The republic of Trinidad and Tobago is composed of two main islands and numerous smaller islands, all of which lie in the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Venezuela. Both Trinidad and Tobago have spent time under British, French and Dutch rule, but were unified as a single country in 1889 as a crown colony of Great Britain. Independence was gained in 1962 and the country became a republic in 1976.
Both Trinidad and Tobago are located between ten and 11 degrees north, a latitude which places them closer to the equator than the Tropic of Cancer. It is rare to find vineyards at these equatorial latitudes (although notable exceptions do exist, such as Indonesia and Ecuador), and there are none on Trinidad or Tobago.
The name Tobago is believed to be the etymological source of the English word 'tobacco'. Ironically, however, tobacco is not a key economic driver for the island today – the economies of scale offered by larger Chesapeake plantations in the eastern US diminished the allure of tobacco grown in the Caribbean colonies.
Arguably the most famous product made on the islands here is Angostura bitters. Dr Johann Siegert's amargo aromatico (aromatic bitters) was originally produced in the 1820s in Angostura, a small town on the Orinoco river in Venezuela. Production was moved to Trinidad due to the unstable political situation in Venezuela.
Trinidad's economy was firmly supported by the production of cocoa and sugar, but these industries collapsed in the early 20th century and were gradually replaced by petroleum-based industries. Sugar is still produced on the islands, and is used to make the Angostura rum which is now produced by the company making the eponymous bitters.