The Spanish Cedula de Población of 1783 was designed to convert Trinidad into a plantation colony.
It attracted white and colored French planters who brought their African and African-descended slaves to cultivate sugar and cocoa.
The national motto is "Together we aspire, together we achieve." The national anthem features the line "Here every creed and race find an equal place," which is sung twice for emphasis.
Some public holidays and celebrations emphasize group contributions to the nation, including Independence Day (31 August), Emancipation Day (1 August; commemorating the ending of slavery), and Indian Arrival Day (30 May). Claimed by Columbus for Spain, Trinidad was a forgotten Spanish colony for three hundred years.
British administrators, British planters, and their slaves added to the island's ethnic, national, and linguistic diversity.
Enslaved Africans arrived from varied ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious groups from along the West African coast, while Creole slaves spoke a French or English creole, depending on their islands of origin.
At its closest point, Trinidad is some seven miles from the coast of Venezuela on the South American mainland. It has three mountain ranges, roughly parallel to each other, running east to west in the north, central, and south parts of the island. The central part of the island is more flat and is where sugar cane is grown.
While controlled by Spain, Trinidad became French in orientation and dominant language use.
Captured by the British in 1797, the island was formally ceded to Britain in 1802.
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