The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
The flag of Trinidad & Tobago dates from its independence in 1962 from Britain. On a red field, there is a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist to the lower fly. Red represents the vitality of the land and people and the energy and warmth of the sun; black symbolises the people’s dedication and unity of purpose, and the wealth of the land; white stands for the sea which bounds the islands, the purity of national aspirations, and the equality of all. Together the colours represent the elements of fire, earth and water encompassing the islands.
Amerindians were originally settled on both islands, when Columbus made landfall on Trinidad, called Iere or Kairi, in 1498. The Spanish Crown, through the 1783 Cedula of population, invited any Roman Catholic European to settle in Trinidad. Tobago meanwhile changed hands among the British, French, Dutch and Courlanders a multiplicity of times. Both islands were consolidated by Britain into the colony of Trinidad and Tobago in 1889. Chaguaramas in North-West Trinidad was chosen as the site of the capital of the short-lived Federation of the West Indies (1958-1962). Trinidad & Tobago became an independent state on 31 August 1962, and a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 August 1976.
Area: 5,128 sq km (Trinidad 4825 sq km; Tobago 303 sq km)
Capital: Port of Spain
Population: 1,065,842 (July 2006 proj.)
Language: English (official), Caribbean Creole
Currency: Trinidad & Tobago dollar (TT$) (US$1=TT$6.30)
Legal system: Supreme Court of Judicature (comprised of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal); Trinidad & Tobago is the Seat of the Caribbean Court of Justice.