Trinidad and Tobago

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County Trinidad & Tobago
Subdivision of England
County Seat Port of Spain
Other Towns St. Ferdinand, Scarborough
Languages
Official English
Other Francian, Brithenig, Pan-Caribbean English, Castilian
Council Chair Hon. George M. Richards
Members of ParliamentJaques Gérard de St. Laurent (Lords)
Giles Humphries (Commons)
Area 1978 sq. miles
Population 1,050,000 (2005)
Establishment 1797 (Trinidad) 1867 (Tobago)
1932 (English county, separate from Tobago)
2006 (Trinidad & Tobago)

Trinidad and Tobago are islands in the Carribean Sea and one of England's several overseas territories. Both islands were administered as a de facto province of Florida-Caribbea and for a short time in the aftermath of the Florida War in 2004, Tobago was controlled by Latvia.

Administration

Trinidad and Tobago were constituted as English counties in 1932; in 2006, the two counties were amalgamated into a single county.

History

Originally inhabited by Caribe Natives, the first settlement was made by the Castilians in the 1530s. Trinidad remained a severely underpopulated territory for many years, until Neofrancian nobleman Roume de St. Laurent, then living in Grenada, was able to obtain a Cédula de Población from the Castilian King Charles III in 1783. This Cédula de Población was more generous than an earlier one and granted free lands to Roman Catholic foreign settlers and their slaves in Trinidad willing to swear allegiance to the Spanish king. The land grant was thirty two acres for each man, woman and child and half of that for each slave brought. As a result, English, Kemrese, Scots, Irish, German, Italian and American families arrived. A few Protestants among them profited from Governor Don José Maria Chacon's generous interpretation of the law. The French Revolution (1789) also had an impact on Trinidad's culture since it resulted in the emigration of a number of French nobles and several Martiniquan planters and their households to Trinidad.

The population of Port of Spain increased from under 3,000 to over 10,000 in five years and the inhabitants in 1797 consisted of mixed-races, Spaniards, Africans, French republican soldiers, emigree French nobles, Kemrese adventurers, retired pirates and privateers and many American settlers.

Trinidad became a crown colony in 1797 when General Sir Ralph Abercromby disembarked near Port of Spain and the Castilian Governor-General capitulated without any violence. Spanish laws were respected and incorporated into the body of common laws of the colony and later county. In 1888 the colony of Tobago was heavily indebted to Trinidad, and there was no prospect of an economic recovery. Thus, the colony of Tobago was amalgamated to the crown colony of Trinidad, the new colony now being called Trinidad & Tobago. The seat of administration was Port of Spain (Trinidad). The twentieth century saw the immigration of many Cantonese and Indians via Hong Kong and various English colonies in the Indian rajadoms.

The democratic movement began in the 1920s with the formation of Trade Unions. A new constitution was passed, according to which a fragment of the assembly was elected; the franchise was tied to property and literacy qualifications which virtually excluded many inhabitants (descendants of slaves as well as Asian immigrants) from the democratic process. In 1929, property and literacy requirements were abandoned, thus integrating all inhabitants into the democratic process.

In 1932 Trinidad and Tobago were admitted to England as separate counties and strong educational and economic development prgrammes were instituted. The process of democratisation was interrupted in 1951, when the County was captured by Florida-Caribbea; for a decade following, dominion see-sawed between England and Florida-Caribbea, who at last seized the islands in 1963 from when the territories remained under Floridian rule until the Florida War in 2004. Florida-Caribbea was never able to successfully control Trinidad and Tobago, and the populations of both counties carried on much as they had for the previous half century, barely noticing the presence of Floridian troops.

After the war, Trinidad and Tobago were readmitted by England as separate counties, though Tobago spent a short stint as a colony of Latvia again. Due to economic difficulties in the aftermath of the war, which the sparsely populated county of Tobago could not afford, County Tobago was united with Trinidad on 25 March 2006, forming the county Trinidad and Tobago.

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