São Tomé e Príncipe

República Democrática de São Tomé e Príncipe
  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


The islands of São Tomé and Principe off the west coast of Africa were colonized by Portugal in the fifteenth century. There may have been a few African inhabitants or visitors earlier but most of the population arrived during the centuries when the islands served as an important slave-trading depot for South America. In the 19th century the islands became the first parts of Africa to grow cocoa. Although in 1876 Portugal abolished slavery in name, in practice it continued thereafter with many Angolans, Mozambicans and Cape Verdians being transported to work on the cocoa plantations. Because the slave-descended population was cut off from African culture, São Tome had a higher proportion than other Portuguese colonies of assimilados (Africans acquiring full Portuguese culture and certain rights). Sâo Tome saw serious riots against Portuguese rule in 1953. From 1960 a Movement for the Liberation of São Tome e Principe operated from neighbouring African territories. In 1970 Portugal formed a 16-member legislative council and a provincial consultative council. Following the Portuguese revolution of 1974 a transitional government was formed. Independence came on 12 July 1975. Independent Sâo Tome e Principe officially proclaimed Marxist-Leninist policies but maintained a non-aligned foreign policy and has received aid from Portugal.


Cocoa Bean Transitional Government Cocoa Plantation Bantu Language Annual Population Growth Rate 
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Further Reading

  1. Shaw, Caroline S., São Tomé e Principe. [Bibliography] ABC-Clio, Oxford and Santa Barbara (CA), 1994Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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