The Capital of Paradise
|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).
Trinidad and Tobago
|-||Prime Minister of
Trinidad and Tobago
|-||Chief Secretary||Orville London|
116 sq mi
|Currency||Trinidad and Tobago dollar (
|Calling code||1 868|
Tobago (pron.: //) 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 (116 mi²), and is approximately 42 km (26 mi) long and 10 km (6.2 mi) wide. It is located at latitude 11° 9' N, longitude 60° 40' W, slightly north of Trinidad. The population was 60,874 (at the 2011 Census). The capital is Scarborough which has a population of about 17,000. While Trinidad is multiethnic, the population of Tobago is primarily of African descent, although with a growing proportion of Trinidadians of East Indian descent and Europeans (predominantly Germans and Scandinavians). 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, 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 south-west of the island. 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 were forced to defend their island against other Amerindian tribes. Then, during the late 1500s and early 1600s, they had to defend it against 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. However, the French invaded again, in 1781, and destroyed the plantations. They forced the British governor to surrender and 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. However, 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 economy is tightly linked with Trinidad and 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 south-west around the airport and the coastal strip; however, ecotourism is growing in significance, and much of it focuses 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 north-east tip of the main island.
Tourism is concentrated in the south-west of the island, around Crown Point, Store Bay, Pigeon Point and Buccoo Reef. This area 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 also a daily fast ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough.
The island of Tobago has been considered the island that inspired the story Robinson Crusoe. However, 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 for modern claims of fame, this island was the filming location for the Walt Disney movie The Swiss Family Robinson.
Tobago is the site of the famous "mystery tombstone".
Environmental problems 
Coral reefs have been damaged recently by silt and mud runoff during construction of a road along the north east 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 most southerly of the Caribbean islands which 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 Tobago Forest Reserve (Main Ridge Reserve) claims to be the oldest protected forest in the Western world. It was designated as a protected Crown reserve on 17 April 1776 following representations by Soame Jenyns a Member of Parliament in Britain who had the responsibility for the development of Tobago. It has remained a protected area ever since.
This forested area has great biodiversity including many species of birds (including 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 Tropicbird, Magnificent Frigatebird and Audubon's Shearwater amongst others.
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, while the Tobago Organization of the People controls none of the other seats after the 21 January 2013 election.
Tobago 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 to the south of the hurricane belt, it was nevertheless struck by Hurricane Flora on September 30, 1963. The effects of the hurricane were so severe that they changed the face of Tobago's economy. The hurricane laid waste to the plantations of banana, coconut, and cacao, which largely sustained the economy. It wreaked considerable damage to the largely pristine tropical rainforest that makes up a large proportion of the interior of the northern half of the island. Subsequently, many of the plantations were abandoned, and the economy changed direction away from cash crop agriculture toward tourism. In 2004 Hurricane Ivan, although less severe than Flora, did cause 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. ISBN 0-8108-3173-2.
- 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
- 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