Sao Tome and Principe


Sao Tome and Príncipe, the official name is the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Príncipe (port. República Democrática de São Tomé e Príncipe) is an island nation in Central Africa. Located on the archipelago of the same name in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Africa. The state includes two islands of volcanic origin - Sao Tome and Principe, the distance between which is about 140 km - and six more smaller islands.

After the Republic of the Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe is the smallest in area (1001 km²[6]) of the African states. Sao Tome and Principe is also the smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world.

The islands were discovered by Portuguese navigators in 1471-1472 and were named after the names of the respective saints. So, the island, discovered on December 21, 1471, on the day of St. Thomas the Apostle, was called the "island of St. Thomas" (port. São Tomé, in the domestic literature the name "island of St. Thomas" was previously used, since the 1920s the name "island Sao Tome). A few weeks later, on January 17, 1472, on the day of St. Anthony, a neighboring island was discovered, originally called the "Isle of St. Anthony" (port. Santo Antão). In 1502, the island was renamed "Prince's Island" (port. Ilha do Principe), in honor of the Portuguese heir to the throne, in whose favor duties were levied on sugar produced on the island. In domestic literature, the name “Princes Island” was previously used, since the 1920s the name “Principe Island” has been used.



The islands were discovered by Portuguese navigators between 1469 and 1471. The first settlement on the island of Sao Tome was founded in 1493 by the Portuguese Alvaro Caminha, who received this land as a gift from the Portuguese crown. In the same way, the island of Principe was settled in 1500. By the middle of the 16th century, with the help of African slave labor, the Portuguese turned these islands into the largest suppliers of sugar to European markets.

After 100 years, sugar production declined, and by the middle of the 17th century, Sao Tome was only a port for temporary parking of ships. At the beginning of the 19th century, cocoa and coffee began to be cultivated here. Good volcanic soils made it possible to obtain rich harvests, and almost the entire territory of the islands suitable for cultivation was occupied by plantations. By 1908 Sao Tome had become the largest cocoa producer in the world.

The plantation economy system was based on the brutal exploitation of hired workers from the African continent (in particular, from Angola). Although Portugal officially abolished slavery as early as 1876, working conditions on the plantations were close to those of slaves. This led to unrest, the largest of which occurred in 1953, when hundreds of African workers died in clashes with Portuguese planters.

In 1919, Sir Arthur Eddington's expedition to the island of Principe confirmed the theory of relativity.

In 1960, a small group of people from Sao Tome created the Committee for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe, based in neighboring Gabon. In 1972, the committee became the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP).

After the victory of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, its new government entered into negotiations with the leaders of the national liberation movements in the Portuguese colonies. António Pires Veloso was the last Portuguese governor of Sao Tome and Principe. In November 1974, a meeting was held in Algiers between representatives of Portugal and the MLSTP, as a result of which an agreement was signed on the granting of independence to Sao Tome and Principe on July 12, 1975. In December 1974, a transitional government was established with the participation of representatives of the MLSTP and Portugal, and on July 12, 1975, the independent Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe was proclaimed. Manuel Pinto da Costa was elected the first president.

In 1990, democratic reforms began in Sao Tome: the legalization of opposition parties, changes in the constitution. In 1991, the first free elections were held on a multi-party basis.

In 1999, in Sao Tome and Principe, the Millennium coin-clock was made, the mechanism of which counted the time until 00:00 on January 1, 2000. Now this device is stored in the Feodosia Museum of Money.


The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe is the smallest country in Africa after the Seychelles.

The islands of Sao Tome and Principe are located in the equatorial Atlantic approximately 300 and 250 kilometers off the northwest coast of Gabon, respectively. The relief of both islands is mountainous, as they are part of an extinct chain of volcanoes (Cameroon line), which also includes the islands of Annobon to the southwest and Bioko to the northeast, as well as part of Equatorial Guinea, and volcano Cameroon on the west coast of Africa.

Sao Tome Island measures 48 km long by 32 km wide. On this island is the capital of the state, the city of Sao Tome.

The island of Principe measures 6 by 16 km.

The equator passes just south of the island of Sao Tome, through or very close to the island of Rolash.

The highest point of the island of Sao Tome is the peak of Sao Tome (2024 m), the island of Principe is the peak of Principe (948 m).

The climate at sea level is tropical maritime, that is, hot and humid. The average annual temperature is +26-27 °C. During the hot months, especially in January, the temperature usually exceeds +30 °C, while in the coldest (July) it can drop below +20 °C.

Most precipitation (up to 5000 mm) falls in the southwest of Sao Tome, the least (up to 1000 mm) - in the lowlands in the north. The rainy season lasts from October to May.

Rivers flow along the slopes of the mountains, the largest of which are Agua Grande and Io Grande on Sao Tome, as well as Agulhas, Banzu and Papagayo on Principe.