Trinidad and Tobago are both rich with history.  They were originally settled over seven thousand years ago by pre-historic people about which little is known.  The first European settler to reach the islands, over five thousand years after their original settlement, was Christopher Columbus who arrived there at the end of the fifteenth century.  At that time, he landed only on Trinidad and left Tobago alone.  Columbus’s Spaniards settled for a time in Trinidad but eventually found that it was not a worthwhile place for them to be and gave the area up.

Both Trinidad and Tobago were fought over for a long time after that.  The Roman Catholic missionaries mostly took over Trinidad and they were followed by the French.  At the same time, Tobago was being taken over by the British and the Dutch.  It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that both areas were controlled by the same people, when the British established their presence more strongly than before.

Under British rule, the area became a plantation land which was used to export sugar.  Later, exports from the area would be made primarily of cacao and, later still, of petroleum.  Throughout all of this time, the plantations were run primarily by slave labor.  It was not until after World War II that the area was freed from slavery.  In 1962, it became an independent country made up of both of the islands.

Travelers interested in learning more about the area should check out the books on our recommended reading page at .