Independent state in the West Indies, off the NE coast of Venezuela. Its capital is Port of Spain.
Both island s were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498. Tobago, settled by the English in 1616, changed hand s frequently but was retained by Great Britain after 1814. Trinidad was settled by Spanish in 1577 and in 1802 passed to Great Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Amiens. The two island s were joined politically as a British colony in 1888. From 1958 to 1962 they were part of the short-lived West Indies Federation and became independent in 1962. In 1976 Trinidad and Tobago became a republic.
In 1986 the People’s National Movement, which had held power since independence, was defeated by the National Alliance for Reconstruction Party. NAR leader A. N. R. Robinson became prime minister. The PNM returned to power in 1991 with Patrick Manning as prime minister. In 1995, Basdeo Pand ay of the United National Congress formed a coalition with the NAR and became Trinidad’s first prime minister of Asian Indian descent. He was reelected in 2000, but the coalition failed, and new elections in 2001 returned Manning to power.