugar, the islanders had to grow other crops, planting acres of limes, coconuts and cocoa and exporting their produce to Trinidad. In 1963, Hurricane Flora ravaged Tobago, destroying the villages and crops. A restructuring programme followed and attempts were made to diversify the economy. The development of a tourist industry began.
Economy and tourism
Tobago's main economy is based on Tourism, fishing, and government spending, government spending being the largest. Tourism is still a fledgling industry and needs to be developed. The local governing body The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) employs 62% of the labor force.
Tobago's economy is tightly linked with Trinidad which is based on liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemicals, and steel. The principal economic forces specific to Tobago are tourism and government spending. Conventional beach and water-sports tourism is largely in the southwest around the airport and the coastal strip. Meanwhile, ecotourism is growing in significance, much of it focused on the large area of protected forest in the centre and north of the main island and on Little Tobago, a small island off the main island's northeast tip.
The southwestern tourist area around Crown Point, Store Bay, Buccoo Reef, and Pigeon Point has large expanses of sand and is dominated by resort-type developments. Tobago has many idyllic beaches along its coastline, especially those at Castara, Bloody Bay, and Englishman's Bay. Tobago is linked to the world through the Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport (formerly Crown Point Airport) and Scarborough harbour. Domestic flights connect Tobago with Trinidad, and international flights connect with the Caribbean and Europe. There is a daily fast ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough.
Tobago was thought by some to have been the island that inspired Robinson Crusoe, but the book is probably based on some of the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, who was marooned in the Pacific's Juan Fernández Islands. Adding to the confusion, Tobago was the filming location for the Walt Disney movie Swiss Family Robinson in 1959.
Tobago is the site of the famous "mystery tombstone".
Swiss Family Robinson
In 1958, Tobago was chosen by the Walt Disney Company as the setting for their forthcoming film based on the Johann Wyss novel, Swiss Family Robinson. When producers saw the island for the first time, they "fell instantly in love". However, one of the drawbacks of this choice was that Tobago has no local wildlife. The script required animals, who arrived from all around the world, including eight dogs, two giant tortoises, forty monkeys, two elephants, six ostriches, four zebras, one hundred flamingos, six hyenas, two anacondas, and a tiger.
Filming locations include Richmond Bay (the Robinsons beach), Mount Irvine Bay (the Pirates beach), and the Craig Hall Waterfalls. The infamous treehouse was constructed in a 200-foot tall saman in the Goldsborough Bay area. After filming, locals convinced Disney, who had intended to remove all evidence of filmmaking, to let the treehouse remain, sans interior furnishing. In 1960, the treehouse was listed for sale for $9,000, a fraction of its original cost, and became a popular attraction before the structure was finally destroyed by Hurricane Flora. The tree still remains, however, and is located on the property of the Roberts Auto Service and Tyre Shop, located in Goodwood, just off of Windward Road. A local Tobago resident says, "The tree has fallen into obscurity; only a few of the older people knew of its significance. As a matter of fact, not many people know of the film Swiss Family Robinson much less that it was filmed here in Tobago."
The film, released in 1960, was the highest-grossing film of that year and is regarded as one of the most iconic live-action films that Disney has ever released. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, the box office revenue is $427,773,600. The treehouse proved to be popular enough that Disney has built a version of their own featured in many of their theme parks across the world.
Coral reefs have been damaged recently by silt and mud runoff during construction of a road along the northeast coast. There has also been damage to the reef in Charlotteville village caused by sealing the road at Flagstaff Hill and diverting more silty water down the stream from Flagstaff down to Charlotteville.
Tobago is also a popular diving location, since it is the southernmost of the Caribbean islands that have coral communities. Trinidad, which is further south, has no significant coral because of low salinity and high silt content, the result of its position close to the mouth of Venezuela's Orinoco River. Scuba diving on Tobago tends to be centred at Speyside, almost diametrically across the island from the airport.
The island has some of the best diving sites in the Caribbean. There are three wrecks located around its shores, but the one usually considered the best is the Maverick Ferry, which used to travel between Trinidad and Tobago. The ferry is 350 feet long and has been sunk in 30 metres/100 feet just off Rocky Point, Mt. Irvine. The top of the wreck is at 15 metres/50 feet. The wreck has an abundance of marine life, including a 4-foot jewfish, a member of the grouper family. The wreck was purposely sunk for divers, and so all the doors and windows were removed. The waters around the island are home to many species of tropical fish, rays, sharks, and turtles.
Tobago is home to two golf courses, both of which are open to visitors. The older of the two is Mount Irvine Hotel Golf Course, built in 1968. It was seen throughout the world after hosting the popular golf show "Shell's Wonderful World of Golf". The course is built amongst coconut palms and has a view of the Caribbean Sea from almost every hole. Formerly known as Tobago Plantations Golf Course, the recently renamed Magdalena Grand Hotel & Golf Club was opened in 2001 and has hosted the European Seniors Tour on three occasions.
The Tobago Forest Reserve (Main Ridge Reserve) claims to be the oldest protected forest in the Western world. It was designated a protected Crown reserve on 17 April 1776 after representations by Soame Jenyns, a Member of Parliament in Britain responsible for Tobago's development. It has remained a protected area since.
This forested area has great biodiversity, including many species of birds (such as the dancing blue-backed manakin), mammals, frogs, (nonpoisonous) snakes, butterflies and other invertebrates. It is one of the most approachable areas of rainforest, since it is relatively small and there are government-appointed guides who provide an authoritative guiding service through the forest at a reasonable cost. The guides are knowledgeable about the plants and the animals, and can call down rare and exotic birds from the canopy by imitating their calls. Tobago also has nesting beaches for the leatherback turtle, which come to shore between April and July.
Little Tobago, the small neighbouring island, supports some of the best dry forest remaining in Tobago. Little Tobago and St. Giles Island are important seabird nesting colonies, with Red-billed Tropicbirds, Magnificent Frigatebirds and Audubon's Shearwaters, among others.
- A.N.R. Robinson - Arthur Napoleon Raymond "Ray" Robinson was born on 16 December 1926 and died on 9 April 2014. He was the third president of Trinidad and Tobago, serving from 1997 to 2003. Tobago's international airport was renamed Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport in his honour in May 2011.
- Lalonde Gordon - Born in Lowlands on 25 November 1988, Gordon won a bronze medal in the 400-meter run in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He was also part of the Trinidad and Tobago four-by-400-meter relay team that won a silver medal in the same Olympics.
- Dwight Yorke - Born in Canaan on 3 November 1971, Yorke played football for Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sydney FC and Sunderland. He won 79 caps for his national side, scoring 19 goals.
Local government functions in Tobago are handled by the Tobago House of Assembly. The current Chief Secretary of the THA is Orville London. The People's National Movement controls all 12 seats in the Assembly, with the Tobago Organization of the People controlling no seats since the 21 January 2013 election.
Tobago has two parliamentary seats, Tobago East and Tobago West, which are controlled by the TOP, which won them in the general elections in Trinidad and Tobago on 24 May 2010. The island featured in the international press in early 2007 for its establishment of a Minister of Mental Health. Minister Ellen Tang was appointed on the first anniversary of the launch of the Happiness Project. Her aide, Melody Williams, has been allocated a major proportion of the annual housing funding to revamp government housing projects all over the island.
Although Tobago lies south of the hurricane belt, it was nevertheless struck by Hurricane Flora on September 30, 1963. The effects were so severe that they changed the face of Tobago's economy. The hurricane laid waste to the banana, coconut, and cacao plantations that largely sustained the economy, and wreaked considerable damage on the largely pristine tropical rainforest that makes up a large proportion of the interior of the island's northern half. Many of the plantations were subsequently abandoned, and the economy changed direction away from cash crop agriculture and toward tourism. In 2004 Hurricane Ivan, while less severe than Flora, also caused significant damage.
- "Tobago (Great Tobago) ". United Nations Earthwatch. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
- Anthony, Michael (2001). Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Maryland, and London, UK. ISBN 0-8108-3173-2.
- "Railroad Map of Trinidad". World Digital Library. 1925. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Rhead, Louis. LETTER TO THE EDITOR: "Tobago Robinson Crusoe's Island", The New York Times, 5 August 1899.
- "Robinson Crusoe and Tobago", Island Guide
- Mystery Tombstone
- Passafiume, Andrea. "SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Maltin 1995, p. 176.
- "Some Really, Really Big Roots". Kevin Kidney. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "Swiss Family Tree Found". Kevin Kidney. Retrieved 6 1 2015. Check date values in:
- Staff (2009-01-22). "TOP gains ground, but unhappy with illegal advertising". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tobago.|
|Look up tobago in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Tobago Hotel & Tourism Association
- Tobago House of Assembly
- Tobago at worldstatesmen.org.
- Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Parishes of Tobago (map)
- Definitive Tourist Guide to Tobago