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|Nickname: Land of the Hummingbird|
Map of Trinidad and Tobago
|Area||4,748 km2 (1,833.2 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||940 m (3,080 ft)|
|Highest point||El Cerro del Aripo|
|Largest city||Chaguanas (pop. 100,000)|
|Density||262.7 /km2 (680.4 /sq mi)|
|Time zone: GMT −4 (Trinidad does not observe DST)|
Trinidad (Spanish: "Trinity") is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just 11 km (6.8 mi) off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of 4,768 km2 (1,841 sq mi) it is also the fifth largest in the West Indies.
Many believe[who?] the original name for the island in the Arawaks' language was "Iëre" which meant "Land of the Humming Bird". Although there are indeed many hummingbird species in Trinidad and these birds might have had some spiritual significance to native peoples, some believe that "Iere" was actually a mispronunciation/corruption by early colonists of the Arawak word "Kairi" which simply means "Island" (which might make sense given that for mainland-based Arawak groups, Trinidad would simply have been seen as the largest nearby island). Christopher Columbus renamed it "La Isla de la Trinidad" ("The Island of the Trinity"), fulfilling a vow he had made before setting out on his third voyage of exploration.
Caribs and Arawaks lived in Trinidad long before Columbus encountered the islands on his third voyage in 1498. Tobago changed hands between the British, French, Dutch and Courlanders, but eventually ended up in British hands. Trinidad remained Spanish until 1797, but it was largely settled by French colonists from Martinique. In 1889 the two islands became a single crown colony. Trinidad and Tobago obtained self-governance in 1958 and independence from the British Empire in 1962.
Major landforms include the hills of the Northern, Central and Southern Ranges (Dinah ranges), the Caroni, Nariva and Oropouche Swamps, and the Caroni and Naparima Plains. Major river systems include the Caroni, North and South Oropouche and Ortoire Rivers. There are many other natural landforms such as beaches and waterfalls. Trinidad has two seasons per calendar year, the rainy season and the dry season.
Trinidad is popular for its savory food options. The food is diverse, cultural and traditional in many cases. It is influenced by many different styles, such as Indian, Spanish, African and more. Over time it has been adapted and changed to what is known as Trinidadian food today. The most popular Trinidadian dishes include pelau (rice, vegetables and sometimes meat cooked together), doubles (an East Indian delicacy), roti, callaloo, bake and shark, crab and dumplings.
Diversity is the status quo in Trinidad and Tobago. It is sometimes known as a "rainbow island" or more fondly "a callaloo" (local dialect for a delicious dish prepared by blending a variety of ingredients). There is a wide range of ethnicity, religion, and culture. The total population is estimated at 40% East Indian, 40% African, 11.5% mixed, 0.6% white, and 1.2% Chinese and other. Trinidad religion primarily centers round Roman Catholic, Anglican, Muslim and Hindu faiths. Roman Catholicism constitutes the largest religion denomination of the country. Some of the more popular religious festivals are the Santa Rosa Festival, Christmas, Easter, Divali, Eid Ul Fitr and Phagwa. There are also multiple festivals that are based around the music of the Caribbean and the steel pan, which originated in Trinidad and is the country's national instrument. These festivals include the world famous Carnival, J'ouvert, and Panorama, the national steel pan competition. There are also places that can be visited that hold cultural significance, such as Mount Saint Benedict and the Temple in the Sea.
The island of Trinidad has a wide biodiversity of both plant and animal species that are unique to the island. Native animals include the Black Tailed Tree Boa, Red Brocket Deer, Collared Peccary, Red Howler Monkey, and Ocelot. Trinidad has a rich avifauna, including a single endemic species, the Trinidad Piping Guan.
It is an industrial island with a diversified economy, based to a large extent on natural gas, industry and agriculture. It is one of the leading gas-based export centres in the world, being the leading exporter of ammonia and methanol and among the top five exporters of liquefied natural gas. This has allowed Trinidad to capitalise on the biggest mineral reserves within its territories. It is an oil-rich country and stable economically.
See also 
- Hart, Marie (1972) . The New Trinidad and Tobago: A Descriptive Account of the Geography and History of Trinidad and Tobago. London and Glasgow: Collins. p. 13.
- Besson, Gerard (2000-08-27). "Land of Beginnings – A historical digest", Newsday Newspaper.
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