Tobago
Overview
 
Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles...

. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 and southeast of Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

. The island lies outside the hurricane belt
Hurricane belt
The hurricane belt is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, which is prone to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season....

. According to the earliest English-language source cited in the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

, Tobago bore a name that has become the English word tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

.

Tobago has a land area of 300 km²
1 E8 m²
To help compare different orders of magnitude and geographical regions, listed below are areas between 100 km2 and 1000 km2. See also areas of other orders of magnitude.* Areas less than 100 km2* 100 km2 is equal to:** 1 E+8 m²...

 (116 mi²), and is approximately 42 km (26.1 mi) long and 10 km (6.2 mi) wide.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles...

. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 and southeast of Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

. The island lies outside the hurricane belt
Hurricane belt
The hurricane belt is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, which is prone to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season....

. According to the earliest English-language source cited in the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

, Tobago bore a name that has become the English word tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

.

Geography and climate

Tobago has a land area of 300 km²
1 E8 m²
To help compare different orders of magnitude and geographical regions, listed below are areas between 100 km2 and 1000 km2. See also areas of other orders of magnitude.* Areas less than 100 km2* 100 km2 is equal to:** 1 E+8 m²...

 (116 mi²), and is approximately 42 km (26.1 mi) long and 10 km (6.2 mi) wide. It is located at latitude 11° 9' N, longitude 60° 40' W, slightly north of Trinidad. The population is 54,084 (2000). The capital is Scarborough
Scarborough, Tobago
Scarborough, Tobago is the largest town in Tobago, one of the two main islands of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Its population is around 17,000, almost one-third of the population of the island. The town is dominated by Fort King George, an 18th century fortification named after King George...

 which has a population of about 17,000. While Trinidad is multiethnic
Multiethnic society
A multiethnic society is one with members belonging to more than one ethnic group, in contrast to societies which are ethnically homogenous. In practice, virtually all contemporary national societies are multiethnic...

, the population of Tobago is primarily of African descent, although with a growing proportion of Trinidadians of East Indian descent and Europeans (predominantly Germans and Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

ns). Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Tobago grew by 11.28 percent, making it one of the fastest growing areas of the country.

Tobago is primarily hilly and of volcanic origin. The southwest of the island is flat and consists largely of coral
Coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

line limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

. The hilly spine of the island, the Main Ridge. The highest point in Tobago is the 550 metre (1804 ft) Pigeon Peak near Speyside.

Tobago is divided into seven parishes – three in the Western Region and four in the Eastern Region:
  • Western Tobago:
    • Saint Andrew
    • Saint Patrick
    • Saint David
  • Eastern Tobago:
    • Saint George
    • Saint Mary
    • Saint Paul
    • Saint John


The climate is tropical, and the island lies just south of the Atlantic hurricane belt
Hurricane belt
The hurricane belt is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, which is prone to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season....

. Average rainfall varies between 3800 mm on the Main Ridge to less than 1250 mm in the south-west of the island. There are two seasons: a wet season between July and November, and a dry season between December and June.

History

At the time of European contact, Tobago was inhabited by Island Caribs. The first European visitors appear to have been English in 1580.
The first settlers were Courlanders
Courland colonization of the Americas
The Duchy of Courland was the smallest nation to colonize the Americas with a colony on the island of Tobago from 1654 to 1659, and intermittently from 1660 to 1689. -History:...

 in 1654. It changed hands 33 times between Courland
Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

 (vassal of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

), Spain, England, France, Sweden, and the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 until in 1814 it became part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. In 1889 Tobago was united with Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 into a British crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

. In 1962 they became an independent Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 nation of Trinidad and Tobago, in 1976 a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

.

Economy and tourism

Tobago's economy is tightly linked with Trinidad, and is based on liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemicals, and steel. The principal economic forces specific to Tobago are tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 and government spending. Conventional beach and water-sports tourism is largely focussed in the south-west around the airport and the coastal strip; however, ecotourism
Ecotourism
Ecotourism is a form of tourism visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas, intended as a low impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism...

 is growing in significance, and much of it is focussed on the large area of protected forest in the centre and north of the main island and on Little Tobago
Little Tobago
250px|thumb|right|Looking across to [[Saint Giles Island|St. Giles Island]] from Little TobagoLittle Tobago is a small island off the northeastern coast of Tobago, and part of the republic of Trinidad and Tobago...

, a small island off the north east tip of the main island.

Tourism is concentrated in the southwest of the island, around Crown Point, Store Bay, Pigeon Point and Buccoo Reef. This area has large expanses of sand and is dominated by resort type developments. Tobago has many idyllic beaches around its coastline, especially those at Castara
Castara
Castara is a picturesque seaside village on the Leeward coast of the island of Tobago, the smaller of the two islands in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago...

, Bloody Bay, and Englishman's Bay
Englishman's Bay
Englishman's Bay is a secluded beach on the leeward coast of Tobago, between Castara and Parlatuvier. Although the bay does not draw the large numbers of beachgoers that Tobago's western beaches do, it is considered of the island's most beautiful. The beach itself is a classic crescent shape,...

.

Tobago is linked to the world through the Crown Point International Airport and the Scarborough harbour. Domestic flights connect Tobago with Trinidad, and international flights connect with the Caribbean and Europe. There is also a daily fast ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough.
The island of Tobago has been considered the island that the story Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe that was first published in 1719. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and...

was written about. However, the book is probably based on some of the experiences of Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk was a Scottish sailor who spent four years as a castaway when he was marooned on an uninhabited island. It is probable that his travels provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe....

, who was marooned in the Pacific's Juan Fernández Islands
Juan Fernández Islands
The Juan Fernández Islands are a sparsely inhabited island group reliant on tourism and fishing in the South Pacific Ocean, situated about off the coast of Chile, and is composed of three main volcanic islands; Robinson Crusoe Island, Alejandro Selkirk Island and Santa Clara Island, the first...

. Adding to the confusion for modern claims of fame, this island was the filming location for the Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 movie The Swiss Family Robinson
The Swiss Family Robinson
-History:Written by Swiss pastor Johann David Wyss and edited by his son Johann Rudolf Wyss, the novel was intended to teach his four sons about family values, good husbandry, the uses of the natural world and self-reliance...

.

Tobago is the site of the famous "mystery tombstone".

Environmental problems

Coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s have been damaged recently by silt and mud runoff during construction of a road along the north east coast. There has also been damage to the reef in Charlotteville
Charlotteville
Charlotteville is a village lying on the north-eastern tip of Tobago on Man-o-war Bay.First European settlers to the area arrived 1633, with more settlers arrived in 1639. The history of the village is closely linked to sugar farming, and Charlotteville's deep water harbour was also of importance...

 village caused by sealing the road at Flagstaff Hill and diverting more silty water down the stream from Flagstaff down to Charlotteville.

Diving

Tobago is also a popular diving location, since it is the most southerly of the Caribbean islands which have coral
Coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

 communities. Trinidad, which is further south, has no significant coral because of low salinity
Salinity
Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

 and high silt content, the result of its position close to the mouth of Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

's Orinoco River
Orinoco
The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America at . Its drainage basin, sometimes called the Orinoquia, covers , with 76.3% of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia...

. Scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 on Tobago tends to be centred at Speyside
Speyside, Trinidad and Tobago
Speyside is a town in northern Tobago within Saint John Parish. It lies on the leeward coast, across from the island of Little Tobago , 26 km northeast of Scarborough, overlooking Tyrrel's Bay...

, almost diametrically across the island from the airport.

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 long and has been sunk in 30 metres/100 feet just off Rocky Point, Mt. Irvine. The top of the wreck is at 15 metres/50 feet. The wreck has an abundance of marine life, including a 4-foot jewfish, a member of the grouper
Grouper
Groupers are fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes.Not all serranids are called groupers; the family also includes the sea basses. The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera: Epinephelus...

 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
Batoidea
Batoidea is a superorder of cartilaginous fish commonly known as rays and skates, containing more than 500 described species in thirteen families...

, shark
Shark
Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

s, and turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s.

Ecology

The Tobago Forest Reserve (or the Main Ridge Reserve) claims to be the oldest protected forests in the Western world. It was designated as a protected Crown reserve on April 17, 1776 following representations by Soame Jenyns
Soame Jenyns
Soame Jenyns was an English writer.- Biography :He was the son of Sir Roger Jenyns and his second wife Elizabeth Soame, the daughter of Sir Peter Soame. He was born in London, and was educated at St Johns College, Cambridge. In 1742 he was chosen M.P...

 a Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

  in Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 who had the responsibility for the development of Tobago. It has remained a protected area ever since.

This forested area has great biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

 including many species of birds, mammals, frogs, (nonpoisonous) 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.

Little Tobago, the small neighbouring island, supports some of the best dry forest
Trinidad and Tobago dry forests
Trinidad and Tobago dry forests are tropical dry forests located primarily in western and southern parts of the island of Trinidad, in southern parts of the island of Tobago and on smaller offshore islands including Chacachacare, Monos, Huevos, Gaspar Grande, Little Tobago and Saint Giles...

 remaining in Tobago. Little Tobago and St. Giles Island are important seabird
Seabird
Seabirds are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations...

 nesting colonies, with Red-billed Tropicbird
Red-billed Tropicbird
The Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus, also known as the Boatswain Bird is a tropicbird, one of three closely related seabirds of tropical oceans.-Distribution and habitat:...

, Magnificent Frigatebird
Magnificent Frigatebird
The Magnificent Frigatebird was sometimes previously known as Man O'War, reflecting its rakish lines, speed, and aerial piracy of other birds....

 and Audubon's Shearwater
Audubon's Shearwater
Audubon's Shearwater, Puffinus lherminieri, is a common tropical seabird from the family Procellariidae. Sometimes called Dusky-backed Shearwater, the scientific name of this species commemorates the French naturalist Félix Louis L'Herminier....

 amongst others.

Government

Local Government functions in Tobago are handled by the Tobago House of Assembly
Tobago House of Assembly
The Tobago House of Assembly is the local government body responsible for the island of Tobago within the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The THA was established in 1980 to rectify some of the disparities in the relationship between the two islands, though a prior body using the same...

. The current Chief Secretary
Chief Secretary
The Chief Secretary is the title of a senior civil servant in members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and, historically, in the British Empire. Prior to the dissolution of the colonies, the Chief Secretary was the second most important official in a colony of the British Empire after the...

 of the THA is Orville London. The People's National Movement
People's National Movement
The People's National Movement is the present-day opposition political party in Trinidad and Tobago. Founded in 1955 by Eric Williams, it won the 1956 General Elections and went on to hold power for an unbroken 30 years. After the death of Williams in 1981 George Chambers led the party...

 controls 8 seats in the Assembly, while the Tobago Organization of the People
Tobago Organization of the People
The Tobago Organisation of the People is an autonomist political party in Tobago formed in 2008, a members of the People's Partnership coalition. Its current leader is Ashworth Jack...

 controls the 4 other seats.

There are two parliamentary seats
Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago
The Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago is the legislative branch of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. The Parliament is bicameral. It consists of the elected House of Representatives, which has 43 members elected for a five year term in single-seat constituencies, and the Senate which has 31...

, Tobago East and Tobago West which are controlled by the TOP
Tobago Organization of the People
The Tobago Organisation of the People is an autonomist political party in Tobago formed in 2008, a members of the People's Partnership coalition. Its current leader is Ashworth Jack...

, winning them in the general elections in Trinidad and Tobago on May 24, 2010.

Tobago featured in the international press in early 2007 for its forward thinking in the creation of a Minister of Mental Health position. Minister Ellen Tang was appointed on the 1-year anniversary of the launch of the hugely successful 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.

Hurricanes

Although Tobago lies to the south of the hurricane belt, it was nevertheless struck by Hurricane Flora
Hurricane Flora
Hurricane Flora is among the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history, with a death total of over 7,000. The seventh tropical storm and sixth hurricane of the 1963 Atlantic hurricane season, Flora developed from a disturbance in the Intertropical Convergence Zone on September 26 while...

 on September 30, 1963. The effects of the hurricane were so severe that they changed the face of Tobago's economy. The hurricane laid waste to the plantations of banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

, coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

, and cacao, which largely sustained the economy. It wreaked considerable damage to the largely pristine tropical rainforest that makes up a large proportion of the interior of the northern half of the island. Subsequently, many of the plantations were abandoned, and the economy changed direction away from cash crop agriculture toward tourism.
In 2004 Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan was a large, long-lived, Cape Verde-type hurricane that caused widespread damage in the Caribbean and United States. The cyclone was the ninth named storm, the sixth hurricane and the fourth major hurricane of the active 2004 Atlantic hurricane season...

, although less severe than Flora, did cause significant damage.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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