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You are in:  Nations > Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago*Trinidad and Tobago flag
Basic facts
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The country 
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Capital: Port-of-Spain
Area: 5,128 sq km
Population: 1,169,682 (July 2001 est.)
Urbanisation: Urban 73 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 27 per cent (1998 Estimate)
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Economy

Exports: Petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, steel products, fertilizer, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus, flowers

Industry: Petroleum, chemicals, tourism, food processing, cement, beverages, cotton textiles

Agriculture: Major crops: cacao, sugar cane, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry

Currency: 1 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$), consisting of 100 cents

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

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The people

Ethnic: African descent 39.5 per cent, East Indian 40.3 per cent, mixed 18.4 per cent, white 0.6 per cent, Chinese and other 1.2 per cent.

Language: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese, Languages of North America. English is the principal language spoken, although Spanish, Hindi and a French dialect are also used.

Religion: Roman Catholic 29.4 per cent, Hindu 23.8 per cent, Anglican 10.9 per cent, Muslim 5.8 per cent, Presbyterian 3.4 per cent, other 26.7 per cent. About three-fifths of the people are Christian, with Roman Catholics constituting the largest single group. Anglicans form another substantial community. Hindus (25 per cent) and Muslims (6 per cent) make up the major non-Christian groups.

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The history

Independence: 31 August 1962 (from the United Kingdom). Elections in November 1995 brought Basdeo Panday to power, the country's first Prime Minister of Indian origin. Observers viewed this political change as a significant development because Trinidad and Tobago's large Indian population has felt marginalised by the political domination of the black Caribbean population. Panday promised to introduce legislation that would ban racial discrimination.

Government: Trinidad and Tobago is a republic. The constitution of 1976 provides for a President and a bicameral legislature, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. An electoral college of members elects the President from both houses of the legislature. The House of Representatives has 36 members, popularly elected to five-year terms. The President appoints the 31 members of the Senate.

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