Saturday, April 7, 2007


São Tomé , also known as "the Chocolate Island," has always been renowned for it's cocoa's high quality.

São Tomé and Principe is one of the least well-known countries in the world. The islands are placed on the equator, in the Atlantic Ocean, Guinea bay - Central Africa. One of Africa’s smallest countries, São Tomé and Principe consists of two main islands of volcanic origin and a number of smaller islets.

São Tomé is one of the few remaining spots in the world not compromised by mass tourism. It is a tropical paradise, with white palm fringed beaches, crystal clear water, unexplored jungle with endemic species, and a friendly people who rarely see any visitors.

São Toméans are known for ússua and socopé rhythms, while Principe is home to the dêxa beat. Portuguese ballroom dancing may have played an integral part in the development of these rhythms and their associated dances.

From the late 1400s, Portuguese navigators explored the islands, and decided that it would be a good location for bases to trade with the mainland. The Portuguese began settling convicts on Sao Tome and establishing sugar plantations, with the help of slaves from the mainland. The island was also important in the transshipment of slaves.

In the sixteenth century, the islands’ sugar cane trade was economically dominant and led the world. Later on, the plantation cultivation of coffee and cocoa was developed; by the start of the 20th century, the islands, and their impressive large-scale plantations, became the largest cocoa producers in the world. This unique position was based, on the one hand, on the unusual organizational talent of the Portuguese colonialists and traders, and on the other, on the slave-owning economy, which had been standard across the world for centuries.

São Tomé and Principe is trying to shake off its dependence on the cocoa crop. Decreases in production and prices left the island heavily reliant on foreign aid. The government has been encouraging economic diversification, and is set to exploit the billions of barrels of oil which are thought to lie off the country’s coast.

Promoters of tourism say the islands have plenty for visitors to see, but hurdles include ignorance about the country, the difficulties of getting there, and what some say is an exaggerated fear of malaria.

The scenic islands have potential for tourism, and the government is attempting to improve its rudimentary tourist industry infrastructure.

Since the 1800s, the economy of São Tomé and Príncipe has been based on plantation agriculture. At the time of independence in 1975, Portuguese-owned plantations occupied 90% of the cultivated area. After independence, control of these plantations passed to various state-owned agricultural enterprises, which have since been privatized. The dominant crop on São Tomé is still cocoa, representing about 95% of exports. Other export crops include copra, palm kernels, and coffee.

Domestic food-crop production is insufficient to meet local consumption, so the country imports some of its food. In recent years, efforts have been made by the government to expand food production, and several projects have been undertaken, largely financed by foreign donors.

São Tomé and Principe is poised to profit from the commercial exploitation of large offshore reserves of oil, but arguments have arisen over how to spend the expected windfall, leading to increased political tension. In 2001, São Tomé and Nigeria reached an agreement on joint exploration for petroleum in waters claimed by the two countries of the Niger Delta geologic province. In April 2003, after a lengthy series of negotiations, the joint development zone (JDZ) was opened for bids by international oil firms. The JDZ was divided into 9 blocks; the winning bids for block one, Chevron Texaco, Exxon Mobil, and the Norwegian firm Equity Energy, were announced in April 2004, with São Tomé to take in 40% of the $123 million bid, and Nigeria the other 60%. Bids on other blocks were still under consideration in October 2004. São Tomé stands to gain significant revenue both from the bidding process and from follow-on production, should reserves in the area match expectations.


  • São Tomé and Príncipe is the second smallest (in terms of population) African country (larger only than Seychelles).
  • Of São Tomé and Príncipe's total population, about 137,500 live on São Tomé and 6,000 on Príncipe. All are descended from various ethnic groups that have migrated to the islands since 1485.
  • The majority of the population lives on São Tomé.
  • 46 % of the entire population are less than 16 years old.
  • The official language is Portuguese.
  • Life expectancy Male/66 years, Females/68 years
  • Annual average temperature 25 C
  • The country has no international disputes whatsoever.

Source and More Information
Official Website São Tomé and Principe


bathmate said...

good posting.i like it. thank u. :)-

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