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The island of Trinidad (4 828 km 2), 15 km off the Venezuelan coast (Orinoco Delta), is crossed by three west-east mountain ranges (continuation of the Venezuelan coastal cordillera); the northern crystalline mountain range in Cerro del Aripo reaches 940 m above sea level. In the middle and southern chain of Cretaceous sediments, 300 m above sea level are hardly exceeded. The northern longitudinal valley of the Caroni River drains westward into the alluvial Caroni swamps. The southern longitudinal valley is a cut up table plain. In the southwest of Trinidad is the asphalt lake Pitch Lake (La Brea). The island of Tobago, 35 km north-northeast of Trinidad (300 km 2) is made up of a single, 25 km long mountain range, which rises to 576 m above sea level and slopes to the southwest to form a coral limestone plain.
The islands have a tropical climate with even less seasonal temperature fluctuations than on the other West Indies (24 ° C mean January, 26 ° C mean September temperature) and are influenced by the northeast trade winds. The annual rainfall varies between 2,500 mm on the east and a maximum of 1,600 mm on the west coast; Rainy season July to December.
Evergreen rainforest covered v. a. the mountains of Trinidad; in the rain shadow of the mountains and in the west of the island there are rain-green wet and dry forests as well as savannahs. Half of Tobago is covered by rainforest.
Tobago, like other West Indies, where a plantation economy based on slave labor was developed in the 18th century, is populated by blacks. The island of Trinidad, on which around 95% of the total population lives, has a pronounced ethnic diversity. The development was initiated by French refugees who came to the island with their slaves to plant coffee and sugar cane plantations. After their liberation (1834), the former slaves settled as small farmers in the woodlands. Indian contract workers came to the island between 1846 and 1916. According to itypetravel, today around 35% of the population are of Indian descent, 34% have African roots, the rest of the population are mixed people and, to a very small extent, Chinese and whites. In addition to English, a French patois, Spanish as well as Chinese and Hindi are spoken to a small extent. The average population density is (2017) 267 residents / km2. The proportion of the urban population is only 8%. The largest city is Port of Spain, in which around 548,000 people live. The main town on Tobago is Scarborough.
Social: The public health system is relatively well developed and medical care is free. In 2011, there were 1.9 doctors and 2.7 beds in state hospitals for every 1,000 residents.
The constitution guarantees freedom of religion; all religious communities are legally equal. – Christians make up about half of the population: 21.6% of the population belong to the Catholic Church (Archdiocese of Port of Spain), almost 21% to Protestant denominations (Pentecostals [12%], Seventh-day Adventists [4.1%]), Presbyterians / Congregationalists 2.5%, Baptists [1.2%], Methodists [0.7%], Brethren [0.3%] and others). 5.7% are Anglicans.
18.2% of the population profess Hinduism. The religious minorities include Muslims (5%) as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses [1.5%], Bahais and Buddhists. Among the black population there are followers of the Afro-American syncretistic religions of the “Spiritual Baptists” (5.7% of the population) and the Rastafarians.
There is general compulsory schooling from the age of 5 to 12, before that a preschool can be attended. The seven-year primary school tuition is free, as is secondary school tuition for those who have passed an entrance exam. Children who have not been given a secondary school place can attend post-primary classes up to the age of 15. The secondary schools are divided into five- or seven-year general education schools and those with a more practical vocational orientation. In the tertiary sector there are technical colleges, two teacher training institutions and numerous private providers. A national university (University of Trinidad and Tobago) has existed since 2004; also a branch of the University of the West Indies (near Port of Spain).