Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean, thanks to its large reserves of oil and gas, the exploitation of which dominates its economy.
Inhabited mostly by people of African and Indian descent, the two-island state enjoys a per-capita income well above the average for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Dependence on oil has made the country a hostage to world crude prices, whose fall during the 1980s and early 1990s led to the build-up of a large foreign debt, widespread unemployment and labour unrest.
As with other nations in the region, Trinidad and Tobago – a major trans-shipment point for cocaine – has been troubled by drug- and gang-related violence, which threatens the tourism industry.
Calypso music and steel drum bands feature in carnival celebrations on Trinidad. Tobago attracts diving enthusiasts and nature lovers.
- Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Capital: Port of Spain
- Population 1.3 million
- Area 5,128 sq km (1,980 sq miles)
- Major language English
- Major religionsChristianity, Hinduism, Islam
- Life expectancy 67 years (men), 74 years (women)
- Currency Trinidad and Tobago dollar