The people of Trinidad were made up of several Arab guardians when Columbus’s third expedition arrived on the island in 1498. In 1532, Spain appointed a governor. Sugar plantations were created in which the Indian population was soon exterminated due to brutal workloads. They were then replaced by African slaves. Spanish interest in Trinidad was otherwise minimal.
Tobago has changed colonial masters more often than any other island in the Caribbean. During Spanish rule in Trinidad, British, French and Dutch merchant ships nevertheless dominated. In the 1600s, these obtained substantial tobacco. In the 18th century, cocoa was invested.
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Spain surrendered the Trinidad colony to the British Navy in 1797, and the island became formally British in 1802. In 1814, the British also took over Tobago for good. The two islands were merged into one colony in 1899. When slavery was abolished in 1833, the British stimulated substantial immigration of Chinese and Indians. The Chinese left the colony after a short time. The colony therefore consisted mainly of Indians and Africans, while economic and political control belonged to a small white upper class. In 1923, attempts were made to achieve independence. From the 1930s oil production was started in Trinidad. Economically, Trinidad and Tobago therefore developed stronger than the rest of the Caribbean. US oil companies have had a great influence on the economy and politics. In 1945, the islands gained internal autonomy, and in 1956 the leader of the Conservative People’s National Movement (PNM), Eric Williams, was elected prime minister. Trinidad and Tobago formed an important part of The West Indian Federation from 1958 to independence in 1962. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Trinidad and Tobago.
Williams left his mark on politics as prime minister until his death in 1981. PNM is above all a party for the black population, which also dominates the oil sector in the country. The Indian population works mainly in sugar production. Among the best known Trinidadians is Stokeley Carmichael, who became famous in the United States with the Black Power movement. In 1970, this movement also prevailed in Trinidad. When parts of the army joined the rebellion, a state of emergency was introduced and Williams threatened to ask American troops to intervene. In 1975 became the United Labor Front(ULF) created, and the party did what Williams had never realized: bridging the black oil workers and the Indian sugarcane makers. The following year, the ULF already held a third of the seats in the National Assembly. While large parts of the Caribbean moved politically to the left towards the end of the 1970s, Trinidad and Tobago remained a conservative bastion under Williams. After his death in 1981, George Chambers took over. In the 1986 election, PNM lost for the first time in 30 years in favor of the opposition coalition National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) with Arthur Napoleon Robinson as prime minister.
A new election was held in 1991 and brought PNM back with full force while NAR was eradicated and reduced to a party with support for Tobago. Patrick Manning became the country’s new prime minister. After an economic upswing in the mid-1990s, Manning is vying for new elections. Despite the most votes, was PNM pushed aside by a new coalition, and Basdeo Panday from United National Congress (UNC) formed a new government after the elections in 1995. UNC had an important coalition partner in NAR that now had autonomy for Tobago as the main program record. Parliament voted for the establishment of a Tobago House of Assembly; the first election was held in December 1996, and NAR won 85 percent of the seats. Former prime minister Robinson became the country’s president in 1997, followed by Maxwell Richards in 2003.
The 2000 elections gave a renewed mandate to Basdeo and UNC, but shortly thereafter the country entered a politically turbulent period with three elections of three years and a historic – but not very successful – collaboration attempt between UNC and PNM. Patrick Manning returned as prime minister in 2002. In 2006, Basdeo was convicted of financial fraud.
The oil and gas deposits give the country a Caribbean-based, but vulnerable, economy. After the turn of the century, the aftermath of the international oil price decline in the late 1980s was still being fought, in the form of debt burden and unemployment. Violence and gang crime related to drugs is another serious problem, also in view of the increasing focus on the tourism industry. Against this backdrop, despite international protests, the country has reintroduced the death penalty. In 2005, Trinidad and Tobago became the seat of a Caribbean Supreme Court, which is intended to replace the British judiciary in the region.