Sao Tome and Principe
República Democrática de São Tomé e Príncipe
short form: S. Tomé e Príncipe
int’l long form: Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
abbreviations: R.D.S.T.P., STP
ISO Country Code: st
Local Time = UTC
Country Calling Code: +239
Capital City: São Tomé
Other Cities: Trinidade, Santana, Angolares, Neves, Santo Antonio (capital of Principe).
Independence: 12 July 1975 (from Portugal).
Location: Western Central Africa; islands straddling the equator in the Gulf of Guinea west of Gabon.
Area: 1 000 sq. km. (386 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Two small, volcanic islands.
Climate: Tropical, with wet and dry seasons, influenced by the mountainous topography.
Nationality: Sao Tomean(s).
Population: 160 000
Ethnic groups: Mixed African, Portuguese-African.
Religions: Christian 80%.
Languages: Portuguese (official).
Natural resources: Fish, hydropower, petroleum (not yet exploited).
Agriculture products: Cocoa, coconuts, copra, palm kernels, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, beans, poultry.
Industries: light construction, shirts, soap, beer, fisheries, shrimp processing, palm oil.
Exports partners: Netherlands 37.3%, China12.8%, Belgium 7.6%, Germany 6.6%, Poland5.3%, France 5%, Brazil 4.1% (2004)
Imports partners: Portugal 52.3%, Germany9.5%, USA 6%, Netherlands 4.8%, South Africa4.3%, Belgium 4.1% (2004)
Currency: Dobra (STD)
Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands’ sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century – all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. Although independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. Though the first free elections were held in 1991, the political environment has been one of continued instability with frequent changes in leadership and coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea is likely to have a significant impact on the country’s economy.
related countries: Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Portugal