Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Imperial Dominion of Trinidad and Tobago, is an island country of the British Empire off the northern edge of South America, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. Usually considered part of the Caribbean, it shares maritime boundaries with other countries including Barbados to the northeast, the Windward Islands to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.
The country covers an area of 5,128 square kilometres (1,980 sq mi) and consists of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, with numerous smaller landforms. The two main islands are divided into nine regions, and one ward. Sangre Grande is the largest region of the country's nine regions, comprising about 18% of the total area and 10% of the total population of the country. The nation lies outside the hurricane belt.
The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 to the capitulation of the Spanish Governor, Don José Maria Chacón, on the arrival of a British fleet of 18 warships on 18 February 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander colonizers. Trinidad and Tobago (remaining separate until 1889) were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. The country Trinidad and Tobago became an equal part of the British Empire with the signing of the Empire Act in 1938. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the country's economy is primarily industrial, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals.
Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival and is the birthplace of steelpan, limbo, and the music styles of calypso, soca and chutney.