Trinidad, one of the British West India islands, at the mouth of the gulf of Paria, off the N. E. coast of Venezuela, opposite the N. mouth of the Orinoco, between lat. 10° and 11° N. and Ion. 61° and 62° W.; length N. and S. about 50 m., average breadth 35 m.; area, 1,755 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 109,638. Its N. W. and S. W. extremities are within 7 and 13 m. respectively of the continent. There is excellent anchorage between the island and the mainland, and there are several good harbors. It is crossed by three ranges of hills from W. to E., extending through the centre, and bordering the S. and N. coasts, the northern range attaining an elevation of 3,000 ft. There are level and undulating tracts in the valleys, but in some places the surface is considerably broken, and it is drained by rivers with numerous tributaries. Much of Trinidad appears to have been formed by the mud deposited by the Orinoco. The mountains consist of clay and mica slate; and quartz, pyrites, arsenic, alum, sulphate of copper, graphite, and sulphur are found. In a volcanic district on the W. coast there is a celebrated asphalt lake. (See Asphaltum, and Bitumen.) At Port of Spain, the capital, the temperature ranges between 74° and 86° in summer, and 70° and 81° in winter.
The annual fall of rain is 65 inches; the island is beyond the range of hurricanes. The soil is fertile, and the elevated parts are covered with dense forests. The chief productions are sugar cane, coffee, and cacao; and cotton, indigo, tobacco, nutmegs, cinnamon, and cloves are raised. The indigenous animals are two species of small deer, the opossum, armadillo, porcupine, ant bear, sloth, muskrat, tiger cat, two species of lizards, and numerous monkeys. Fish are abundant. The settlements are chiefly on the N. W. coast and in the adjacent valley. A considerable trade is carried on with the United States in lumber and provisions. Trinidad is a crown colony, under a governor with executive and legislative councils. - The island was discovered by Columbus in July, 1498, occupied by the Spaniards in the 10th century, captured by the French in 1076, but soon restored, and taken by the British in 1797.