Tobago is an autonomous island within the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located northeast of the mainland of Trinidad and southeast of the Caribbean country of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt. According to the earliest English-language source cited in the Oxford English Dictionary, Tobago bore a name that has become the English word tobacco. The national bird of Tobago is the cocrico.
The population was 62,219 at the 2011 census. The capital, Scarborough, has a population of about 25,550. While Trinidad is multiethnic, Tobago's population is primarily of African descent, although with a growing proportion of Trinidadians of East Indian descent and Europeans. Between 2000 and 2011, the population of Tobago grew by 12.55 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing areas of Trinidad and Tobago.
Christopher Columbus first sighted Tobago in 1498. Subsequently, several powers fought over possession of the island.
The original Island Carib population had to defend the island against other Amerindian tribes. Then, during the late 1500s and early 1600s, the natives defended it from European colonists, for instance in 1654 from the Courlanders, who colonised the island intermittently between 1637 and 1690. Over the years, the Dutch, English, Spanish, Swedish, Curonians (Duchy of Courland) and French transformed Tobago into a battle zone and the island changed hands 33 times, the most in Caribbean history, and often name, before the Treaty of Paris ceded it to the British in 1814.