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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. The island lies just 11 km (6.8 mi) off the northeastern coast of Venezuela and sits on the continental shelf of South America. It is a large island with an area of 4,768 km2 (1,841 sq miles.
Caribs and Arawaks lived in Trinidad long before Columbus encountered the islands on his third voyage in 1498. Trinidad remained Spanish until 1797, but it was largely settled by French colonists from the French Caribbean, especially Martinique. In 1889 the two islands became a single crown colony. Trinidad and Tobago obtained self-governance in 1958 and independence from the British Empire in 1962.
There are numerous hill ranges, plains, beaches, waterfalls and it has a rainy season and a dry season. With a very vivid mix of cultures and peoples the food experience in Trinidad is among the most colourful and varied in the Caribbean with East Indian, Spanish, African, Chinese among the main food styles.
The island of Trinidad has a rich biodiversity - The fauna is overwhelmingly of South American origin. There are about 100 species of mammals including the Guyanan Red Howler Monkey, the Collared Peccary, the Red Brocket Deer and the Ocelot, and dozens of bats. There are over 400 species of birds including the endemic Trinidad Piping-Guan. Reptiles are well represented, with about 92 recorded species including the largest species of snake in the world, the Green Anaconda, the Spectacled Caiman, and one of the largest lizards in the Americas, the Green Iguana. The largest of turtles (the Leatherback Turtle) nests on Trinidad's eastern and northern beaches. There are 37 recorded frogs, including the beautiful little endemic El Tucuche Golden Tree Frog, and the more widespread huge Marine Toad. About 43 species of freshwater fishes are known from Trinidad, including the well known Guppy. It is estimated that there are at least 80,000 arthropods, inclusive of over 600 species of butterflies.
It is an industrial island with a diversified economy, based to a large extent on oil, natural gas, industry and agriculture. It is one of the leading gas-based export centres in the world, being the leading exporter of ammonia and methanol and among the top five exporters of liquefied natural gas. This has allowed Trinidad to capitalise on the biggest mineral reserves within its territories. It is an oil-rich country and stable economically.
Unlike most other Caribbean islands, tourism is not the main industry though it has been developing more rapidly in the last decade and the infrastructure and tourism approach has been meteoric with new hotel brands developing in recent years. Trinidad is more known for its shopping, culture, diversity, nature and for having the best carnival in the world. It’s fast paced towns and cities are great for those looking for faster paced tourism. But for those with a more easy approach, this too can be found in the more remote areas of the island away from the principal centres. .