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Trinidad & Tobago has been conquered and re-conquered since its discovery by Christopher Columbus, who claimed it for Spain in 1498 and took it from the Amerindians. A Spanish colony was founded on Trinidad in 1532 but was destroyed by Sir Walter Raleigh from Britain in 1595. 
Trinidad remained a Spanish possession from the 15th Century and the Cedula of Population in 1783, gave French planters and their slaves the option to emigrate from the French colonies to the Trinidad. In  1797 the British booted out the Spanish and negotiated a friendly treaty to rule with the Spanish.
In the following years, enslaved Africans were brought in to work on sugar plantations and in 1802, the island became a British colony. After slavery was abolished by Britain, planters imported thousands of indentured labourers from India, China and the Middle East.
trinidad-port-of-spainIn 1889, Tobago was attached to Trinidad as an administrative ward by the British. The islands achieved independence from Great Britain in 1962 and became the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 1976.
The total land area of each island is:  Trinidad: 4828 sq km (1864 sq miles). Tobago: 300 sq km (116 sq miles).
Population: 1,296,000 (official estimate 2001).
Population Density: 252.7 per sq km.
Capital: Port of Spain. Population: 49,031 (2000).
Trinidad and her tiny sister island of Tobago lie off the Venezuelan coast. Central Trinidad is flat and mainly agricultural. Along the north of Trinidad runs the Northern Mountain Range creating a backdrop over the country's capital, Port of Spain.  South of Port of Spain on the west coast the terrain is low, and the Caroni Swamps contain a magnificent bird sanctuary largely inhabited by the scarlet ibis. On the north and east coasts lie beautiful beaches. 
The official language of Trinidad is English. French, Spanish, Hindi and Chinese are also spoken.

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