São Tomé and Príncipe

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Coordinates: 1°N7°E / 1°N 7°E / 1; 7

Democratic Republic of
São Tomé and Príncipe

República Democrática de
São Tomé e Príncipe
  (Portuguese)
Motto: "Unidade, Disciplina, Trabalho" (Portuguese)
"Unity, Discipline, Labour"
Anthem:  Independência total
Total Independence
Location Sao Tome and Principe AU Africa.svg
Sao Tome and Principe - Location Map (2013) - STP - UNOCHA.svg
Capital
and largest city
São Tomé
0°20′N6°44′E / 0.333°N 6.733°E / 0.333; 6.733
Official languages Portuguese
Recognised regional languages
Demonym(s)
  • São Toméan (Sao Tomean) [1]
  • Santomean
Government Unitary semipresidential republic [2]
  President
Evaristo Carvalho
Jorge Bom Jesus
Legislature National Assembly
Independence
 from Portugal
12 July 1975
Area
 Total
1,001 [3]  km2 (386 sq mi)(171th)
 Water (%)
Negligible
Population
 2016 estimate
199,910 [4] (178th)
 2012 census
178,739
 Density
199.7/km2 (517.2/sq mi)(69th)
GDP  (PPP)2017 estimate
 Total
$685 million [5]
 Per capita
$3,220 [5]
GDP  (nominal)2017 estimate
 Total
$355 million [5]
 Per capita
$1,668 [5]
Gini  (2010)33.9 [6]
medium
HDI  (2017)Increase2.svg 0.589 [7]
medium ·  143rd
Currency Dobra (STN)
Time zone UTC+0 (GMT)
Driving side right
Calling code +239
ISO 3166 code ST
Internet TLD .st

São Tomé and Príncipe ( /ˌstəˈm...ˈprɪnsɪpə, -p/ ; [8] Portuguese:  [sɐ̃w̃ tuˈmɛ i ˈpɾĩsɨpɨ] ), officially the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, about 140 km (87 mi) apart and about 250 and 225 km (155 and 140 mi) off the northwestern coast of Gabon, respectively.

Island country state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands

An island country is a country whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 1996, 25.2% of all independent countries were island countries.

Gulf of Guinea The northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia

The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf.

Central Africa Core region of the African continent

Central Africa is a region of the African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe are members of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Six of those states are also members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and share a common currency, the Central African CFA franc. The African Development Bank defines Central Africa as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. Middle Africa is an analogous term used by the United Nations in its geoscheme for Africa. It includes the same countries as the African Development Bank's definition, along with Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.

The islands were uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Gradually colonised and settled by the Portuguese throughout the 16th century, they collectively served as a vital commercial and trade center for the Atlantic slave trade. The rich volcanic soil and close proximity to the Equator made São Tomé and Príncipe ideal for sugar cultivation, followed later by cash crops such as coffee and cocoa; the lucrative plantation economy was heavily dependent upon imported African slaves. Cycles of social unrest and economic instability throughout the 19th and 20th centuries culminated in peaceful independence in 1975. São Tomé and Príncipe has since remained one of Africa's most stable and democratic countries.

Portugal Republic in Southwestern Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Atlantic slave trade Slave trade across the Atlantic Ocean from the 16th to the 19th centuries

The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were people from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders, who brought them to the Americas. The South Atlantic and Caribbean economies especially were dependent on the supply of secure labour for the production of commodity crops, making goods and clothing to sell in Europe. This was crucial to those western European countries which, in the late 17th and 18th centuries, were vying with each other to create overseas empires.

Sugar generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. The various types of sugar are derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose, fructose, and galactose. "Table sugar" or "granulated sugar" refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. In the body, sucrose is hydrolysed into fructose and glucose.

With a population of 201,800 (2018 official estimate) [9] , [4] São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African sovereign state after Seychelles, as well as the smallest Portuguese-speaking country. Its people are predominantly of African and mestiço descent, with most practising Roman Catholicism. The legacy of Portuguese rule is also visible in the country's culture, customs, and music, which fuse European and African influences. São Tomé and Príncipe is a founding member state of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

Seychelles Island country to the East of Africa

Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is an archipelago country in the Indian Ocean. The capital of the 115-island country, Victoria, lies 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) east of mainland East Africa. Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros, Mayotte, Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius to the south; as well as the Maldives and Chagos Archipelago to the east. With a population of roughly 94,228, it has the smallest population of any sovereign African country.

Community of Portuguese Language Countries International organization

The Community of Portuguese Language Countries, also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, is an international organization and political association of Lusophone nations across four continents, where Portuguese is an official language. The CPLP operates as a privileged, multilateral forum for the mutual cooperation of the governments, economies, non-governmental organizations, and peoples of the Lusofonia. The CPLP consists of 9 member states and 19 associate observers, located in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa.

History

Discovery

Map of Sao Tome by Johannes Vingboons (1665) Johannes Vingboons - 't eylant St. Thome (1665).jpg
Map of São Tomé by Johannes Vingboons (1665)

The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe (English translation Saint Thomas and Prince) were uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived sometime around 1470. The islands were discovered by João de Santarém and Pêro Escobar. Portuguese navigators explored the islands and decided that they would be good locations for bases to trade with the mainland.

João de Santarém was a Portuguese explorer who discovered São Tomé, Annobón and Príncipe together with Pêro Escobar, he also encountered the town of Sassandra in the Ivory Coast in 1471 and in 1472 explored the African land from Ghana up to the Niger Delta. From 1484 he was captain of Alcatrazes in Cape Verde.

Pêro Escobar Portuguese navigator

Pedro Escobar, also known as Pêro Escobar, was a 15th-century Portuguese navigator who discovered São Tomé, Annobon, Príncipe islands, together with João de Santarém c. 1470. He is then recorded sailing with Diogo Cão on his first voyage in 1482, and as the pilot of the famous Bérrio caravel on Vasco da Gama’s first expedition in 1497 to sail directly from Europe to India. He was also on Pedro Álvares Cabral’s discovery of Brazil in 1500.

The dates of discovery are sometimes given as 21 December (St Thomas's Day) 1471, for São Tomé; and 17 January (St Antony's Day) 1472, for Príncipe, though other sources cite different years around that time. Príncipe was initially named Santo Antão ("Saint Anthony"), changing its name in 1502 to Ilha do Príncipe ("Prince's Island"), in reference to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid.

Thomas the Apostle Early Christian, one of the twelve apostles and a saint

Thomas the Apostle, also called Didymus ("twin"), was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament.

Anthony the Great Christian saint, monk, and hermit

Saint Anthony or Antony, was a Christian monk from Egypt, revered since his death as a saint. He is distinguished from other saints named Anthony such as Anthony of Padua, by various epithets of his own: Anthony the Great, Anthony of Egypt, Antony the Abbot,Anthony of the Desert,Anthony the Anchorite, and Anthony of Thebes. For his importance among the Desert Fathers and to all later Christian monasticism, he is also known as the Father of All Monks. His feast day is celebrated on 17 January among the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches and on Tobi 22 in the Coptic calendar used by the Coptic Church.

The first successful settlement of São Tomé was established in 1493 by Álvaro Caminha, who received the land as a grant from the crown. Príncipe was settled in 1500 under a similar arrangement. Attracting settlers proved difficult, however, and most of the earliest inhabitants were "undesirables" sent from Portugal, mostly Jews. [10] In time, these settlers found the volcanic soil of the region suitable for agriculture, especially the growing of sugar.

Álvaro Caminha was appointed by King John II of Portugal in 1492 Captain-major (governor) – apparently the third – of the Portuguese colony of São Tomé and Príncipe which had been discovered 22 years earlier.

Jews ancient nation and ethnoreligious group from the Levant

Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe

By 1515, São Tomé and Príncipe had become slave depots for the coastal slave trade centered at Elmina. [11]

Sao Sebastiao Museum in Sao Tome Forte de Sao Sebastiao - Sao Tome (8084256064).jpg
São Sebastião Museum in São Tomé

The cultivation of sugar was a labour-intensive process and the Portuguese began to enslave large numbers of Africans from the mainland. These slaves originated mainly from the Niger Delta and in Kongo. [12] Originally, the residents of São Tomé focused on cultivating provisions for themselves, sustaining their slaves, and participating in the export of slaves. A lack of value existed for the property on the island, as before the sugar boom, not much incentive remained to own land. [13] Foodstuffs often had to be imported, as cultivation on São Tomé was limited. The low value of property is emphasized by the death of a São Toméan landowner, Álvaro Borges in November, 1504. [13] When Borges passed, his cleared land and domesticated animals were sold for merely 13,000 réis at a time when four slaves could be bought for 19,400 réis. [14] Although São Tomé, according to Valentim Fernandes around 1506, had bountiful sugarcane fields and even larger sugarcane than Madeira "from which they already produce molasses," [15] the island was absent of the facilities needed for industrial levels of sugar production. [13]

São Tomé would only became economically noteworthy with the introduction of a land grant in 1515 of a water-powered sugar mill. [16] Just two years later in 1517, Portuguese documents highlighted the importance of these sugar mills in the mass cultivation of sugar. [16] The documents state, "The fields are expanding and the sugar mills, too. At this time, only two sugar mills are here and another three are being built, counting the mill of the contractors, which is large. Similarly, the necessary conditions exist, such as streams and timber, to be able to build many more. And the [sugar] canes are the biggest I have ever seen in my life." The expansion of sugar fields and production in São Tomé led to the creation of plantation[s]. [17] The creation of plantations resulted in an economic surge of sugar through slave labor. Consequently, São Tomé's economy was based in sugar production and the slave trade. By the mid-16th century, the Portuguese settlers had turned the islands into Africa's foremost exporter of sugar.

Slaves in São Tomé were bought from the Slave Coast of West Africa, the Niger Delta, the island Fernando Po, then later from the Kongo and Angola. [18] In the 16th century, the enslaved were imported from and exported to Portugal, Elmina, the Kingdom of Kongo, Angola, and the Spanish Americas. In 1510, reportedly 10,000 to 12,000 slaves were imported by Portugal. [19] Then in 1516, São Tomé received 4,072 slaves with the purpose of re-exportation. [19] As a result, in 1519 the island became the center of the slave trade between Elmina and the Niger Delta up until 1540. [20] Throughout the early to mid sixteenth century, São Tomé was additionally harboring slave trade relationships intermittently with Angola and the Kingdom of Kongo. [21] Furthermore, in 1525 São Tomé began its slave trade relationship with the Spanish Americas. [22] Most of the slaves to the Spanish Americas went to the Caribbean and Brazil. In the period between 1532 and 1536, every year São Tomé sent an average of 342 slaves to the Antilles. [23] Prior to 1580, the island accounted for 75 percent of Brazil's imports, mainly exporting slaves. [23] The slave trade was a cornerstone of São Tomé's economy all the way until the beginning of the seventeenth century.

The power dynamics of São Tomé in the 16th century were surprisingly diverse with the participation of free mulatto[s] and black citizens in governance. Due to the minimal amounts of voluntary colonists, who actively avoided inhabiting São Tomé because of the presence of disease and food shortages, the crown deported convicts to the island and encouraged interracial relationships to secure the settlement. Slavery was also not permanent, as demonstrated through the 1515 royal decree granting the manumission to African wives of white settlers and their mixed-race children. [24] Then in 1517, another royal decree freed the male slaves who had originally arrived on the island with the first colonists. [24] After 1520, a royal charter allowed for property-owning, married, free mulattos to hold public offices. [24] This was followed by a royal decree in 1546 that equated these qualified mulattos with the white settlers. [24] Consequently, free mulattos and black citizens enjoyed opportunities for upward mobility and participated in local politics and economy. Compounded with the participation of deported convicts and white settlers in government, frequent disputes occurred in the governance of São Tomé, which consisted of town councils, a governor, and a bishop. [25] These quarrels meant that São Tomé was constantly politically unstable.

Slavery in São Tomé was originally much less structured because of the scarcity of resources on the island. In the mid-16th century, an anonymous Portuguese pilot noted that the slaves were employed as couples, built their own accommodations, and worked autonomously once a week on the cultivation of their own food supply. [26] However, this more relaxed slave system did not last long following the introduction of plantations. From the onset of slavery in São Tomé, slaves frequently ran away to the mountainous interior of the island. [27] Between 1514 and 1527, five percent of slaves that were imported to São Tomé escaped. [27] These runaway slaves frequently starved to death, as there were few crops and edible animals in the tropical mountains of the island. [28] Ironically, the lack of food on the sugar plantations especially between 1531 and 1535 was one of the main reasons slaves attempted to escape. [28] Eventually, the Maroon (people) developed settlements in the interior of the island known as macambos. [28]

The first signs of slave rebellion began in the 1530s, when the maroon gangs organized and attacked plantations. [28] As a result, more plantations were abandoned. The attacks became so common that a formal complaint was lodged by local Portuguese authorities in 1531 claiming that too many settlers and black citizens were being killed in the fights, and that the island would be lost if the problem remained unresolved. [28] As a solution, in 1533 local authorities engaged in a 'bush war' led by a 'bush captain' using militia units to suppress the maroon combatants. [28] A significant event in the maroon fight for freedom occurred in 1549, when two men claiming to have been born free men from the macambos were taken in by a wealthy mulatto planter named Ana de Chaves. [28] With the support of de Chaves, the two men sent in a petition to the king to be labeled free men instead of slaves. The monarch ended up approving the request. The largest occurrence of marronage happened simultaneously to the sugar boom of the mid-16th century, when the number of plantation slaves increased exponentially. [28] Between 1587 and 1590, many of the runaway slaves were defeated as a result of the bush war. [29] However, in 1593 the slaves regrouped and reorganized only for later that year, according to the governor at the time, to be almost completely extinguished. [30] Despite the counter-revolutionary efforts by the authorities, the settlers were unable to inhabit the southern and western parts of São Tomé, because of their proximity to the maroons. The greatest slave revolt in São Tomé occurred in July 1595, during a period when the government was weakened by disputes between the bishop and the governor. [29] The revolt, which was headed by a native slave named Amador, was successful in uniting 5000 slaves in an effort to raid and destroy plantations, sugar mills, and settler's houses. [29] Amador and his rebellion unsuccessfully attempted to raid the town three times before eventually, after three weeks, they were defeated by the militia. [29] Two hundred slaves were killed in combat, and Amador and the other rebel leaders were executed. [29] The rest of the slaves were granted amnesty and returned to their plantations. Amador's revolt had successfully destroyed 60 of the island's 85 sugar mills in one of the greatest slave uprisings in history. [29] Smaller slavery rebellions followed in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Eventually, competition from sugar-producing colonies in the Western Hemisphere began to hurt the islands. The large enslaved population also proved difficult to control, with Portugal unable to invest many resources in the effort. Sugar cultivation thus declined over the next 100 years, and by the mid-17th century, the economy of São Tomé had changed. It was now primarily a transit point for ships engaged in the slave trade between the West and continental Africa.

In the early 19th century, two new cash crops, coffee and cocoa, were introduced. The rich, volcanic soils proved well suited to the new cash crop industry, and soon extensive plantations (known as roças), owned by Portuguese companies or absentee landlords, occupied almost all of the good farmland.[ citation needed ] By 1908, São Tomé had become the world's largest producer of cocoa, which remains the country's most important crop.

The roças system, which gave the plantation managers a high degree of authority, led to abuses against the African farm workers. Although Portugal officially abolished slavery in 1876, the practice of forced paid labour continued. Scientific American documented in words and pictures the continued use of slaves in São Tomé in its 13 March 1897 issue.

In the early 20th century, an internationally publicized controversy arose over charges that Angolan contract workers were being subjected to forced labour and unsatisfactory working conditions. Sporadic labor unrest and dissatisfaction continued well into the 20th century, culminating in an outbreak of riots in 1953 in which several hundred African laborers were killed in a clash with their Portuguese rulers. This "Batepá Massacre" remains a major event in the colonial history of the islands, and its anniversary is officially observed by the government.The cultivation of sugar was a labour-intensive process and the Portuguese began to enslave large numbers of Africans from the mainland. By the mid-16th century, the Portuguese settlers had turned the islands into Africa's foremost exporter of sugar. São Tomé and Príncipe were taken over and administered by the Portuguese crown in 1522 and 1573, respectively.

Independence (1975)

The cathedral of Sao Tome Sao Tome Cathedral 7 (16223085806).jpg
The cathedral of São Tomé

By the late 1950s, when other emerging nations across the African continent demanded their independence, a small group of São Toméans had formed the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP), which eventually established its base in nearby Gabon. Picking up momentum in the 1960s, events moved quickly after the overthrow of the Caetano dictatorship in Portugal in April 1974.

The new Portuguese regime was committed to the dissolution of its overseas colonies. In November 1974, their representatives met with the MLSTP in Algiers and worked out an agreement for the transfer of sovereignty. After a period of transitional government, São Tomé and Príncipe achieved independence on 12 July 1975, choosing as the first president the MLSTP Secretary General Manuel Pinto da Costa.

In 1990, São Tomé became one of the first African countries to undergo democratic reform, and changes to the constitution – the legalization of opposition political parties – led to elections in 1991 that were nonviolent, free, and transparent. Miguel Trovoada, a former prime minister who had been in exile since 1986, returned as an independent candidate and was elected president. Trovoada was re-elected in São Tomé's second multiparty presidential election in 1996.

The Party of Democratic Convergence won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, with the MLSTP becoming an important and vocal minority party. Municipal elections followed in late 1992, in which the MLSTP won a majority of seats on five of seven regional councils. In early legislative elections in October 1994, the MLSTP won a plurality of seats in the assembly. It regained an outright majority of seats in the November 1998 elections.

Presidential elections were held in July 2001. The candidate backed by the Independent Democratic Action party, Fradique de Menezes, was elected in the first round and inaugurated on 3 September. Parliamentary elections were held in March 2002. For the next four years, a series of short-lived opposition-led governments was formed.

The army seized power for one week in July 2003, complaining of corruption and that forthcoming oil revenues would not be divided fairly. An accord was negotiated under which President de Menezes was returned to office.[ citation needed ] The cohabitation period ended in March 2006, when a propresidential coalition won enough seats in National Assembly elections to form a new government. [31]

In the 30 July 2006 presidential election, Fradique de Menezes easily won a second five-year term in office, defeating two other candidates Patrice Trovoada (son of former President Miguel Trovoada) and independent Nilo Guimarães. Local elections, the first since 1992, took place on 27 August 2006 and were dominated by members of the ruling coalition.[ citation needed ] On 12 February 2009, a coup d'état was attempted to overthrow President Fradique de Menezes. The plotters were imprisoned, but later received a pardon from President de Menezes. [32]

Politics

Presidential Palace of Sao Tome e Principe Palais presidentiel a Sao Tome (7).jpg
Presidential Palace of São Tomé e Príncipe
Santomean personnel undergo medical training with US Naval corpsmen US Navy 080123-N-4044H-052 Chief Hospital Corpsman Chris Maurer demonstrates to Sao Tomain military personnel the procedure for inserting an intravenous drip into a person's vein.jpg
Santomean personnel undergo medical training with US Naval corpsmen

The president of the republic is elected to a five-year term by direct universal suffrage and a secret ballot, and must gain an outright majority to be elected. The president may hold up to two consecutive terms. The prime minister is appointed by the president, and the 14 members of cabinet are chosen by the prime minister.

The National Assembly, the supreme organ of the state and the highest legislative body, is made up of 55 members, who are elected for a four-year term and meet semiannually. Justice is administered at the highest level by the Supreme Court. The judiciary is independent under the current constitution.

Political culture

São Tomé has functioned under a multiparty system since 1990. With regard to human rights in São Tomé, there are freedom of speech and the freedom to form opposition political parties.

São Tomé and Príncipe finished 11th out of the African countries measured by the Ibrahim Index of African Governance in 2010, a comprehensive reflection of the levels of governance in Africa. [33]

Foreign relations

São Tomé and Príncipe has embassies in Angola, Belgium, Gabon, Portugal, and the United States. It recognized the People's Republic of China in 2016. It also has a permanent mission to the UN in New York City and an International Diplomatic Correspondent Office.

São Tomé and Príncipe is a founding member state of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, and international organization and political association of Lusophone nations across four continents, where Portuguese is an official language.

Military

São Tomé and Príncipe's military is small and consists of four branches: the Army (Exército), Coast Guard (Guarda Costeira also called "Navy"), Presidential Guard (Guarda Presidencial), and the National Guard.

Administrative divisions

In 1977, two years after independence, the country was divided into two provinces (São Tomé Province and Príncipe Province) and six districts. Since the new constitution was adopted in 1990, the provinces have been abolished, and the districts are the only administrative subdivisions. Since 29 April 1995, the island of Príncipe is an autonomous region, coterminous with the district of Pagué. The larger island of São Tomé is divided into six districts and Príncipe island into one: [34]

São Tomé Island

Príncipe Island

Geography

A view of Praia Inhame, Caue District, Sao Tome. Sao Tome WV banner.jpg
A view of Praia Inhame , Caué District, São Tomé.

The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, situated in the equatorial Atlantic and Gulf of Guinea about 300 and 250 km (190 and 160 mi), respectively, off the northwest coast of Gabon, constitute Africa's second-smallest country. Both are part of the Cameroon volcanic mountain line, which also includes the islands of Annobón to the southwest, Bioko to the northeast (both part of Equatorial Guinea), and Mount Cameroon on the coast of Gulf of Guinea.

São Tomé is 50 km (30 mi) long and 30 km (20 mi) wide and the more mountainous of the two islands. Its peaks reach 2,024 m (6,640 ft)Pico de São Tomé. Príncipe is about 30 km (20 mi) long and 6 km (4 mi) wide. Its peaks reach 948 m (3,110 ft)Pico de Príncipe. Swift streams radiating down the mountains through lush forest and cropland to the sea cross both islands. The Equator lies immediately south of São Tomé Island, passing through the islet Ilhéu das Rolas.

The Pico Cão Grande (Great Dog Peak) is a landmark volcanic plug peak, at 0°7′0″N6°34′00″E / 0.11667°N 6.56667°E / 0.11667; 6.56667 in southern São Tomé. It rises over 300 m (1,000 ft) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 663 m (2,175 ft) above sea level.

Climate

At sea level, the climate is tropical—hot and humid with average yearly temperatures of about 27 °C (80.6 °F) and little daily variation. The temperature rarely rises beyond 32 °C (89.6 °F). At the interior's higher elevations, the average yearly temperature is 20 °C (68 °F), and nights are generally cool. Annual rainfall varies from 5,000 mm (196.9 in) on the southwestern slopes to 1,000 mm (39.4 in) in the northern lowlands. The rainy season is from October to May.

Wildlife

São Tomé and Príncipe does not have a large number of native mammals (although the São Tomé shrew and several bat species are endemic). The islands are home to a larger number of endemic birds and plants, including the world's smallest ibis (the São Tomé ibis), the world's largest sunbird (the giant sunbird), the rare São Tomé fiscal, and several giant species of Begonia . São Tomé and Principe is an important marine turtle-nesting site, including the hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Economy

Cocoa in Sao Tome Fresh Cacao from Sao Tome & Principe (4859837584).jpg
Cocoa in São Tomé
Ossame fruit (pepper) in Sao Tome and Principe Grainsofparadisefruits.jpg
Ossame fruit (pepper) in São Tomé and Príncipe

Since the 19th century, the economy of São Tomé and Príncipe has been based on plantation agriculture. At the time of independence, Portuguese-owned plantations occupied 90% of the cultivated area. After independence, control of these plantations passed to various state-owned agricultural enterprises. The main crop on São Tomé is cocoa, representing about 95% of agricultural exports. Other export crops include copra, palm kernels, and coffee.

Domestic food-crop production is inadequate to meet local consumption, so the country imports most of its food. [35] In 1997, an estimated 90% of the country's food needs are met through imports. [35] Efforts have been made by the government in recent years to expand food production, and several projects have been undertaken, largely financed by foreign donors.

Mercado Coco-coco, a marketplace in the city of Sao Tome In the city center, the new marketplace bustles with activity..jpg
Mercado Côco-côco, a marketplace in the city of São Tomé
Sao Tome town centre Sao Tome 9 (16061450608).jpg
São Tomé town centre
Sao Tome International Airport Airside View of the Terminal Building - Sao Tome International Airport.JPG
São Tomé International Airport

Other than agriculture, the main economic activities are fishing and a small industrial sector engaged in processing local agricultural products and producing a few basic consumer goods. The scenic islands have potential for tourism, and the government is attempting to improve its rudimentary tourist industry infrastructure. The government sector accounts for about 11% of employment.

Following independence, the country had a centrally directed economy, with most means of production owned and controlled by the state. The original constitution guaranteed a mixed economy, with privately owned cooperatives combined with publicly owned property and means of production.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the economy of São Tomé encountered major difficulties. Economic growth stagnated, and cocoa exports dropped in both value and volume, creating large balance-of-payments deficits. Plantation land was seized, resulting in the complete collapse of cocoa production. At the same time, the international price of cocoa slumped.

In response to its economic downturn, the government undertook a series of far-reaching economic reforms. In 1987, the government implemented an International Monetary Fund structural adjustment program, and invited greater private participation in management of the parastatals, as well as in the agricultural, commercial, banking, and tourism sectors. The focus of economic reform since the early 1990s has been widespread privatization, especially of the state-run agricultural and industrial sectors.

The São Toméan government has traditionally obtained foreign assistance from various donors, including the UN Development Programme, the World Bank, the European Union, Portugal, Taiwan, and the African Development Bank. In April 2000, in association with the Banco Central de São Tomé e Príncipe, the IMF approved a poverty-reduction and growth facility for São Tomé aimed at reducing inflation to 3% for 2001, raising ideal growth to 4%, and reducing the fiscal deficit.

In late 2000, São Tomé qualified for significant debt reduction under the IMF–World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative. The reduction is being reevaluated by the IMF, due to the attempted coup d'état in July 2003 and subsequent emergency spending. Following the truce, the IMF decided to send a mission to São Tomé to evaluate the macroeconomic state of the country. This evaluation is ongoing, reportedly pending oil legislation to determine how the government will manage incoming oil revenues, which are still poorly defined, but in any case expected to change the economic situation dramatically.

In parallel, some efforts have been made to incentivize private tourism initiatives, but their scope remains limited. [36]

São Tomé also hosts a broadcasting station of the American International Broadcasting Bureau for the Voice of America [37] at Pinheira. [38]

Portugal remains one of São Tomé's major trading partners, particularly as a source of imports. Food, manufactured articles, machinery, and transportation equipment are imported primarily from the EU.

São Tomé and Príncipe was ranked the 174th-safest investment destination in the world in the March 2011 Euromoney Country Risk rankings. [39]

Petroleum exploration

International Bank of Sao Tome e Principe Sao Tome DSC 7995 (32036163784).jpg
International Bank of São Tomé e Príncipe

In 2001, São Tomé and Nigeria reached agreement on joint exploration for petroleum in waters claimed by the two countries of the Niger Delta geologic province. After a lengthy series of negotiations, in April 2003, the joint development zone (JDZ) was opened for bids by international oil firms. The JDZ was divided into nine blocks; the winning bids for block one, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, and the Norwegian firm, Equity Energy, were announced in April 2004, with São Tomé to take in 40% of the $123 million bid, and Nigeria the other 60%. Bids on other blocks were still under consideration in October 2004. São Tomé has received more than $2 million from the bank to develop its petroleum sector. [40]

Banking

Banco Central de Sāo Tomé e Príncipe is the central bank, responsible for monetary policy and bank supervision. Six banks are in the country; the largest and oldest is Banco Internacional de São Tomé e Príncipe, which is a subsidiary of Portugal's government-owned Caixa Geral de Depósitos. It had a monopoly on commercial banking until a change in the banking law in 2003 led to the entry of several other banks.

Society

Demographics

Santomeans on the beach, Lobata District Dimanche en famille sur la plage des Tamarins (Sao Tome) (4).jpg
Santomeans on the beach, Lobata District
Sao Tome and Principe's population in thousands between 1961 and 2003 Sao Tome and Principe.png
São Tomé and Príncipe's population in thousands between 1961 and 2003
A scene of Santomean Tchioli, Auto de Floripes Festival Tchiloli a Sao Tome (56).jpg
A scene of Santomean Tchioli, Auto de Floripes Festival

The first ever census was carried out in 2011 with the help of the National Statistic Institute of Cape Verde. [41]

The total population is estimated at 201,800 in May 2018 by the government agency. [9] About 193,380 people live on São Tomé and 8,420 on Príncipe. Natural increase is about 4,000 people per year.

Nearly all are descended from people from different countries taken to the islands by the Portuguese from 1470 onwards. In the 1970s, two significant population movements occurred — the exodus of most of the 4,000 Portuguese residents and the influx of several hundred São Tomé refugees from Angola.

Ethnic groups

Distinct ethnic groups on São Tomé and Príncipe include:

Languages

Portuguese is the official and the de facto national language of São Tomé and Príncipe, with about 98.4% speaking it, a significant share as their native language, and it has been spoken in the islands since the end of the 15th century. Restructured variants of Portuguese or Portuguese creoles are also spoken: Forro, a creole language (36.2%), Cape Verdean Creole (8.5%), Angolar (6.6%), and Principense (1%). French (6.8%) and English (4.9%) are foreign languages taught in schools.

Religion

Religion in São Tomé and Príncipe [42]

   Catholic Church (71.9%)
  Other Christian (10.2%)
  Other or Non Religious (17.9%)

The majority of residents belongs to the local branch of the Roman Catholic Church, which in turn retains close ties with the church in Portugal. Sizeable Protestant minorities of Seventh-day Adventists and other Evangelical Protestants exist, as well as a small but growing Muslim population.

Nossa Senhora do Rosario Church, in Santo Antonio Pico Papagaio (20504263334).jpg
Nossa Senhora do Rosário Church, in Santo António
Casa da Cultura, Sao Tome and Principe Casa da Cultura a Sao Tome (1).jpg
Casa da Cultura, São Tomé and Príncipe

Health

See Health in São Tomé and Príncipe

Education

Education in São Tomé and Príncipe is compulsory for four years. [43] Primary school enrollment and attendance rates were unavailable for São Tomé and Príncipe as of 2001. [43]

The educational system has a shortage of classrooms, insufficiently trained and underpaid teachers, inadequate textbooks and materials, high rates of repetition, poor educational planning and management, and a lack of community involvement in school management. [43] Domestic financing of the school system is lacking, leaving the system highly dependent on foreign financing. [43]

Tertiary institutions are the National Lyceum (São Tomé and Príncipe) and the University of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Culture

São Toméan culture is a mixture of African and Portuguese influences.

Music

São Toméans are known for ússua and socopé rhythms, while Príncipe is home to the dêxa beat. Portuguese ballroom may have played an integral part in the development of these rhythms and their associated dances.

Tchiloli is a musical dance performance that tells a dramatic story. The danço-Congo is similarly a combination of music, dance, and theatre.

Cuisine

Staple foods include fish, seafood, beans, maize, and cooked banana. [44] [45] Tropical fruits, such as pineapple, avocado, and bananas, are significant components of the cuisine. The use of hot spices is prominent in São Tomése cuisine. [44] Coffee is used in various dishes as a spice or seasoning. [44] Breakfast dishes are often reheated leftovers from the previous evening's meal, and omelettes are popular. [45]

Sports

Football is the most famous sport in São Tomé and Principe, the São Tomé and Príncipe national football team is the national association football team of São Tomé and Príncipe and is controlled by the São Toméan Football Federation. It is a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA. [46]

See also

Related Research Articles

History of São Tomé and Príncipe aspect of history

The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese sometime between 1469 and 1471. After the islands were discovered by the explorers João de Santarém and Pêro Escobar, Portuguese navigators explored the islands and decided they would be a good location for bases to trade with the mainland.

This article is about the demographic features of the population of São Tomé and Príncipe, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Economy of São Tomé and Príncipe national economy

The economy of São Tomé and Príncipe, while traditionally dependent on cocoa, is experiencing considerable changes due to investment in the development of its oil industry in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea. In 2003, the government agreed to a Joint Development Zone over the area which gives Sao Tome 40% of revenues.

Joaquim Rafael Branco is a São Toméan politician who was Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe from 2008 to 2010. He is the President of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP/PSD).

São Tomé City in São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé is the capital and largest city of São Tomé and Príncipe. Its name is Portuguese for "Saint Thomas". It had an estimated population of 71,868 in 2015, accounting for over a third of the total population of the country (208,000).

Flag of São Tomé and Príncipe flag

The flag of São Tomé and Príncipe consists of a red triangle situated at the hoist, with three horizontal green, yellow and green bands charged with two five-pointed black stars at the centre. Adopted in 1975 to replace the flag of Portugal from the colonial period, it has been the flag of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe since the country gained independence in that same year. The design of the present flag was inspired by and is almost identical to the flag of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Príncipe island off of the coast of Africa

Príncipe is the smaller, northern major island of the country of São Tomé and Príncipe lying off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. It has an area of 142 square kilometres (55 sq mi) and a population of 7,324 at the 2012 Census; the latest official estimate was 8,420. The island is a heavily eroded volcano speculated to be over three million years old, surrounded by smaller islands including Ilheu Bom Bom, Ilhéu Caroço, Tinhosa Grande and Tinhosa Pequena. Part of the Cameroon Line archipelago, Príncipe rises in the south to 947 metres at Pico do Príncipe. The island is the main constituent of the Autonomous Region of Príncipe, established in 1995, and of the coterminous district of Pagué.

São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country off the coast of Africa. Culturally, the people are African but have been highly influenced by the Portuguese rulers of the islands.

Forro Creole Portuguese-based creole language spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe

Forro Creole is a minority Portuguese-based creole language spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe. It is also called by its native speakers as sãotomense creole or santomense creole.

Sugar plantations in the Caribbean

Sugar was the main crop produced on plantations throughout the Caribbean in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Most islands were covered with sugar cane fields, and mills for refining it. The main source of labor, until the abolition of chattel slavery, was enslaved Africans. After the abolition of slavery, indentured laborers from India, China, and Java migrated to the Caribbean to mostly work on the sugar plantations. These plantations produced 80 to 90 percent of the sugar consumed in Western Europe.

Patrice Trovoada Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe

Patrice Émery Trovoada is a São Toméan politician who was Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe from November 2014 to December 2018. He previously served as Prime Minister from February 2008 to June 2008 and again from August 2010 to December 2012.

Outline of São Tomé and Príncipe Overview of and topical guide to São Tomé and Príncipe

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to São Tomé and Príncipe:

Aurélio Martins São Tomé and Príncipe politician

Aurélio Pires Quaresma Martins is a São Toméan journalist, businessman and politician, who until May 2018 was leader of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP/PSD).

Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe islands were a colony of the Portuguese Empire from its discovery in 1470 until 1975, when independence was granted by Portugal.

Cuisine of São Tomé and Príncipe

Santomean cuisine comprises the cuisine, dishes and foods of São Tomé and Príncipe, a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. The country consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres, respectively, off the northwestern coast of Gabon.

India–São Tomé and Príncipe relations refers to the international relations that exist between India and São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). The Embassy of India in Luanda, Angola is concurrently accredited to São Tomé and Príncipe. STP maintains an Honorary Consul in New Delhi.

João Guadalupe Viegas de Ceita is a Santomean writer and a doctor, one of the national heroes, he was one of co-founders and ideologist of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP), a project for an independent São Tomé and Príncipe.

Rei Amador Charismatic figure in the history of Sao Tomé-et-Principe

Rei Amador was a member of the king of the Angolars and leader of a famous slave rebellion that took place in 1595 in the African islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. According to some historic documents, Rei Emadir was "a slave" who avoided slavery and mobilized all the Angolares along with other Africans and made a free nation under the middle of the mentioned islands.

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