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Tobago /təˈbɡ/ is an autonomous island within the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located northeast of the mainland 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.

Tobago
Autonomous Island
Flag of Tobago
Flag
Official seal of Tobago
Seal
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).
Map of Tobago (large island), Little Tobago (far right) Goat Island (between Tobago and Little Tobago) & St. Giles Island (top right).
Coordinates: 11°15′00″N 60°40′01″W / 11.250°N 60.667°W / 11.250; -60.667Coordinates: 11°15′00″N 60°40′01″W / 11.250°N 60.667°W / 11.250; -60.667
Country Trinidad and Tobago
Capital and largest city Scarborough
Government
 • President of
Trinidad and Tobago
Anthony Carmona
 • Prime Minister of
Trinidad and Tobago
Keith Rowley
 • Chief Secretary of Tobago Kelvin Charles
 • Legislature Tobago House of Assembly (Unicameral)
Area[1]
 • Total 300 km2 (116 sq mi)
Population (January 2011)[1]
 • Total 60,874
 • Density 200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Calling code 1 868
Official language(s) English
Currency Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)
TLD .tt

Contents

PopulationEdit

The population was 60,874 at the 2011 census.[1] The capital, Scarborough, has a population of about 25,550. While Trinidad is multiethnic, Tobago's population is primarily of African descent, although with a growing proportion of Trinidadians of East Indian descent and Europeans. Between 2000 and 2011, the population of Tobago grew by 12.55 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing areas of Trinidad and Tobago.

HistoryEdit

 
The Great Courland Bay Monument in Tobago commemorates the Courland colonization of the Americas
 
French attack on the British island of Tobago in 1781 with text. French painting from 1784.

Christopher Columbus first sighted Tobago in 1498. Subsequently, several powers fought over possession of the island.[2]

The original Island Carib population had to defend the island against other Amerindian tribes.[citation needed] Then, during the late 1500s and early 1600s, the natives defended it from European colonists, including 1654, including an attempt by the Courlanders, who colonised the island intermittently between 1637-1690. Over the ensuing years, the Curonians (Duchy of Courland), Dutch, English, French, Spanish and Swedish had caused Tobago to become a focal point in repeated attempts, of colonisation, which led to the island having changed hands 33 times, the most in Caribbean history, before the Treaty of Paris ceded it to the British in 1814.

From about 1672, during the temporary British rule of 1672-1674,[3] Tobago had a period of stability during which plantation culture began.[citation needed] Sugar, cotton and indigo factories sprang up and Africans were imported[by whom?] to work as slaves. The economy flourished. France had abandoned the island to Britain in 1763,[4] and by 1777 Tobago was exporting great quantities of cotton, indigo, rum and sugar. But in 1781, the French re-invaded Tobago, and destroyed the plantations, and forced the British governor to surrender. The island's buoyant economy fell into decline.[citation needed]

In 1814, when the island again came under British control, another phase of successful sugar-production began.[citation needed] But a severe hurricane in 1847, combined with the collapse of plantation underwriters, marked the end of the sugar trade. In 1889 the island became 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[by whom?] to diversify the economy. The development of a tourist industry began.[citation needed]

GovernmentEdit

Local Government and Central Government functions in Tobago are handled by the Tobago House of Assembly. The current Chief Secretary of the THA is Kelvin Charles. The People's National Movement controls 10 of the 12 seats in the Assembly, with the Progressive Democratic Patriots led by union leader Watson Duke controlling two seats since the 23 January 2017 election.[5]

Tobago has two parliamentary seats, Tobago East and Tobago West, which are controlled by the People's National Movement, which won them in the general elections of Trinidad and Tobago on 7 September 2015.[citation needed] The island was most recently 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.[citation needed]

ParishesEdit

Tobago is divided into seven parishes – three in the Western Region and four in the Eastern Region:

Region Parish name Land area (km2)[1] Population[1]
Western Saint Andrew 21 17,536
Western Saint Patrick 38 15,560
Western Saint David 38 8,733
Eastern Saint George 43 6,875
Eastern Saint Mary 56 3,297
Eastern Saint Paul 49 6,048
Eastern Saint John 55 2,825

GeographyEdit

 
Castara Bay

Tobago has a land area of 300 km²[1] and is approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) long and 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) wide. It is located at latitude 11° 15' N, longitude 60° 40' W, slightly north of Trinidad.

Tobago is primarily hilly, mountainous and of volcanic origin.[6] The southwest of the island is flat and consists largely of coralline limestone. The hilly spine of the island is called the Main Ridge. The highest point in Tobago is the 550-metre (1804 ft) Pigeon Peak near Speyside.[7]

ClimateEdit

The climate is tropical, and the island lies just south of the Atlantic hurricane belt. Average rainfall varies between 3,800 mm (150 inches) on the Main Ridge to less than 1,250 mm (49 inches) in the southwest. There are two seasons: a wet season between June and December, and a dry season between January and May.[8]

HurricanesEdit

Although Tobago lies south of the hurricane belt, it was nevertheless struck by Hurricane Flora on September 30, 1963. The effects were so severe that they changed the face of Tobago's economy. The hurricane laid waste to the banana, coconut, and cacao plantations that largely sustained the economy, and wreaked considerable damage on the largely pristine tropical rainforest that makes up a large proportion of the interior of the island's northern half. Many of the plantations were subsequently abandoned, and the economy changed direction away from cash crop agriculture and toward tourism. In 2004 Hurricane Ivan, while less severe than Flora, also caused significant damage.

EcologyEdit

 
Greenstone ceremonial axe, from shell midden, Mount Irvine Bay, Tobago, 1957.

The Tobago Forest Reserve (Main Ridge Reserve) is the oldest protected rain forest in the Western hemisphere and is biodiverse. It was designated a protected Crown reserve on 17 April 1776 after representations by Soame Jenyns, a Member of Parliament in Britain responsible for Tobago's development. It has remained a protected area since.[citation needed]

This forested area has great biodiversity, including many species of birds (such as the dancing blue-backed manakin), mammals, frogs, (non-venomous) 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.[citation needed]

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 tropicbirds, magnificent frigatebirds and Audubon's shearwaters, among others.[citation needed]

Environmental problemsEdit

Coral reefs have been damaged recently by silt and mud runoff during construction of a road along the northeast 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.[citation needed]

Economy and tourismEdit

 
Speyside - Small town on NE coast of Tobago, West Indies. Main activities: fishing, agriculture, bird-watching, snorkelling scuba diving.
 
St. Giles Island - Northernmost land area of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. Protected bird sanctuary. Scuba diving nearby.
 
Charlotteville - Small town on northern tip of the island of Tobago, West Indies.
 
Tobago - August 2013 (1530)
 
Parlatuvier Bay - North central coast of Tobago, West Indies. In the distance is a dive site named "The Sisters".
 
Tobago Cuisine - Crab and Dumplings
 
Little Tobago island - Located off the north east village of Speyside, Tobago, West Indies. It is a bird sanctuary.
 
Panoramic shot of Downtown Scarborough, Tobago
 
Englishman's Bay - North central coast of Tobago, West Indies
 
Tobago Cuisine - Pacro Water and Sea Moss drinks
 
Speyside - Popular diving sites at Manta Reef and Angel Reef
 
Pigeon Point, Tobago.
 
Fishing - Tobago, West Indies
 
The port of Scarborough, Tobago. Administrative and commercial capital of the island.
 
Castara village beach

Tobago's main economy is based on tourism, fishing, and government spending, government spending being the largest. Tourism is still a fledgling industry and needs to be developed. The local governing body, The Tobago House of Assembly (THA), employs 62% of the labor force.

Tobago's economy is tightly linked with Trinidad which 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 southwest around the airport and the coastal strip. Meanwhile, ecotourism is growing in significance, much of it focused 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 main island's northeast tip.

The southwestern tourist area around Crown Point, Store Bay, Buccoo Reef, and Pigeon Point 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 a daily fast ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough.[citation needed]

Tobago was thought by some to have been the island that inspired Robinson Crusoe,[9][10] but 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, Tobago was the filming location for the Walt Disney movie Swiss Family Robinson in 1959.

Swiss Family RobinsonEdit

In 1958, Tobago was chosen by the Walt Disney Company as the setting for a film based upon the Johann Wyss novel, Swiss Family Robinson. When producers saw the island for the first time, they "fell instantly in love".[11] [12] The script required animals, who arrived from all around the world, including 8 dogs, 2 giant tortoises, 40 monkeys, 2 elephants, 6 ostriches, 4 zebras, 100 flamingos, 6 hyenas, 2 anacondas, and a tiger.[11]

Filming locations include; Richmond Bay (the Robinsons beach), Mount Irvine Bay (the Pirates beach), and the Craig Hall Waterfalls. The infamous treehouse was constructed in a 200-foot tall saman in the Goldsborough Bay area. After filming, locals convinced Disney, who had intended to remove all evidence of filmmaking, to let the treehouse remain, sans interior furnishing. In 1960, the treehouse was listed for sale for $9,000, a fraction of its original cost, and became a popular attraction before the structure was finally destroyed by Hurricane Flora.[13] The tree still remains, however, and is located on the property of the Roberts Auto Service and Tyre Shop, located in Goodwood, just off of Windward Road. A local Tobago resident says, "The tree has fallen into obscurity; only a few of the older people knew of its significance. As a matter of fact, not many people know of the film Swiss Family Robinson, much less that it was filmed here in Tobago."[14]

DivingEdit

Tobago is also a popular diving location, since it is the southernmost of the Caribbean islands that 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.[citation needed]

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 (110 metres) long and has been sunk in 30 metres (98 feet) just off Rocky Point, Mt. Irvine. The top of the wreck is at 15 metres (49 feet). The wreck has an abundance of marine life, including a 4-foot (1.2-metre) jewfish, a member of the grouper family. The wreck was purposely sunk for divers, and so all the doors and windows were removed. The waters around the island are home to many species of tropical fish, rays, sharks, and turtles.[15]

GolfEdit

Tobago is home to two golf courses, both of which are open to visitors. The older of the two is Mount Irvine Hotel Golf Course, built in 1968. It was seen throughout the world after hosting the popular golf show "Shell's Wonderful World of Golf". The course is built amongst coconut palms and has a view of the Caribbean Sea from almost every hole. Formerly known as Tobago Plantations Golf Course, the recently renamed Magdalena Grand Hotel & Golf Club was opened in 2001 and has hosted the European Seniors Tour on three occasions.[citation needed]

Notable TobagoniansEdit

  • Keith Rowley Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley was elected as the 8th Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, taking up office on 9 September 2015
  • A.N.R. Robinson - Arthur Napoleon Raymond "Ray" Robinson was born on 16 December 1926 and died on 9 April 2014. Founding member of the national independence party (PNM) People's National Movement he later became disaffected and formed his own Tobago centred party the DAC (Democratic Action Committee) through which he successfully restored internal self-government and the Tobago House of Assembly. Returning to national politics Robinson led the (NAR) National Alliance for Reconstruction to a sweeping election victory. He became Prime Minister until 1990 when violent pro Islamists staged an armed coup which led to his party's downfall. He later became the third president of Trinidad and Tobago, serving from 1997 to 2003. His final crowning achievement was as joint founder of the (ICC) International Criminal Court seated in The Hague. Tobago's international airport was renamed Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport in his honour in May 2011.
  • Lalonde Gordon - Born in Lowlands on 25 November 1988, Gordon won a bronze medal in the 400-metres in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He was also part of the Trinidad and Tobago four-by-400-metre relay team that won a silver medal in the same Olympics.
  • Dwight Yorke - Born in Canaan on 3 November 1971, Yorke played football for Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sydney FC and Sunderland. He won 79 caps for his national side, scoring 19 goals.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Trinidad and Tobago 2011 Population and Housing Census Demographic Report (PDF) (Report). Trinidad and Tobago Central Statistical Office. p. 26. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Railroad Map of Trinidad". World Digital Library. 1925. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  3. ^ Nimblett, Lennie M. (2012). Tobago: The Union with Trinidad 1889-1899. AuthorHouse. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9781477234501. Retrieved 2015-02-05. 1672: England declared war against the Netherlands and captured Tobago.
    1673: The Dutch defeated the English in the third Anglo/Dutch war and occupied Tobago in May 1674 after the Peace of Westminster.
     
  4. ^ Nimblett, Lennie M. (2012). Tobago: The Union with Trinidad 1889-1899. AuthorHouse. p. 12. ISBN 9781477234501. Retrieved 2015-02-05. The island remained in dispute between Britain and France and was essentially a neutral island between 1679 and 1763. [...] Tobago [was] formally ceded by France to Britain at the Treaty of Paris 1763 after the Seven Years War. 
  5. ^ Staff (2009-01-22). "TOP gains ground, but unhappy with illegal advertising". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  6. ^ "Tobago (Great Tobago) [1551]". United Nations Earthwatch. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  7. ^ Anthony, Michael (2001). Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Maryland, and London, UK. ISBN 0-8108-3173-2. 
  8. ^ "Climate | Trinidad & Tobago Meteorological Service". www.metoffice.gov.tt. Retrieved 2017-02-02. 
  9. ^ Rhead, Louis. LETTER TO THE EDITOR: "Tobago Robinson Crusoe's Island", The New York Times, 5 August 1899.
  10. ^ "Robinson Crusoe and Tobago", Island Guide
  11. ^ a b Passafiume, Andrea. "SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Maltin 1995, p. 176.
  13. ^ "Some Really, Really Big Roots". Kevin Kidney. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Swiss Family Tree Found". Kevin Kidney. Retrieved 2015-01-06. 
  15. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/discover-tobago/2016/apr/15/tobagos-spectacular-dive-sites

External linksEdit