São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe, a Portuguese island nation situated in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa, became a central transit point and staging ground during the Biafran War (1967–1970). The islands’ proximity to the seceded province made them an ideal location for humanitarian relief efforts. Through those efforts, the islands also became a communications hub for one of the world’s first coordinated international humanitarian public relations campaigns captured in the press and on film.

In 1967, the Igbo tribe in Biafra, southern Nigeria, declared its independence. The Nigerian government’s response was immediate: It would not accept the separation and instituted an immediate economic blockade. Biafra’s inability to access food and medicine immediately affected the populace. Once news of starving children reached beyond ...

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