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Trinidad & TobagoTrinidad
& Tobago is named after the two largest islands in the country. The name Trinidad
comes from the Spanish, a Isla de la Trinidad, meaning "Island of
the Trinity," which was named by Christopher Columbus on this third voyage.
Tobago's name also comes from the Spanish word tabaco, meaning tobacco
since the island resembles a cigar.
Trinidad & Tobago are fairly diverse as people
of nearly all ethnicities call the islands home today. It took great efforts for
this reality to exist as the land is somewhat mountainous so farming is limited
and the indigenous people on the islands resisted foreign intervention for years.
The Spanish finally defeated the local population in the
1700s as they began giving away free land to anyone while the indigenous population
dwindled in numbers. This offer of land led to a fairly diverse country as even
former slaves were offered land to settle. This began the diverse culture on the
islands and even today these groups tend to cling to their individual cultures.
The flag of Trinidad &
Tobago has a couple different meanings. The flag is meant to represent the earth,
water, and fire; more specifically, the black symbolizes the wealth of the land
and dedication of the people, the red symbolizes warmth and energy from the sun,
the vitality of the land, and the courage and friendship of the people, the white
symbolizes the seas, the purity of the country's aspirations, and equality.
Name: Republic of Trinidad & Tobago
Independence: August 31, 1962
Capital: Port of Spain
Currency: Trinidadian Dollar
Population: 1,225,225 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Indian, African, mixed, & others
Religion: Roman Catholic & Protestant
This trend continued after the British took over
the islands of Trinidad & Tobago; they also
gave away free land to anyone willing to take it. During Spanish
rule most people who arrived were former slaves and Spanish, but with the vast expanse
of the British Empire, people arrived from China,
Africa, and India among hundreds of other places.
Today Trinidad & Tobago is still incredibly
diverse and the cultures of these people rule the daily way of life in the country.
The Indian population is generally Hindu, they don't eat beef, and they live
and dress much as their ancestors did in India. The Chinese
live and act in the same way their ancestors lived in China.
The greatest exception to this is the Africans, who have
essentially created a new culture, a culture that is at the core of Trinidadian
& Tobagonian culture today.
These Africans arrived from everywhere and from all circumstances. Some were former
slaves in the Americas, some were descendants of slaves, and some arrived straight
from Africa. The commonality was that they united to form
a unique culture rooted in Africa, but heavily reliant on aspects from the Americas.
The people were united by their ancestry, but also through music, food, dress, and
attitude. These people sought freedom and were optimistic as they began their own
farms and businesses. These people created a culture based on camaraderie and focused
on socialization in the forms of music, dance, dining, and more. The culture seems
alive and today little has changed.
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