The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state that occupies a total surface of 1,979 sq mi (5,128 km²) divided into 23 islands. The two main archipelagos, Tobago and Trinidad, house the island's main attractions and government offices, while many of the small islands are poorly developed.
Trinidad and Tobago is near Venezuela, in South America. Port of Spain, the capital city, is on the island of Trinidad, and is the main administrative center of Trinidad and Tobago. The major city is the Borough of Chaguanas, with a total population of over 67,000. Chaguanas is surrounded by water on three sides and is home to several parks and a large wetland area.
The island has an ancient history that includes 7,000 years of pre-colonization inhabitants. Formerly a British colony, Trinidad and Tobago became an independent republic in 1976. George Maxwell Richards, the president as of 2007, is a local resident and a well-respected politician. A prime minister and a senate, both appointed directly by the president, hold the majority vote on state decisions.
The population of Trinidad and Tobago has very mixed demographics, a result of years of colonization, slave trafficking, and immigration. Afro-Trinidadians, also known as Creole, are a mix of African nationals with the local indigenous population and the major ethnic group on the island. Indo-Trinidadians are closely behind. Minority ethnic groups include everything from Chinese immigrants to descendants of the original French and British pioneers.
Despite the variety of races living in Trinidad and Tobago, the only official language is English. Small rural groups speak several dialects, including Bhojpuri and Tobagonian Creole English. A large part of the population studies Spanish to be able to communicate with their neighboring countries.
Trinidad and Tobago holds the second largest carnival in America, right after Brazil. The pre-Lenten Carnival is actually a mix of Christian and indigenous festivities, and it includes a series of celebrations, including dancing, food, and decorations. The Afro-Caribbean music Calypso was born in Trinidad and Tobago and slowly expanded around the world.
Tourism is one of the island's main sources of income. Visitors to Trinidad and Tobago arrive mainly for its eco-tourism opportunities. Surfing and water sports are extremely popular on the island, as are hiking, swimming, and yachting. Nature lovers can enjoy birdwatching tours or camp deep into the rainforests. International investments also generate an important part of the country's money.