1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tobago

TOBAGO, an island in the British West Indies, 20 m. N.E. of Trinidad, in 11° 15" N. and 60° 40' W. Pop. 18,751. It is 26 m. long and 71/2 m. broad, and has an area of 114 sq. m. or 73,313 acres, of which about 10,000 are under cultivation. It consists of a single mountain mass (volcanic in origin), 18 m. in length, and rising in the centre to a height of 1800 ft. A great part of the island is clothed with dense forest, in which many valuable hardwood trees are found. The higher lands form part of what is known as the “Rain Preserve,” where, in order to attract and preserve the rainfall, the trees are never allowed to be felled. The average temperature is 81° F. and the yearly rainfall is 66 in. The rainy season lasts from June to December, with a short interval in September. The valleys are particularly adapted to horse- and sheep-farming, which are growing industries. The soil is fertile and produces rubber, cotton, sugar, coffee, cocoa, tobacco and nutmegs, all of which are exported; pimento (allspice) grows wild in the greatest profusion. The schools are conducted by various denominations, assisted by government grants. The island is divided into seven parishes. Scarborough (pop. 769), the capital, is on the south coast, 8 m. from its south-western point. It stands at the foot of a hill 425 ft. high, on which is situated Fort King George, now without a garrison. There is a lighthouse at Baedlet Point. Tobago, properly Tobaco, was discovered in 1498 by Columbus, who named it Assumption, and the British flag was first planted in 1580. It afterwards passed into the hands of the Dutch and then of the French, and was finally ceded to the British in 1814. Until 1889 it formed part of the colony of the Windward Islands, but in that year it was joined to Trinidad, its legal and fiscal arrangements, however, being kept distinct. Ten years later it became one of the wards of Trinidad, under a warden and magistrate; its revenue, expenditure and debt were merged into those of the united colony, and Trinidadian law, with very few exceptions, was made binding in Tobago.