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Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is an island country 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 nations including Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.
Trinidad and Tobago lie on the continental shelf of South America, and is thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America. However, the West Indies are generally considered to be part of North America, and as the language and cultural links of Trinidad and Tobago are not to South America, but to the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean nations, the nation is often treated as part of North America.
The climate is tropical. There are two seasons annually: the dry season for the first six months of the year, and the rainy season in the second half of the year. Winds are predominantly from the northeast and are dominated by the northeast trade winds. Unlike most of the other Caribbean islands, both Trinidad and Tobago have frequently escaped the wrath of major devastating hurricanes, including Hurricane Ivan, the most powerful storm to have passed close to the islands in recent history, in September 2004.
English is the country's official language (the local variety of standard English is Trinidadian English or more properly, Trinidad and Tobago Standard English (TTSE)), but the main spoken language is either of two English-based creole languages (Trinidadian Creole or Tobagonian Creole) which reflects the Amerindian, European (including Spanish), African, and Indian heritage of the nation. Both creoles contain elements from a variety of African languages; Trinidadian English Creole, however, is also influenced by French and French Creole (Patois). Spanish is estimated to be spoken by around 5% of the population, and has been promoted by recent governments as a "first foreign language".
Many different religions are present in Trinidad and Tobago. Among Christian denominations (65.7%) are Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses and other Evangelical groups. Other religious groups include Hindus (25.6%) and Muslims (6.6%) (2000 census).