São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe, a republic in central Africa, is located on two islands—São Tomé and Príncipe—some 87 miles (140 kilometers) apart, off the coast of Gabon and just north of the equator. They were ruled by the Portuguese until independence in 1975 and have long been desperately poor, although the nation generally fares better than many of its neighbors.


The Portuguese discovered São Tomé in 1471 and Príncipe the following year, with the first permanent settlement on São Tomé taking place in 1493. The island’s economy revolved heavily around slaves from the African mainland. Some were brought to São Tomé to work on the sugar plantations established on the island, with many others held there until they could be shipped to the Americas. From ...

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