Capital : Sao Tom¾
Size: 370 sq m Popn: 124 000
These islands off the west African coast were first inhabited by the Portuguese in 1471. They brought convicts and Jewish exiles to work in sugar plantations and slavery later became the main industry with forced labour used on the coffee and cocoa plantations in the C19th. The Portuguese colony was given internal self-government in 1973 and after the military coup in Portugal in 1974, the new government gave formal recognition to the liberation movement. The MLSTP under Dr Manuel Pinto da Costa as the single representative of the islands, gained full independence in July 1975 with da Costa as the first president. There were several coup attempts during the early years and opposition groups still exist outside the country, mostly operating from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
As the economy failed, da Costa altered the country's international links which had mostly been with the Eastern bloc. He proclaimed Sao Tom¾ and Princip¾ as a non-aligned state in 1984 and many Soviet, Cuban and Angolan advisors left the country. Ties with Lisbon were retained, and new links with African countries including Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea were formed. In 1987 the president was made subject to a popular vote and he foiled a coup attempt in 1988. In 1992 a new multi-party constitution was approved and his party lost its majority. Miguel Trovoada was elected as the new president.
Languages spoken are Portuguese and Portuguese Creole.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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