Thursday, 12 December 2019

Largest Religions In Chile

A colorful church in Chiloe Island, Chile.
More than two centuries after Chile's independence from Spain, the Catholic Christian faith of the conquistadors remains the largest in the country still today.

Much like its population is diverse in ethnicity , the religious groups that are represented in Chile are equally diverse. The largest religion demographic in Chile is Roman Catholicism, with just over half (54%) of the population identifying with the religion in one way or another. The second largest religious group in Chile after Catholicism is unaffiliated (14%) , or non religious, tied with Protestant Christianity (14%). There are also a number of small minority religions that are present in Chile, some of which predate the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s. Others were introduced by colonialists, missionaries, and settlers over time.

Roman Catholicism - 54%

In the 16th Century, Dominican and Franciscan friars who were with the Spanish first introduced Catholicism into Chile. In 1547, the first parish was established and in 1561 a diocese was also established in the country. The religion was first introduced in the northern and central parts of Chile by around 1650, and the southern regions were reluctant to embrace the religion. Today Chile boasts of 5 archdioceses, 18 dioceses, two prelatures, one apostolic vicariate, one military ordinary, and a personal prelature. However, the numbers of the church membership have decreased significantly over the years as reported by 2002 census. The Roman Catholic Church has established six universities in Chile, and the famous ones include Catholic University of the holiest conception, the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and Temuco Catholic University. There many religious sponsors who fund some primary, secondary schools and colleges in the country such as Saint George’s College, which is under the management of the Congregation of Holly Cross. Catholic holidays are celebrated by the nation and are recognized as a national holiday only if it falls on a weekday. These holidays include the feast of Saint Peter and Paul, the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen, feast of Immaculate Conception, Good Friday, and all saints day. Presently, the church membership constitutes 64% of the population.

Unaffiliated (Non-Religious) - 14%

Around 14% of Chile's population does not associate with any religion. This includes people who are undecided, or who consider themselves to be atheist or agnostic. Much like other countries around the world, there is a trend towards irreligion in Chile, especially among the younger population.

Protestant Christianity - 14%

Protestants are the third largest religious following in the country, comprising a proportion of 14% of the total population of the country. The second largest religious followings are the Atheist and Agnostics forming 17% of the total population in the country. The history of Protestantism in Chile dates back to when the government allowed settlers from Germany to occupy the southern parts in the 1840s. Most of these settlers were Protestant and in 1865 the Chilean government acknowledged the faith despite the Catholic Church being the primary faith in the country. The settlers opened the way for the Protestants to give their services in Chile especially the Lutheran and Anglican. Protestant missionaries later formed the Presbyterian denomination. In 1909, groups separated and from the Pentecostal church introduced the evangelical Pentecostal church. A school such as Santiago College, launched by the American Methodist, was open to the middle and lower classes. Many parents that did not agree with the practices of the Catholic Church were persuaded to espouse the faith.

Smaller Faith Groups

Other religions, such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha’i, and Judaism, are present in Chile as well, but their numbers are less significant, collectively comprising only 6% of the population. The government of Chile has put in place constitutional laws that allow freedom of religion in the country. The different religions are not favored, and there is no discrimination by religion. Religion has contributed positively to the Chilean economy especially the education sector by establishing institutions of learning.

Largest Religions In Chile

Rank Religion Population of Chile (%)

1 Roman Catholicism 54.0
2 Unaffiliated 14.0
3 Protestantism 14.0
4 Other 7.0

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Largest Ethnic Groups In Chile

A group of young Chilean adults cheer
on their national soccer team.
The majority of contemporary Chileans consider themselves of European ancestry, although most have some degree of indigenous bloodlines.

Chile is one of South America's largest countries, and occupies a narrow strip of land between the Andes and Pacific Ocean. The country is bordered by Peru , Bolivia, Argentina, and the Drake Passage. Chile was conquered and colonized by Spain in the 16th Century, but the country attained its independence in 1818 after which it experienced significant economic growth and gained its current territory. Currently, Chile is one of the most stable and developed countries in South America and the leading country in human development, economic freedom, and income per capita in Latin America. Chile has a population 15 million people belonging to several ethnic groups. Some of the largest ethnic groups in the country are looked at below.


The European ethnic group comprises the majority of the population in Chile, accounting for 59% of the country’s population. The European emigrants came to Chile from Spain during the Spanish colonization of the country. Upon their arrival, the Spanish European revitalized the economy of the country leading to the rise in the social hierarchy. Currently, the ethnic group is made up of Italians, Croatians, French, German, English, and Poles. Those of Croatian, French and Italian ancestry are the majority of the ethnic groups. This ethnic group has different of cultures and traditions borrowed heavily from the countries of origin. The emigrants from these countries that form the European ethnic group have transformed the country socially, politically, economically, and culturally.


Mestizos make up the second largest ethnic group in Chile. The ethnic group accounts for 25% of the Chilean population. The term Mestizo is a Spanish word that was used to mean a person of combined European and Amerindian descent. The term has since been used to refer to people of mixed ethnicity or race living in Latin America. The ethnic group begun to take shape during the colonization of most of the Latin America and quickly became a dominant ethnic group during that period.


The Mapuche are the indigenous inhabitants of South-Central Chile and the southern part of Argentina. The term Mapuche refers to the various ethnicity groups with a shared and common socioeconomic, linguistic, and religious structure. The existence of Mapuche culture dates back to 600 BC, and they differ from the indigenous people of Patagonia. During the arrival of the Europeans in Chile, Mapuche had built defensive structures and forts to protect them from European invasion. Currently, Mapuche is the third largest ethnic group in Chile after European and Mestizo accounting for 9% of the total population. The language for this ethnic group does not receive much support from the education sector of Chile. Mapuche ethnic group believes in the idea of a creator called ngenechen embodied in four components, namely young man, old man, young woman, and old woman. Their ritual ceremony is referred to as Ngillatun which means to “pray” making most of their ceremonies.

Chilean Diversity

Chile, being a multicultural and diverse country with emigrants from almost all of the continents of the world, has several other ethnic groups as well. These include Africans as well as the Aymara and other indigenous groups, including Rapa Nui, Likan Antai, Colla, Yagan, Kawesqar, and Quechua. Collectively, these ethnic minority groups account for only 7% of the Chilean population.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Chile

Rank Self-Identified Ethnic Background Share of Chilean Population

1 European 59%
2 Mestizo 25%
3 Mapuche 9%
4 African 4%
5 Aymara 1%
6 Others 2%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The Culture Of Chile

Traditional Chilean dancers.
The culture of Chile, unique and interesting, reflects the country's relatively homogeneous population and geographic isolation.

The culture of Chile has been influenced by the geographic isolation of the country and its relatively homogeneous population. Indigenous cultures of Chile blended with European (especially Spanish) cultures make up the present Chilean culture. Within the country, there is considerable diversity between the North and South of the nation with distinct dance, music, and art forms. Various indigenous groups and immigrant populations settling in the country have contributed to the evolution of the culture of Chile.

5. Chilean Religion And Festivals

The majority of Chileans are Roman Catholics (73%) while 15% of the population are Protestants. The rest of the population are affiliated to various other faiths like Jews, Greek Orthodox, and Muslims. 8% of Chileans are not affiliated with any religious faith. Many religious festivals are held in Chile and La Tirana is one of the most colorful among these festivals. During this festival, more than 150,000 people dance in the streets of the village of La Tirana wearing vibrant costumes and devil masks. Immaculate Conception is a Christian festival celebrated by the Chileans on December 8. Pilgrimage to Santuario de la Virgen de lo Vásquez, a religious shrine near Santiago, is common during this festival.

4. Cuisine Of Chile

Food plays an important role in Chilean culture. The cuisine of Chile is a blend of indigenous cuisine with European cuisine. Spanish, Italians, British, French, and Germans all having influenced the cuisine of Chile. Ensalada chilena is a common Chilean salad consisting of sliced onions, tomatoes, fresh cilantro with oil and vinegar dressing. Porotos granados, the national dish of the country combines indigenous ingredients (corn, beans, and squash) with Spanish contributions (garlic and onion). Seafood is also an important part of Chilean cuisine. Machas (razor clams), cochayuyo (seaweed), locos (abalone), erizos (large sea urchins) are some of the common seafood consumed in the country. A soup made of conger eel, potatoes, tomatoes, spices, herbs and onions known as the caldillo de congrio is another traditional delicacy in the country.

3. Chilean Music

The Cueca is the national dance of Chile that was primarily promoted during the Pinochet regime in the 1970’s and 80’s to promote Chilean nationalism and cultural pride. The Tonada is another popular form of Chilean music. Folk music was popularized in Chile by folk music groups like Los de Ramon, Los Cuatro Huasos, Los Cuatro Cuartos, and others. During the 1960’s, native musical styles were revived and became associated with political activism but later during the military rule in the 1970’s, all forms of musical and other expressions against the military regime were discouraged. New musical bands started emerging again after the return of democracy and heavy metal, and alternative rock bands were favored by young Chileans.

2. Chilean Arts And Literature

Chilean culture has also always encouraged fine arts and performing arts and artists. The Chilean Academy of Painting, established in 1849 has inspired and produced brilliant artists and painters. Roberto Matta, Carlos Sotomayor, Claudio Bravo are some famous contributors to Chilean fine arts. Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda are two famous Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poets whose literary work have a significant influence on the Chilean culture.

1. Games In Chile

Football is a highly popular sport in Chile and Chileans of all ages and backgrounds take part in this game. Both skiing and snowboarding activities are also favored by the geography of Chile since the snow-capped Andes Mountains, the transverse, and coastal mountains cover a major part of the country. Chile also has a large number of beaches where surfing is a popular sport. Basketball and rodeo are two other popular sports of Chile.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Monday, 9 December 2019

Largest Ethnic Groups In Brazil

Largest Ethnic Groups In Brazil
Brazil is a melting pot of indigenous American, Portuguese, African, and other cultures from around the globe.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world both by area and population and it is also the largest country in both South America and Latin America. The country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and borders all other South American Countries except Ecuador and Chile. Brazil has an approximate population of over 200 million people with 84% of the population living in the urban areas. The population is primarily in the Southeastern and Northeastern parts of the country. The population of the country is made up of several ethnic groups. The largest ethnic groups in Brazil include:

Brancos (White Brazilians)

Brancos, commonly referred as White Brazilians, are the ethnic majority in the country forming 47.73% of the country’s population. The White Brazilians are the citizens of Brazil with European descents. Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards, and Germans form the largest ancestry for this ethnic group. The majority of the white Brazilians are found in states such as Santa Catarina, Rio Grande de Sul, Parana, and Sao Paulo. The European settlers, mostly the Portuguese, came during the colonization era, and the majority were male. The male settlers were involved in relationships with indigenous women and slaves leading to the birth of a new ethnic group. Immigrants who also came to Brazil after independence contributed significantly to the growth of white Brazilians.

Pardo (Combined European, Native, and African Ancestry)

Pardo, or Brown People, is a race that combines Brazilian natives, European and African ancestry or triracial ancestry. The name brown or Pardo is mainly used to refer to the people of brown skin color in the country. Pardo ethnic group forms 43.13% of the Brazilian population. While white Brazilians have 70% European genomic ancestry, Pardos have 37.1% European genomic ancestry. The ethnic group had its history from the colonial period when the European settlers came to Brazil. The term “Pardo” was first used in Brazil’s census of 1872 and is currently used to refer to people such as mulatos, cafuzos, and cabocios.

Pretos (African-Brazilians)

Afro-Brazilian is a term used to refer to the Brazilians of the African ancestry. The word “Preto” is used to refer to the people of outstanding African characteristics and skin color. The Preto is one of the ethnic groups categorized by color. Brazil was a major destination for African slaves between 16th and 19th century receiving approximately four million slaves during that period. The work of slaves in the country had a direct influence on the life expectation and family formation. The black population grew significantly before the abolition of slave trade especially along the coastal part of Brazil. Currently, Pretos account for 7.61% of the population with the majority living in Salvador, and Bahia. Most of the Pretos are Christians, mainly Catholics although African religious practices are still common among this ethnic group. African cuisine still forms a variety of dishes. The cooking is slowly evolving to include a mix of both African and Portuguese dishes.


Brazilians are also categorized according to the skin color. Some of the ethnic groups according to the skin color include the Pretos and Amarelos (Asian Brazilian). The indigenous Brazilians, also known as the Indigena, form only 0.43% of the population.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Brazil

Rank IBGE Ethnic Designation Share of Brazilian Population in 2010 Census

1 Brancos (White Brazilians) 47.73%
2 Pardo (Combined European, Native, and African Ancestry) 43.13%
3 Pretos (African-Brazilians) 7.61%
4 Amarelos (Asian Brazilian) 1.09%
5 Indigena (Indigenous Brazilian) 0.43%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Religious Beliefs In Bolivia

Cathedral of San Lorenzo, Bolivia.
As in much of South America, the largely Catholic nation of Bolivia is experiencing record low levels of church attendance and increased secularization in society.

Religion Bolivia

Bolivia which is officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a country situated in the western region of central South America. The country is the largest landlocked country in the Americas and is bordered by several South American countries including Brazil, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, and Argentina. Bolivia has a multiethnic population of about 11 million people. The constitution of Bolivia supports freedom of worship and also government independence from religion. As in much of South America, the mostly Catholic nation is experiencing low Church attendance and increased secularization, but Catholicism still dominates.

Religious Beliefs In Bolivia

Roman Catholic Christianity

In Bolivia, the Roman Catholic Church has continued to dominate as most of the population follows this belief. In the past Roman Catholicism was recognized as the state religion however that changed and Bolivia is now a secular state. Roman Catholicism in Bolivia has its roots in the time when the Spanish conquered Latin America. During the colonial era, most of the clergymen were of European origin. The Catholic Church and the Spanish crown made an agreement known as patronato real which gave the Spanish throne together with its colonial authorities power over the church affairs making the church extremely wealthy. The church and the Bolivian government had an intimate and mutual relationship and were involved in each other's businesses thus giving the Catholic Church a strong influence. After independence the relationship between Bolivia and the Catholic Church started deteriorating especially in 1826 when President Antonio José de Sucre Alcalá started taking control of the tithe collection, taking back lands owned by the Church and closing off all monasteries that had less than 12 people which led to the weakening of the church. In 1906 the Bolivian government announced religious tolerance and the permission to establish other non-Catholic churches these also played a significant role in diminishing the relationship between the two. Roman Catholic Christianity continues to dominate the country accounting for 77% of the population.

Protestants And Other Non -Catholics

The Protestant church in Bolivia is an active group that consists of Protestant minorities including the Evangelical Methodists, Anglicanism, and Mennonites. The Mennonites have been in Bolivia since the early 1950's, especially in Santa Cruz. Other Non-Catholic groups include the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh-Day Adventists who have been in Bolivia since the 1980's as well as the rise of Pentecostal denominations that have an increased in population. All these groups account for 18% of the population.

Atheism Or Agnosticism

Irreligion continues to be an ever-growing trend in Bolivia, recent studies and surveys suggest that more Bolivians especially the younger generation confesses to having no religion. Atheists or Agnostics account for 2% of the population in the country.

Baha'i Faith, Pachamama Worship, Islam Or Other Beliefs

The Buddhist community in Bolivia is small which has not experienced any discrimination. However, it was reported by the government in 1988 that some religious groups were operating illegally but its attempt to diminish Buddhism were futile and was overturned by the Supreme Court of Justice. Buddhism is now an established educational institution in Bolivia. The first Baha'i is said to have arrived in Bolivia 1940, with some of the natives joining the religion. It is currently said to be the largest international religious minority in Bolivia. Judaism in Bolivia has about five hundred Jews members, making it the smallest community in South America. Other beliefs include traditional beliefs including the Pachamama cult. All these beliefs account for 3% of the population.

Religious Diversity In Bolivia

Despite Roman Catholicism dominating the religion of Bolivian people for centuries, more and more people continue to have more diverse religious beliefs and practices.

Religious Beliefs In Bolivia

Rank Belief System Prevalence Among Contemporary Bolivian Population

1 Roman Catholic Christianity 77%
2 Protestantism or Other Non-Catholic Christianity 18%
3 Atheism or Agnosticism 2%
Baha'i Faith, Pachamama Worship, Judaism, Islam, or Other Beliefs 3%

By Joyce Chepkemoi

•culled from

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Biggest Cities In Bolivia

The southern skyline of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Santa Cruz, La paz, El Alto, and Cochabamba each have metro populations numbering in the millions.


Bolivi a, officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a Spanish speaking country in Western-Central South America. It is one of the two landlocked countries in South America the other being Paraguay. The capital city of Bolivia is Santa Cruz de la Sierra which is located in the eastern part of the state and has a metro population of 3,102,998. Industrialization of the country has led to urban-rural migration which has resulted in the large population in cities and major towns. Some of the biggest cities in the country are discussed below.

Biggest Cities In Bolivia

Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the capital city of Bolivia and situated on the Pirai River, Santa Cruz de La Sierra municipality in Andres Ibanez province, Bolivia. It is the most populated city in the country with an estimated metro population of 3.1 million with an area coverage of 207 square miles. It was established by a Nuflo De Chavez, a Spanish explorer, in 1561 and did not gain much attention until after the Second World War. It has been listed one of the fast growing cities in the world and is the main business center in the country. Among the first settlers were the native Chane people, native Spanish, and Guarani’s from Paraguay.

La Paz

La Paz, officially known as Nuestra Senora de la Paz, is a city in Pedro Domingo Murillo Province, Bolivia was founded in 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza. It has a metro population of approximately 2.4 million. It is located at an elevation of 11,975 feet thus experiencing a Subtropical highland climate with rainy summers and dry winters. It plays a significant role in the country’s political, administrative, and economic matters as it is the site of the presidential palace, Plurinational Legislative Assembly, several other government agencies, foreign embassies, companies, and industries. It is also home to various landmarks of the colonial times and unique markets.

El Alto

El Alto is one of the fast-growing urban cities in Bolivia located in El Alto Municipality in Pedro Domingo Murillo province at an elevation of 13,615 feet. The building of the railway line in 1903 led to the habitation of the area as well as the building of the airbase for the country’s military air force enhanced it. As at the 1950s, the population of the area had grown tremendously and was formally in 1987 as a city. It is home to an international airport and has a general metro population of 2.3 million and has a cold climate.


Cochabamba located in Cochabamba Municipality, Cercado Province, Bolivia was founded in 1571. Due to the fertile, productive soil and the favorable climate at the town, it has been inhabited for several years even before the arrival of the Spanish in the region. It has a semi-arid climate and is the most economically and socially progressive cities in the country. The city is an agricultural and an industrial hub as well. It has a general metro population of 1.9 million of mainly Cochalas.


Oruro is a city in Bolivia with a population of 264,683 and an area coverage of 631 square miles. It was founded on November 1, 1606, as a silver mining center and is located in Cercado Province in Oruro department, Bolivia. The city’s economy is mainly dependent on the Mining industry of tin, tungsten, silver, and copper. Over the twentieth century, tourism has grown and greatly impacts the country’s economy.

Problems Facing Cities In Bolivia

Various problems are facing the cities in Bolivia such as overcrowding due to the Rural to urban migration. The constant increase in the number of inhabitants in these cities leads to the degeneration of the quality of various public services such as health services. Urbanization has the negative effects on the environment like pollution of the air, land, and water bodies.

Biggest Cities In Bolivia

Rank Biggest Cities in Bolivia Metro Area Population

1 Santa Cruz de la Sierra 3,102,998
2 La Paz 2,364,235
3 El Alto 2,300,000
4 Cochabamba 1,938,401
5 Oruro 264,683
6 Potosí 240,966
7 Sucre 237,480
8 Tarija 234,442
9 Sacaba 149,570
10 Quillacollo 117,859

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from

Ethnic Groups Of Bolivia

Indigenous Bolivian women shopping in
La Paz, Bolivia.
The majority of Bolivians are either Native South American or of mixed Native American and European ancestry.


Bolivia, officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a Spanish speaking country in western-central South America. It is one of the two landlocked countries in South America the other being Paraguay. Bolivia is commonly seen to have multiple capital cities. Sucre is the constitutional capital and the seat of the Supreme Court while La Paz is the defacto capital of Bolivia as the seat of government. Interestingly, neither are the largest city in Bolivia, a title which goes to Santa Cruz de la Sierra with a metro population of 3,102,998. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and the economic and financial hub of Bolivia. The country’s population, on the other hand, is estimated to be 11.2 million as of 2018. Bolivia is a multiethnic country and various ethnic groups like the Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians, and Africans are found. Spanish is the country’s official language, but several other indigenous languages like Guarani are also used.

Largest Ethnic Groups in Bolivia

Mestizo - 70%

Mestizo is an ethnic group in the country with a combined Native American and European ancestry regardless of their place of birth. The term was majorly used in during the Spanish Empire’s control of various colonies. During the colonial period, the Mestizos rapidly became the majority group in Spanish-speaking regions, but after the attainment of independence from Spain, they became the dominant group. The Mestizos had more rights than any other minority group in the country like the Zambos but fewer rights compared to the European born. Today, Mestizos constitute 70% of the Bolivian population making it the dominant ethnic group in the country. Various Mestizos assume the Mestizo identity and an indigenous culture as well.

Indigenous Bolivian - 20%

The indigenous Bolivians, also known as the Amerindians, is an ethnic group of predominant Native American ancestry. It is composed of descendants of the pre-Colombian era before the invasion of European influences in Latin America. These include the Andeans like the Aymaras and Quechuas, who are the indigenous people of most South American countries. The indigenous Bolivians constitute 20% of the entire Bolivian population and are found majorly in the Andes region and the western departments of La Paz, Potosi, Oruro, Cochabamba, and Chuquisaca. Other small indigenous groups can be found in the Santa Cruz, Beni, Tarija, and Pando departments.

White Bolivian - 5%

The White Bolivians are the Bolivians with a European ancestry and constitute 5% of the Bolivian population. Most of white Bolivians are the descendants of Criollos of the Spanish descend as well as the Europeans or Arabs mainly from Spain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, and Croatia. They are mainly found in the largest cities and major towns in Bolivia like La Paz.

Black Bolivian - 1%

The Black Bolivians, also known as Afro-Bolivians, are Bolivians of predominantly African Ancestry. They are mainly the descendants of African slaves who were brought into Bolivia during the Spanish Empire. They are a minority group constituting only 1% of the Bolivian population and are mainly found in the Department of La Paz as well as Nor Yungas and Sud Yungas provinces.

Other Ethnic Groups in Bolivia

There are several other minority ethnic groups in Bolivia which constitute up to 4% of the Bolivian population. These groups include Asians, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Lebanese, Jews among others. They are mainly found in La Paz, El Alto, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Ethnic Groups Of Bolivia

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Bolivian Population

1 Mestizo ( combined Native American and European Ancestry ) 70%
2 Indigenous Bolivian ( Predominately Native American Ancestry) 20%
3 White Bolivian ( Predominately European Ancestry) 5%
4 Black Bolivian ( Predominately African Ancestry) 1%
Other Ethnic Groups 4%

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from

Friday, 6 December 2019

The Culture Of Bolivia

A church in Sajama National Park, Bolivia.
The culture of Bolivia is influenced by both indigenous cultures and the cultures of the colonial powers that ruled the country in the past.


Bolivia, a landlocked country located in South America, has a population size of 11.41 million. The national identity of these individuals has developed over a series of historical periods, including pre-colonial, Spanish colonial, and post-independence. It is representative of a combination of indigenous and Spanish customs and traditions that can be seen in every aspect of the culture here today. The festivals, food, arts, clothing, architecture, and social beliefs have all been influenced by the rich history of this country. This article takes a closer look at some of the defining characteristics of the national identity of Bolivia.

Bolivian Religions And Festivals

The vast majority of the population, 92.5%, of Bolivia identifies as Christian. The most widely practiced Christian denomination is Catholicism. Another 3.1% of the population reports practicing an indigenous religion and just over 4% report practicing either the Baha'i faith or are Agnostic.

The Catholic Church has a history of close governmental control. It was not until the 1960’s that the separation of church and state actually occurred. Traditionally, the Catholic church has been concentrated in urban areas of the country, leaving rural areas with less Christian influence. Because of this, indigenous groups developed a unique type of Catholicism by mixing folk beliefs with Catholic teachings. This mixture can be seen today in the many festivals celebrated throughout the country.

One of the most well-known festivals in Bolivia is the Carnaval de Oruro, which is recognized by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This festival dates back to the pre-colonial era, when it was celebrated as a pilgrimage to the sacred mountains of Oruro to ask the native deities for protection throughout the year. During the 17th century, Spanish colonists prohibited indigenous religious celebrations. The Uru people simply incorporated Catholic themes to take the place of indigenous gods and continued celebrating. The Carnaval de Oruro is held at the beginning February every year. More than 400,000 spectators, 28,000 dancers, and 10,000 musicians participate.

Cuisine Of Bolivia

The cuisine of Bolivia is based on native Andean ingredients (like potatoes, corn, beans, and quinoa) and was first influenced by staples brought by Spanish immigrants (like rice, wheat, beef, and chicken). Later waves of immigrants have also left their mark on the gastronomy of the country, including those from: Germany, Russia, Italy, Croatia, and Poland.

Silpancho is a typical Bolivian dish. It consists of a plate of rice topped with a layer of boiled potatoes. A flattened cut of meat, usually beef, is placed on top of this. The dish is topped with chopped tomatoes, onions, beets, parsley, and a fried egg.

Clothing Of Bolivia

Urban inhabitants and the younger generation of Bolivians wear typical western-style clothing, like jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers. Older individuals and those living in more rural areas tend to wear traditional clothing. Women, for example, can usually be seen wearing a pollera, which is a long, pleated, colorful skirt. Additionally, they often wear a 19th century-style bowler hat and a colorful shawl over layers of sweaters. Traditional clothing for men often includes ponchos and vests.

Bolivian Music And Dance

The music and dance of Bolivia is just as varied as the food, history, and cuisine of the country. Although the music was significantly influenced by European standards during colonialism, traditionally indigenous music underwent a revival during the 1950’s. This increased awareness of indigenous customs and traditions was because of cultural and political reforms of the time. This native identification movement continued throughout several decades and had a lasting impact on Bolivian music.

One of the most popular types of music here is called Huayno, which is characterized by high-pitched singing and the use of several instruments, including: harp, accordion, charango, guitar, saxophone, and flute. Huayno is also the name of the dance that accompanies the music. A man either provides his right arm to a woman as an invitation to dance or places his handkerchief on her shoulder. If the woman accepts the invitation, the couple join a circular group of dancers. The dance steps resemble rapidly stomping feet, with the man following the woman. The couple only occasionally touch by bumping shoulders.

Bolivian Arts And Literature

Bolivian art is available in a number of formats, ranging from paintings to sculptures and everything in between. One of the most well-known styles of art here is known as Mestizo Baroque, which is a mix of indigenous influences with traditional Spanish religious art. Recently, Bolivia has experienced a renewed interest in art and several galleries and museums have been established. Some accomplished artists from the modern era include: Maria Luisa Pacheco, Guzmán de Rojas, Marina Nuñez del Prado, and Alfredo da Silva.

Bolivian literatures has been slower to develop its own style. This slow evolution is because the country has lost many of its talented authors and poets to emigration due to years of political instability and violence. The other factor that affects the limited amount of Bolivian literature is the large percentage of the population that speaks an indigenous language like Aymara or Quechua. People from these cultures tend to practice oral storytelling rather than practice writing stories. Some of the most well-known Bolivian writers include: Oscar Cerruto, Adela Zamudio, Víctor Hugo Arevalo Jordan, and Gustavo Navarro.

Sports In Bolivia

The most popular sport in Bolivia (and in the world) is soccer. Men’s and women’s national teams are organized by the Federación Boliviana de Fútbol, the national governing entity. The Bolivian national soccer team has participated in the Copa América (23 times), the FIFA World Cup (3 times), and the Confederations Cup (1 time). Currently, the team holds 69th place in the world.

Social Beliefs And Customs In Bolivia

The social beliefs and customs of Bolivia depend on the geographic region and even the particular indigenous affiliation. Generally speaking, the population here is socially conservative and focused on family. Most household include the extended family, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and children living in the same home. Marriage also plays an important role in the society here and is generally expected of everybody, particularly in rural areas. With more than 36 indigenous groups living throughout the country, the customs of each group are just as diverse. This includes superstitions, social practices, and traditional customs.

By Amber Pariona

•culled from

Thursday, 5 December 2019

The Biggest Cities In Argentina

View of the heart of Buenos Aires,
the capital and largest city in Argentina.
Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is also its largest city hosting a population of 13,834,000 in its metro area.

Argentina Cities of the World

According to the recent census, Argentina has a population of 40,091,359 with the majority of the people living in the large and developed cities of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, and Rosario. Around 25% of the population is are under 15 years while 11% are above the age of 65 years. Argentina is one of the countries with the lowest birth and population growth rates but also have a fairly low infant mortality rate. The life expectancy is at 76 years while the mean age is 30 years. Below are some of the Argentina cities and their population composition.

Top 5 Largest Cities

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is the biggest city in Argentina by population. Buenos Aires is on the western shores of the Rio de la Plata. The city is a top tourist destination due to its rich cultural life and the European style of architecture. In the census carried out in 2010, Buenos Aires had a metro population of 13,834,000. The population of Buenos Aires consists of 17% under the age of 15 while 22% are aged above 60 years. Buenos Aires is divided into neighborhoods or barrios for administrative purposes.


Córdoba is located at the center of Argentina in the foothills of Sierras Chicas. Córdoba is the capital of Córdoba Province and the second most populous city in Argentina with a population of 1,519,000. Córdoba has numerous industries including Renault and Volkswagen car industrial facilities. Cordoba is also a rich agricultural area and the country's primary producer of farm machinery, and a technological center. All of these economic benefits and the excellent education centers have continued to attract more people to Cordoba.


Rosario is the largest city in Santa Fe province of central Argentina. Rosario is located to the northwest of Buenos Aires by a distance of around 300 kilometers, and is the third most populous city in Argentina with a population of 1,429,000 people. Most people are attracted to Rosario because of its neoclassical architecture. Rosario is a major shipping center for Northeastern Argentina. Rosario also has several cultural activities and artistic activities such as painting, music, philosophy, and politics that have attracted tourists into the city.


Mendoza is in the northern-central part of Mendoza Province of Argentina. Mendoza has a population of 1,082,000, the fourth most populous town in Argentina. Mendoza is known for several museums, Museo Cornelio Moyano and Museo del Area Fundacional that has kept the natural history of Argentina.

Other Major Argentine Cities

Some of the other significant cities in Argentina include Tucumán with a population of 868,000 and La Plata with a population of 836,000, Mar del Plata with a population of 633,000 and Salta with a population of 625,000.

The Biggest Cities In Argentina

Rank City Population

1 Buenos Aires 13,834,000
2 Córdoba 1,519,000
3 Rosario 1,429,000
4 Mendoza 1,082,000
5 Tucumán 868,000
6 La Plata 836,000
7 Mar del Plata 633,000
8 Salta 625,000
9 Santa Fe 530,000
10 San Juan 513,000

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Argentina?

An Argentine celebration in Buenos
Argentina is an ethnically diverse country.

Argentina Demographics

The majority of the citizens of Argentina are the descendants of the immigrants who moved to the country in the 19th Century and the 20th-century.
Approximately 97% of the country’s population can trace their ancestry to Europe or are partially of European descent. There are significant numbers of Argentines who are descendants of Arabs, particularly from Lebanon and Syria, and there are also Argentines who trace their origin to Jews.

Argentina has the largest population of people with Jewish ancestry in Latin America, and it is also ranks seventh in the world in terms of Jewish population. Unlike other countries in Latin America, the population of mixed European/Indigenous descent is relatively low. The population of Black Argintines is also relatively low. In the 1990s, Argentina has experienced a huge wave of Black immigrants in the country. Major indigenous populations can be found particularly in the North Western part of the country, in the North Eastern region, and the Patagonia region. Argentines who trace their origins to Asia are a minority in the country, and they are found particularly in the city of Buenos Aires and its neighborhoods. Argentina also hosts several people who trace their origin to the n eighboring countries , particularly from Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia who have established important communities in the country.


Argentina experienced huge immigration of Italians in the country at the beginning of the 19th century immediately after the country attained statehood. The culture of Argentina has significant links to the Italian culture regarding traditions, customs, and language. Italians have large established communities in the country, and they found mainly in the country’s capital city of Buenos Aires and provinces such as La Pampa province, Santa Fe province, Tucuman province, Entre Rios province, Cordoba province, and the province of Buenos Aires. The reason why Argentina experience huge immigrants from Italy was the economic problems the Italian states were unified to form one country, and as a result the country was impoverished and experienced high levels of unemployment as well as political turmoil, and as a result the majority of Italians saw Argentina as a place to begin a new life. The Italian population in the country is the world’s 2nd largest found outside of Italy, and they are about 25 million citizens accounting for 62.5% of the country's total population. Italians form a significant portion of the country's population as well as the neighboring country of Uruguay. In Latin America, Brazil has the highest population of Italians estimated to be about 28 million people or about 15% of the population of Brazil.


Germany and Argentina have had a long history of cooperation through trade, and later Argentina sustained a strong relationship with Great Britain and gave them support during the First World War. It is estimated that the population of people with German descent living in Buenos Aires is about 50,000 people. Argentina is one of the countries having the largest number of people tracing their origin to Germany. The Germans mostly arrived in the country in the 19th century, and both before and after the Second World War. The immigration continued through to the 20th century, and therefore, Germans are among the largest ethnic community in the country, and they have impacted heavily on the Argentinean culture. Such influence is seen in the Argentinean cuisine, particularly in deserts.


French Argentines refer to an ethnic group in the country who trace their roots to France, and they are one of the largest groups in the country after the Italian Argentines and Spanish Argentines. About 261,000 French people moved to Argentina between 1857 and 1946. However, in the 1840s Argentina had received immigrants with French ancestry particularly from neighboring countries such as Uruguay. As of 2006, Argentina was estimated to be home to about 6 million people of French ancestry, which was equivalent to about 19% of the country's population. The French have had a huge influence on Argentina, particularly in science, culture, and the arts. Many of the buildings structures in cities such as Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Rosario were built in line with the French neoclassical and Beaux art style. Unlike other ethnic communities in Argentina, the French are less visible compared to other communities of similar size, and this is because of a larger degree of assimilation and absence of significant colonies of French all over the country.


Argentina was a Spanish colony, and the country gained independence in May 1810, and therefore the country has a sizable population of Spaniards. Between 1492 and 1832 Argentina received about 2.4 million Spaniards who immigrated to Argentina. In the post-colonial era, between 1832 and 1950 there was a large influx of Spaniards also into the country from different parts of Spain which was part of the great European immigration work to Argentina. As from 1857 to 1960, approximately 2.5 million Spaniards immigrated to Argentina mainly from Galicia, Catalonia Cantabria, Asturias, and the Basque country. It is estimated that about 20% of The Spaniards who immigrated to Argentina in the post-colonial era were mainly from Galicia. Buenos Aires is home to the 2nd largest community of Galician people in the world, and currently, all Spaniards in Argentina despite their ancestral origin in Spain are often known as Gallegos, which translates to Galicians. Approximately 10% to 15% of the country's population is descendants of Basque people, both French and Spain they are often known as Basque Argentineans, although they identify themselves as French Basques. As of 2013, there were approximately 93,453 citizens of Spain who were born in Spain but lived in Argentina, on the other hand, there were about 288,494 citizens of Spain who were born in Argentina.

Arabs and Levantines

In Argentina, there are about 1.3 million to 3.5 million Argentines who trace their ancestry mainly to the Levant. The majority of Levantine Argentines are the descendants of immigrants from Syria or Lebanon who emigrated from the region where it is currently Syria and Lebanon. There are also other people originating from other Arabic speaking countries, but they are few. Most of these ethnic groups are Christians who are adherents of the Maronite (Eastern Catholic) and Eastern Orthodox. The first wave of Levantine immigrants was experienced in the country in the 19th century, and they were identified as Turks because the present-day countries of Syria and Lebanon had not been established and the Ottoman Empire occupied the region.

Other Ethnic Groups in Argentina

Other ethnic groups found in Argentina include Scandinavians, Dutch, Austrians, British Armenians, Czechs, Irish, Luxembourgers, Polish, Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Welsh, Jewish, Amerindians, Africans, Swiss, and Asians among others.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Indigenous Peoples Of Argentina

The Pucara de Tilcara, an ancient archaeological
site of the Omaguaca people in Argentina.
Argentina is home to more than 600,000 indigenous people, almost one-fifth of whom are Mapuche.

Argentina Demographics

The Republic of Argentina is the third most populous country in South America and the 33rd most populous globally with a population of over 41 million people. The population density is 16 persons per square kilometer of land while the population growth rate is estimated at 1.03% annually and a life expectancy of 76.01 years. Argentina is a diverse country with 35 indigenous groups as recorded by the Complementary Survey of the Indigenous People. Over 600,000 Argentines, or 1.49% of the population, self-identify as indigenous. The most populous of these indigenous groups are looked at below.

Indigenous Groups of Argentina


The Mapuche historically inhabit the southwestern regions of Argentina, and also have a significant presence in the south-central regions of neigboring Chile. The term Mapuche is used to refer to groups of people including Picunche, Huilliche, and Moluche. In Argentina, Mapuche people number around 113,680, which is around 0.3% of the total population. They are traditionally farmers while their social organization is made up of extended families under the leadership of the Ionko or chief. Mapuche believe in a creator known as the ngenechen who embodies older man and woman, and young man and woman. They also believe in a world known as Wenu Mapu and Winche Mapu. Central to their religious belief is the prayers and animal sacrifice to maintain a cosmic balance.


The Kolla are an indigenous people of Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. 70,505 Kolla people are living in Argentina today, the second highest number of Indigenous Argentines. Kolla is made up of several groups including Zenta and Gispira. They came into contacted with the Spanish in 1540 and resisted them for 110 years before losing their estate to them. The Kolla continued working for minimal wages even after the Argentina’s independence. The Kolla people were officially recognized the indigenous people of Argentina in 1985 by Law 23303. They regained possession of the Santiago Estate which they lost to the Spaniards in 1997. However, they do not have titles to their land because of the communal ownership of land. Kolla people hold elected positions and also participate in government activities.


The Qom, also known as the Toba, are found in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. They are part of the Guaycurues, the indigenous inhabitants of the Gran Chaco region. There are 69,452 Toba living in the provinces of Chaco, Santa Fe, and Formosa in Argentina. The name Qom means “simple people” while Toba means “big forehead.” The Toba people were nomadic hunters and lived in the forested regions of Chaco before the region was taken up by the Argentinean government in the 1880s. The Toba were subsequently employed to work in cotton plantations. In 1924, 200 Tobas were massacred by the police and the ranchers. The floods of 1982 also destroyed the Chaco ruining crops in the process. Currently, the major threat to Toba is the loss of land and livelihood. The Qom speaks Toba language which is a member of the Guaicuruan linguistic group.

Challenges Faced by Argentina's Indigenous Groups

The numbers of indigenous people in Argentina are estimated to be higher than those registered because many of these indigenous people hide their identities due to fears of discrimination and stereotyping. Also, most of them have been assimilated into western civilization therefore no longer consider themselves as indigenous people. Many of the natives are still facing challenges of acquiring land and are also denied certain human rights.

Indigenous Peoples Of Argentina

Rank Indigenous Groups of Argentina Contemporary Population in Argentina

1 Mapuche 113,680
2 Kolla 70,505
3 Qom 69,452
4 Wichi 40,036
5 Diaguita 31,753
6 Guarani 22,059
7 Ava 21,807
8 Mocovi 15,837
9 Huarpe 14,633
Other Indigenous Argentine Peoples 204,919

By John Misachi

•culled from

The Culture Of Argentina

Colorful lampshades of Buenos Aires,
Argentina has a rich literary heritage and one of Latin America’s most developed publishing industries.


The South American nation of Argentina is home to a population of around 44,694,198 individuals. Spanish is the official language of Argentina. Italian, German, English, French, etc., are also spoken in the country. Some indigenous languages like the Quechua and the Mapudungun are spoken by the Amerindian communities of Argentina. Roman Catholicism is the religion of more than 90% of the Argentines. A small percentage (2%) of the population adheres to the Protestant denominations. Judaism is the religion of another 2% of Argentines.

5. Cuisine Of Argentina

The cuisine of Argentina is greatly influenced by Mediterranean (Spanish and Italian) cuisines and the cuisines of its indigenous population. The Argentine people are known for their love of eating. Social gatherings often revolve around meals. Asado (a barbeque) is an integral part of the Sunday family lunch. Homemade patties, pasta, and french fries are served on special occasions. Restaurants in Argentine cities serve a variety of local and international cuisines. Beef is the most important component of the diet. Grilled meat, especially beef ribs, and steak, is the staple. Pork sausage, blood sausage, sweetbread, chitterlings, etc., are also enjoyed. Lamb and goat are more popular in Patagonia. Fried or breaded meats are enjoyed as snacks. Some of the vegetables consumed by the Argentines include tomatoes, lettuce, onions, zucchini, squashes, etc. Traditionally, wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Argentina.

4. Literature And The Arts In Argentina

Argentina has a rich literary heritage and one of Latin America’s most developed publishing industries. Literature in the first half of the 19th century focused on politics and nationalism. Later, the literature in the country was influenced by the modernist movement followed by vanguardism. Argentina produced many notable artists and painters in the realm of impressionism, realism, and aestheticism. Sculptors from the country also gained international fame due to their impressive works. The popularity of muralism among Argentine artists resulted in the production of some beautiful works of art that have become cultural emblems and historical monuments in Argentina.

3. Performance Arts In Argentina

The music of the country is represented by several genres like classical, popular, and traditional. The tango music and dance that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city, is one of the greatest contributions of Argentina to the global culture. Argentine rock was born in the country in the 1960s. The youth of the country quickly fell in love with this style of music and it soon became part of the country’s musical identity.

2. Sports In Argentina

Football is Argentina’s most popular sport while pato is its national sport. The latter is played on horseback using a six-handle ball. The country has a national football team that has won 25 major international titles. Many players from the country participate in European football leagues. The country’s football association is one of the oldest in the world. It was established in 1893. Beach football and futsa (a variation of association football played a hard court) have also gained popularity in Argentina in recent decades. Basketball and rugby are two other popular sports played in the country. The national basketball team of Argentina has won several prestigious international basketball competitions like the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. The rugby team of Argentina is also internationally famous and is ranked high in the official world rankings. Other games played in the country include Auto racing, field hockey, polo, tennis, boxing, golf, handball, etc. The country has won more international championships in polo than any other country. The field hockey team of Argentina is also one of the world’s most successful ones.

1. Life In The Argentine Society

Both men and women enjoy equal rights and freedoms in Argentina. However, women are still under-represented in certain fields like politics and administration. Marriages are usually based on romantic relationships and are freely decided by both men and women. Although the Catholic Church of the country strongly opposes divorce, it was legalized in the 1980s. Most families in Argentina, especially in the cities, are nuclear with one or two children who usually stay with their parents until they are of marriageable age. Couples often share household responsibilities among themselves. Both sons and daughters inherit their parents’ properties equally. Children are raised by parents with help from near relatives and depending on the socioeconomic condition, by nannies or child care providers in daycare centers.

Greetings are done by kissing on the cheek or shaking hands. People stand close to each other while talking. They often touch each other while conversing. Men often use flirtatious remarks when a woman walks by. Overall, Argentines love to enjoy their time with friends and family and also have a warm and friendly attitude towards strangers.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Religious Beliefs In Trinidad And Tobago

Church of the Holy Trinity in Trindad.
Christianity is the largest religion in Trinidad and Tobago.

The country of Trinidad and Tobago is located in the Caribbean region. It comprises of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago and other smaller landforms. The islands were colonized by European superpowers for a long period in the history of the country. In 1498, Christopher Columbus was the first European to arrive on the island of Trinidad. Since then, the island became a Spanish colony and continued to be so until it had to be surrendered to the British in 1797. The island of Tobago also came under colonial rule and served as a colony of several European powers through its history. Ultimately, both the major islands came under British rule in 1802. In 1889, the islands were unified and following the independence in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago became one single nation. The colonial history of Trinidad and Tobago significantly influenced the culture of the nation. In fact, it nearly completely shaped the religious beliefs of the people in the region.

The Religious Composition Of Trinidad And Tobago

According to the 2011 census of the country, Protestant Christians comprise 32.1% of the population of Trinidad and Tobago. Roman Catholics comprise 21.6% of the country’s population. Thus, Christianity is the largest religion in the country. Hindus comprise 18.2% of the population and are the largest religious minority community in Trinidad and Tobago. Muslims, Jehovah's Witness, and others account for 5%, 1.5%, and 8.4% of the country’s population, respectively. 2.2% of the population are non-believers and 11.1% did not specify affiliation with any religion.

History Of Religion In Trinidad And Tobago

Roman Catholicism was the official religion of the islands during the Spanish colonial rule. The various Protestant denominations became popular in the region during British rule. The indigenous population of the islands was largely extirpated by the arrival of the colonists. Instead, the islands were repopulated by the African slaves and later the indentured laborers brought to the islands from Africa and Asia, respectively. Although most Africans accepted the religion of the colonists, that is, Christianity, most South Asians held on to their respective religions. With the arrival of a large number of workers from India, Hinduism became a popular religion in Trinidad and Tobago. Both Sunni and Shia Muslims also arrived from South Asia. Some Africans practiced their indigenous religions or a syncretic form of religion that combined the beliefs of Christianity and indigenous religions. Hinduism gained significant popularity in the nation in the late 20th century. At around this time, the various fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and Evangelical churches, mainly of US origin, also exhibited a striking increase in the number of adherents.

Breakdown of Religious Beliefs in Trinidad and Tobago

Rank Religion Population (%)

1 Protestant Christianity 32.1
2 Roman Catholicism 21.6
3 Hinduism 18.2
4 Religious but Unaffiliated 11.1
5 Other 8.4
6 Islam 5
7 No Religion 2.2
8 Jehovah's Witness 1.5

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Monday, 2 December 2019

Biggest Cities Of Trinidad And Tobago

A marketplace in Chaguanas​.
Chaguanas is the most populous city in Trinidad and Tobago, located in Central Trinidad around 18 kilometers to the south of the national capital city of Port-of-Spain.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is an island nation that sits off the northeast coast of Venezuela. It is comprised of 1,981 square miles divided between two islands. The total population size here is approximately 1.349 million. A large percentage of these individuals live in the nation’s cities. This article takes a look at the most heavily populated urban areas of Trinidad and Tobago.
The 3 Most Populated Cities in Trinidad and Tobago


The biggest city in Trinidad and Tobago, in terms of population, is Chaguanas which is located in the central region of the Trinidad island. In the 2011 census, this city reported a population of 83,516. This area has been inhabited since before the British colonial era, however, significant population growth did not begin until the nearby sugar, cocoa, and coconut estates were established. Chaguanas is the fastest growing city in the country. This growth was first encouraged because of the city’s lower cost of real estate and opportunities for bargain shopping. Its economy is based around retail and this city is home to several malls and shopping centers. This city is also home to the largest producer of aluminum doors and windows, PVC doors and windows, and clay building blocks throughout the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean. Additionally, Chaguanas has become an important financial center in Trinidad and Tobago and is home to a number of banking headquarters.

San Fernando

The second most populated city in Trinidad and Tobago is San Fernando. This city is home to approximately 50,208 residents. It is located along the southwestern coast of Trinidad and covers an area of 7.2 square miles. Although previously inhabited, this area was first named San Fernando in 1784 when it grew in size due to surrounding sugar plantations. During the 19th century, this city was home to the largest sugar refinery in the world. Cacao and petroleum industries led to further growth, particularly in response to the oil boom of the late 20th century. Today, the economy continues to rely on petroleum extraction and processing. In fact, this city is known as the industrial capital of Trinidad and Tobago.


The third biggest city in this country is Port-of-Spain with its population of 37,074. Its surrounding metropolitan area, however, has a total population of over 120,000. This city is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago and was founded by Spanish colonialists during the 16th century. It did not become the capital until 1757. Approximately 30 years later, it had a population of 3,000. During the mid-20th century, its population grew to 100,000 although the increase in commercial activity pushed most of the residents to the surrounding suburbs. Today, the city has an interesting mix of colonial style buildings, modern high-rises, and undeveloped settlements. The economy is based on public administration and the city is known as a shopping and commercial center.

Environmental Threats In Trinidad And Tobago
Because of rapid urbanization and population growth, Trinidad and Tobago faces some very serious environmental problems. Development endeavors have contributed to illegal dumping, water pollution, and deforestation around the islands. Additionally, the demand for agriculture, fish, and livestock has increased, leading to resource depletion both onland and off the coast. Recently, the government has increased educational and advocacy efforts to fight some of these environmental issues. These efforts focus on promoting learning, improving organizational practices, and implementing project monitoring and evaluation.

By Amber Pariona

•culled from

Trinidad And Tobago: Culture And Social Beliefs

Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago.
The culture of Trinidad and Tobago is diverse and influenced by Native Caribbean, Indian, African, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Arab, and French cultures alike.

A large number of cultures have influenced the evolution of the Trinidad and Tobago culture. The distinct cultures that have a major influence on the culture of Trinidad and Tobago are Indian, African, Portuguese, Amerindian, Spanish, Chinese, and others. The country's links with the United Kingdom have left a major impact on its culture, and English is widely spoken across the nation. There is also a distinct difference between the histories and culture of Trinidad and Tobago and regional differences in the country as well. Here we inspect some of the basic aspects associated with the culture of Trinidad and Tobago and social beliefs in the country.

6. Religion In Trinidad And Tobago

Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, and Islam are the major religions in Trinidad and Tobago. The Anglicans, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Traditional African Religion, Taoism, etc., are some of the smaller religious groups in the country. The fastest growing religious groups in Trinidad and Tobago are the Spiritual Baptist, Yoruba/Orisha faith, and two Afro-Caribbean syncretic faiths. American-style fundamentalist and evangelical churches are also gaining popularity in the country.

5. Festivals Celebrated In The Country

The Carnival which was introduced in Trinidad and Tobago by the French is one of the biggest public celebrations in the island nation. Originally celebrated by the elite class, the practice spread into the free population after the abolition of slavery in 1838. Christmas is also celebrated in the country when parang, a traditional style of music is played, and pastelle, fruit cake, black cake, sweet breads are eaten. The Hindu festivals of Diwali, Phagwah/Holi, and Shivratri are also celebrated in the country with great pomp and glory. Muslims observe Hosay which is the local form of the Shia Muslim Remembrance of Muharram.

4. Cuisine Of Trinidad And Tobago

There is a rich culinary diversity in Trinidad and Tobago, and the cuisine is often a blend of Indian, African, Arabian, European, Creole, Cajun, Spanish, Chinese, and other influences. For example, curried chicken, channa (chick peas), aloo choka (a potato preparation), roti (Indian flatbread) and white rice are examples of typical Indian dishes consumed here. Stewed chicken, red beans, homemade ginger beer, fried plantains are part of Creole cuisine. Chowmein is a popular Chinese dish in the country. Dumplings and crabs are also part of a Tobago meal. People of the country are known to be highly generous with food on religious and social festivals and events.

3. Music Of Trinidad And Tobago

Calypso, an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago culture, is a style of music that originated in the nation. It is an Afro-Caribbean music style that spread from the country to other parts of Caribbean and Venezuela. Its origin is traced back to the arrival of the African slaves with the French planters in the 18th century. Another music style that evolved in Trinidad and Tobago is the Soca which is a blend of Indian music and rhythms with the calypso. Chutney and Chutney Soca are also unique music styles in the country created by a mix of Indian and Soca styles. A fusion of Calypso and Soca in the 1970’s that grew out of social unrest in the country is the Rapso. A combination of Latin American and Caribbean style music gave birth to Parang in Trinidad and Tobago. Pichakaree is another form of music that involves the use of English and Trinidadian Hindi words.

2. Theatre And Literature

The Little Carib Theatre was the first folk dance company to be established in Trinidad and Tobago. The culture of Trinidad and Tobago also incorporates Indian plays like the Ram Leela. Nobel laureates like Sir Vidia Naipaul and other famous authors like Michael Anthony and Earl Lovelace originate from the country. Calypso is treated as oral literature in the country, and some contemporary calypsonians are Mighty Sparrow, Mighty Chalkdust, Drupatee, Lord Kitchener, and others. The painter Michel Jean Cazabon (1813–1888) is one of the most famous artists of Trinidad and Tobago.

1. Social Beliefs In The Country

Afro-Trinidadian women in Trinidad and Tobago enjoy some degree of autonomy and dominance in their households. These women often are the heads of their multi-generational household. Women have also done well in the educational sector but still earn less than men, especially in the private industry. Marriage practices vary greatly in Trinidad and Tobago based on ethnicity and class. Afro-Trinidadians often go through the 3 stages of noncoresidential relationship followed by common-law marriages and then finally formal marriage. The trend of arranged marriages in the Indian community is gradually being replaced by the increased propensity of the young Indians to enter noncoresidential relationships. Due to the presence of colonial stereotypes of Blacks, Indians often resist intermarriages involving Blacks. As per Indian marriage customs, the bride would live with the groom’s family after marriage but the scenario is changing, and neolocal residence is becoming more popular.

Inheritance is primarily patrilineal in nature in most communities with the exception of Afro-Trinidadians where gender-based disputes over the inheritance of land are common. Education is highly preferred in Trinidad and Tobago and parents often make sacrifices to allow their children to attain higher education and white-collar jobs. Ethnic differences and classes often matter in the society of the country. Sociability and gregariousness are encouraged but not in business settings. Punctuality is not always expected, and habitual lateness is common in the country. Greeting passers-by in country districts is considered to be good manners and is an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago culture.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Largest Islands In Saint Vincent And The Grenadines

Kingstown, on the island of Saint Vincent,
is the country's capital and largest city.
Almost 90% of the archipelagic nation's entire land area is comprised by the island of Saint Vincent. A chain of small islands stretches to the north to meet the Grenadine, which in turn extends southwards to Grenada. St Vincent lies 20 miles southwest of Saint Lucia and 100 miles west of Barbados . The island is 18 miles long and 11 miles wide with a population density of 300 inhabitants per square kilometer. The islands of Bequia, Mayreau, Prune, Canouan, Union and Petit Saint Vincent are Grenadines associated with Saint Vincent. Kingstown on the mainland of St Vincent Island is the major and capital city of the country.

Saint Vincent

It is the main island covering 133 square miles. Saint Vincent is a volcanic island with its topography being mountainous. The windward side receives rain and is rocky and steep while the leeward side has many sandy beaches and bays. Kingstown, the capital and Major economic center of the Island is located in mainland Saint Vincent. The island experiences tropical maritime climate, and the northeast trade winds pass through it. Also, tropical cyclones occasionally pass near or across the island. In the 18 and 19th Centuries, the island suffered severe hurricanes. The small hurricanes of 1955 and 1980 were not severe.


Bequia Island is the second largest island of Saint Vincent with 7 square miles of land area. It is a green and hilly outpost of the Grenadines lying 9 miles south of St Vincent. The name Bequia comes from the ancient Arawak meaning island of the clouds. It has a population of approximately 4,300. The native population is a mixture of Africans, Caribs, and Scottish descent. The capital, Port Elizabeth, and Mount Pleasant are the most populated areas of the island. Prominent areas include spring a former coconut plantation and ranch, and Park Bay where the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary is located. Easter Regatta is the busiest time of the year. The island is famous for its cruising yachts and expats. Scuba diving is a major sport, and the island provides wrecks and shallow caves for experienced divers. The Hawksbill turtles, moral eels, and lobsters are common species in Bequia.

Union Island

The island has an area of around 3 square miles, and lies 200 kilometers southwest of Barbados. The mainland of Grenada lies to the south of the Union Island. The islands of Palm, Tobago Cays, and Mayreau surround it. The island experience as semi-arid climate and stored water is the only source of water in the dry months of January-June. Union Island has a population of around 3,000 residents with Clifton and Ashton being the major towns. Similar to the rest of Saint Vincent, English is the official language, but merchants in the region speak French and German. The Arawak and Caribs are the original settlers, but the French and English slave traders colonized the island. Africans from Nigeria,
Ghana , Angola, and Cameroon provided labor in the plantations especially the Sea Island Cotton. The opossum, bananaquit Caribbean birds, and the ubiquitous black bird are the dominant fauna species. Yachts on their way to Tobago Cays are the primary form of tourism on the island. The Turtle Watch is major tourist attraction taking place in March through July. The local bars and restaurants offer tradition delicacies and flavors also attract tourist. Since most of the people are Protestants Easter is a big event on the island.


The island lies approximately 25 miles south of St. Vincent with an area of 3 square miles. It has a small population of around 1,700 people. Mount Royal is the highest point on the island, and a barrier relief lies on the Atlantic side. The Arawaks settled on the island before 2000 B.C. and brought animals, plants, and farming and fishing skills. The Caribs invaded the island and took over, but 200 years later Columbus established settlements in the island after defeating the Caribs. The French colonized the island and brought slaves to work in the plantations. Colonial wars followed with Britain and France fighting over the island until the British defeated the French in 1814. As a result, the population is a fusion of African, French, British, and Carib cultures. The primary tourist destination is the prestigious Golf Course designed by Jim Fazio which offers Private villas and restaurants.

Socioeconomic Landscape

Agriculture, and more specifically banana production, is the most important economic activity in the country. Tourism is the second biggest service center of the St Vincent and the Grenadines. The country depends on a single crop, and tropical storms are the most major threats. English is the formal language used in education, religion, government and other structured setups. The country has a population of around 103,220 with 66% having African descent, 19% mixed, 6% East Indian, and 4% European.

Rank Major Islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Land Area

1 Saint Vincent 133 square miles
2 Bequia 7 square miles
3 Union 3 square miles
4 Canouan 3 square miles
5 Mustique 2.2 square miles
6 Mayreau 1.5 square miles
7 Palm 0.2 square miles
8 Petit Saint Vincent 0.2 square miles

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Sunday, 1 December 2019

The Culture Of St. Vincent And The Grenadines

Man prepares food outdoors in pots in
Bequia, St. Vincent And The Grenadines.
St. Vincent And The Grenadines hosts a Carnival every year that attracts both domestic and international visitors.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an island nation located in the Caribbean Sea in the Lesser Antilles island arc. The culture of the nation reflects the influences of the cultures of its various immigrant populations.

Ethnicity, Language, and Religion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The country hosts a population of around 101,844 individuals. People of African descent comprise the majority (72.8%) of the country’s population. Those of mixed descent account for 20% of the total population. Individuals of East Indian origin, European origin, and island Caribs make up 1.4%, 4%, and 3.6% of the country’s population, respectively. English, Vincentian Creole English, and French patois are the most spoken languages in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Christianity is the religion of the vast majority. Protestant Christianity is followed by 70.6% of the population.

The Cuisine of the Country

The fertile volcanic soils of the country allow the growth of a variety of crops. The presence of the sea means that seafood is found in plenty. Thus, most of the food is sourced locally. Breadfruit is a staple of the diet and is found throughout the nation. Fried jack fish and roasted breadfruit together comprise the national dish of the nation. An annual Breadfruit Festival is also held which features multiple types of breadfruit preparations, music, and dancing. Arrowroot is also grown on the islands. The flour derived from arrowroot is used to prepare biscuits, cakes, jellies, bread, sauces, and other food items. The madongo dumpling is a baked or fried snack made with arrowroot flour, coconut, and nutmeg.

A wide variety of seafood is like octopus, lobster, squid, fishes, etc., are also eaten by the Islanders in the baked, fried, stewed, or grilled form. The billjau is a popular local dish. It is a stew of salted fish, coconut oil, onions, tomatoes, and hot peppers. Fruits and vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, ginger, cabbages, yams, carrots, plantains, bananas, etc., are also locally produced and consumed.

Literature, Art, and Craft

Most of the Vincentian literature is in the oral form. Folktales and legends, myths, poetry, etc., are passed down through generations in the informal way. The people of the country also love to create jokes, riddles, and stories and present them in an entertaining way in informal gatherings.

A variety of art and craft is produced in the country. The natural beauty of the island nation inspires painters to produce mesmerizing landscape paintings. Eggshell mosaics, coconut helicopters, goatskin drums, hand-crafted jewelry, wood carvings, and carnival dolls are some of the popular handicrafts produced by the country’s craftsmen. Baskets, hats, mats, and toys are made using the fibres, wood, and other raw materials that are locally available.

Music and Dance in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The country has a thriving music scene that ranges from traditional storytelling to reggae, calypso, soca, and Big Drum. Other popular styles of music in the country are quadrille, steelpan, and bélé music. Although Big drum music has a presence throughout the Windward Islands, Big Drum from St. Vincent and the Grenadines is particularly famous. The drums are made from either tree trunks or rum kegs. The music is performed on special occasions like weddings. Songs and dances often accompany Big Drum music. The Saint Vincent island also hosts an annual carnival called the Vincy Mas. A variety of music, songs, and dances are performed during this festival.

Sports Played in the Country

Association football, rugby, and cricket are the most popular sports played in the country. Other games like netball, volleyball, tennis, track, and field, and basketball are also played. The NLA Premier League of the country is the primary source of players for the country’s national football team. The national basketball team of the St. Vincent And The Grenadines participates in international competitions like the Caribbean Basketball Championship. The national rugby union team is ranked 84th in the world.

Social Life in the Country

The society of the island country is exhibits slight patriarchal bias with men enjoying a somewhat higher status than women. Both women and men, however, participate in economic activities both in the rural and urban areas. Traditionally, rural men engage in fishing and other seafaring activities, and the labor-intensive agricultural work. Women engage in some of the less labor-intensive agricultural work, household chores, and childcare. Women also sell local produce at markets while men sell fish. Overall, women are generally paid less than men.

Three forms of conjugal unions are recognized in St. Vincent And The Grenadines, legal marriage, cohabitation without legal marriage, and visiting relationship (where couples stay apart but visit each other). Legal marriages usually take place quite late in the life of a couple, often after they have had several children together. A significant number of both women and men tend to have multiple partners in the course of their life.

Households size in the country is highly flexible. Extended, nuclear, and single-member households are all common. Children are adored by Vincentians. The entire family participates in child upbringing. Usually, children are not named until they are about a month old. It is a common custom to bury the navel-string of a newborn under a fruit-bearing tree to ensure a healthy and happy life of the child. Education is free but not compulsory in the country. With little skilled employment opportunities on the island country, many Vincentians are over-educated on the whole. Vincentians are known for their generous behavior. They can go to a great extent to help those in need.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Religious Beliefs In Saint Lucia

A church in Sourfriere, Saint Lucia.
Christianity is the religion of the majority in Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia is an island nation located in the Eastern Caribbean Sea. Over 90% of the citizens of Saint Lucia are Christian. Every village in Saint Lucia contains a church and all Catholic holidays and sacraments are celebrated in the country. The cultural influence of the French is seen widely throughout Saint Lucian society. Religious authorities within Saint Lucia follow the Catholic clergy system.

Religious Demographics In Saint Lucia

According to the latest national census, just over 90% of the population of Saint Lucia align themselves with the Christian religion. Furthermore, approximately two-thirds of the Christian population consider themselves Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholic presence in Saint Lucia is credited to the early influence of French colonial settlers and merchants. The remaining population that adhere to Christianity are either Protestant, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Baptists, Anglicans, or Jehovah's Witnesses.

Just 2.3% of Saint Lucians follow a non-Christian religious doctrine, There are very small sects of the population that practice Rastafarianism (1.9%), Hinduism (0.3%), and Islam (0.1%). 5.9% of inhabitants stated that they have no religion (atheist, agnostic) whatsoever. Also, 1.4% of the population did not state their religious beliefs on the National Census, whether they are atheist or otherwise.

Death And The Afterlife

Saint Lucians who align themselves as Christian believe in the Christian-based theory of the afterlife. Funerals are performed in a similar manner to a solemn Western wake but they also include distinct Saint Lucian cultural practices. These cultural practices include the serving of rum, juice, and strong coffee at the wake as well as traditional hymns and songs.

A funeral may be repeated one week after death and a mass is usually held on the one year anniversary of death. Those who have past are remembered every year on November 1st, which is known as All Saints Day. On this day each year, candles, flowers, and wreaths are placed on gravesites.

Freedom Of Religion In Saint Lucia

The government of Saint Lucia encourages freedom of choice when it comes to religious beliefs and practices. Although the majority of holidays and ceremonies are based on Christian beliefs, the government also recognizes other important religious days on the calendar.
Saint Lucia is a Caribbean country that contains very few native peoples and this is reflected in the religious beliefs of this small island nation. African and European influences are both widely spread throughout the Christian majority.

Religious Beliefs In Saint Lucia

Rank Religion Population (%)

1 Christianity 90
2 No Religion 5.9
3 Rastafarianism 1.9
4 Not stated 1.4
5 Hinduism 0.3
6 Islam 0.1

By Justin Findlay

•culled from
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