World History

Sao Tome and Principe | History, Capital, Language, Flag, Facts

History of Sao Tome and Principe:

Sao Tome and Principe is a small island country off the west coast of Africa. When discovered by the Portuguese in the 1400s, the island was uninhabited. Alvaro Caminha built the first settlement on Sao Tome island in 1493. In the 1500s, both islands became Portuguese colonies.

For a time, the island became a major sugar exporter, but this activity ended in the 1600s. It was not until the 1800s that coffee and cocoa were introduced, and the island has a significant export value.

In 1975 Sao and Principe became a fully independent country. The first president was Manuel Pinto da Costa. He was its president until 1990.

Information about Sao Tome and Principe:

Capital Sao Tome
Population 232,666 (Source: 2023 worldometer)
Major Cities Sao Tome (capital), Santo Amaro, Neves, Santana, Trindade, Santa Cruz, Pantufo, Guadalupe
Borders Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $546,680,342 (2022 worldometer)
Currency dobra (STD)

Flag of Sao Tome and Principe:

Sao Tome and Principe Economy Key Industries:

Sao Tome and Principe Major Industries: light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber

Sao Tome and Principe Agricultural Products: cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish

Sao Tome and Principe Natural Resources: fish, hydropower

Sao Tome and Principe Major Exports: cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil

Sao Tome and Principe Major Imports: machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products

The Geography of Sao Tome and Principe:

Total Size of Sao Tome and Principe: 1,001 km²

Geographical Low Point of Sao Tome and Principe: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point of Sao Tome and Principe: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m

Climate of Sao Tome and Principe: Tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)

General Terrain of Sao Tome and Principe: volcanic, mountainous

World Region or Continent of Sao Tome and Principe: Africa

Geographical Coordinates: 1 00 N, 7 00 E

The People of  Sao Tome and Principe & Culture

Sao Tome and Principe Government Type: republic

Sao Tome and Principe Nationality: Sao Tomean(s)

Sao Tome and Principe National Holiday: Independence Day, 12 July (1975)

Sao Tome and Principe Independence: 12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

Sao Tome and Principe National Symbol:

Sao Tome and Principe National Anthem or Song: Independencia total (Total Independence)

Sao Tome and Principe Languages Spoken: Portuguese (official)

Sao Tome and Principe Religions: Catholic 70.3%, Evangelical 3.4%, New Apostolic 2%, Adventist 1.8%, other 3.1%, none 19.4% (2001 census)

Interesting Facts about Sao Tome and Principe:

São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country located off the west coast of Africa.

In terms of area and population, São Tomé and Príncipe is the second smallest country in Africa after the Seychelles.

São Tomé and Príncipe are made up of two main islands – São Tomé and Príncipe – as well as several small rocky islands.

São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited when discovered by Portuguese explorers around 1470.

The two main islands, São Tomé and Príncipe, are part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and are both mountains.

São Tomé and Príncipe are among the least visited countries in the world, welcoming only about 29,000 tourists in 2017 (latest data available).

São Tomé was invaded by the Portuguese in the 16th century. They imported slaves to work in sugar plantations and the island became an important site for the slave trade.

In 1975, after years of political struggle for independence and a military coup in Portugal in 1974, São Tomé and Príncipe finally became an independent nation.

The flag of São Tomé and Príncipe is made up of green and yellow horizontal stripes, a red triangle and two black stars. The red triangle symbolizes equality and independence movement, the two stars represent the two main islands, the green represents the vegetation, and the yellow represents the sun.

São Tomé and Príncipe are one of 27 countries that do not have a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Furthermore, there isn’t even a single property on the list that specifies places to be submitted for nominations.

However, the whole of Príncipe Island and its surrounding islets is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity, including several species of plants, mollusks, and insects. , birds, reptiles and endemic bats. It is also a refuge for marine life such as sea turtles, sea birds, marine mammals and coral reefs.

Due to their high density of endemic species, São Tomé and Príncipe have been dubbed the “Galápagos of Africa”.

In 2019, São Tomé and Príncipe were named by Lonely Planet as one of the 10 best countries in the world to visit for their “world-class” beaches, biodiversity information, and ecotourism.

Sao Tome was named after the apostle Saint Thomas by the Portuguese explorers who discovered the island on December 21, 1470, the saint’s feast day. Príncipe is an abbreviated version of the Portuguese name “Ilha do Principe” (Island of Princes) for a Portuguese prince.

One of the most famous places in São Tomé and Príncipe is the Cão Grande or Grand Canin (dog). The 663m high rocky peak is a hardened magma column, the remains of an ancient volcano.

In the late 15th century, Portugal sent settlers to São Tomé, including Jewish convicts and children separated from their parents and expelled from Portugal, as well as slaves. Africa was brought to the archipelago to grow sugar cane.

In the 16th century, São Tomé was briefly the largest sugar producer in the world. However, increased competition in Brazil and the poor quality of dried products from São Tomé fundamentally destroyed the industry.

During the 1800s, cocoa was introduced to São Tomé and by 1908 the island had become the world’s largest cocoa producer with 800 plantations. The industry declined after the Portuguese left and today only 150 are left.

Only one “manufacturer, producer and exporter of fine chocolate” remains in STP. Claudio Corallo is described as “the best chocolate maker on the planet” as he exports his chocolate to high-end department stores and chefs around the world.