ISLAND OF TOBAGO
Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is 22 miles long and 7 miles wide and is just northeast of Trinidad. The capital of Tobago is Scarborough, which is located on the island’s southeast coast. Tobago lies just south of, and outside, the Atlantic hurricane belt.
The island has had an exciting history, having been fought over by numerous nations since 1498 when it was sighted by Columbus. It changed hands 33 times during this period, the most in Caribbean history. Tobago was finally ceded to the British in 1814 under the Treaty of Paris.
Because of this history, the island has many interesting sites that provide visual evidence of the events that brought different nationalities and cultures to the island.
Today Tobago is an island rich in history, culture and natural beauty. Many of the folktales, superstitions, art, music and traditional dances reflect the island’s European and African roots. These are celebrated annually during the Tobago Heritage Festival held from early July to August.
The island hosts the hemisphere’s oldest natural rain forest preserve. The Tobago Forest Reserve has great biodiversity, including 220 species of birds, 133 types of butterflies, and 14 species of frogs. The waters surrounding Tobago are home to 5 species of turtles, including the endangered giant leatherback. In all, Tobago is home to over 6,000 species of plants and animals on just 116 square miles of land.