Off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea, is the island nation of Sao Tomé and Principe, formally the Democratic Republic of Sao Tomé and Principe. It is made up of two archipelagos that are centered on the two main islands of Sao Tomé and Principe, which are situated 250 and 225 kilometres off the coast of Gabon and are separated by around 150 kilometres. The country has population of about 227,171 inhabitants. After Seychelles, Sao Tomé and Principe is the smallest and least populous sovereign state in Africa.
Before being discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, the islands were uninhabited. They jointly functioned as an important economic and trading hub for the Atlantic slave trade as they were gradually colonized and populated throughout the 16th century. Sao Tomé and Principe’s rich volcanic soil and close proximity to the equator made it perfect for the growth of sugar, which was later followed by cash crops like coffee and cocoa. The prosperous plantation economy was highly dependent on African slave labour. 1975 saw the peaceful declaration of independence following cycles of social unrest and economic unpredictability during the 19th and 20th centuries. Since then, Sao Tomé and Principe has remained one of the most democratic and stable nations in Africa.
The majority of the population of Sao Tomé and Principe is Roman Catholic and primarily of African and Mestiço heritage. Portuguese influence can also be seen in the nation’s culture, traditions, and music, which blend European and African characteristics. The Community of Portuguese Language Countries was founded with Sao Tomé and Principe as a founding member.
TRENDING FASHION IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
ACCESSORIES IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
TRIBES IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE AND THEIR FASHION
The majority of the people in Sao Tome and Principe are Forros, emancipated slaves from slavery who are descended from immigrants from Europe and enslaved Africans.
Portuguese colonists and African slaves from contemporary Benin, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola brought to the Portuguese Sao Tomé and Principe islands during the early years of settlement are the ancestors of Mestiços of Sao Tomé and Principe. These people also are known as filhos da terra or “children of the land”.
TOURIST AND HISTORICAL PLACES IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
Sao Tome – the sole true city on these islands, is a chocolate box of lovely Romanesque cathedrals and elaborate colonial structures, palm-lined boulevards, and attractive plazas.
Santo António – The majority of the island’s inhabitants reside in the tiny town of Principe, the capital of the smaller of these two archipelago’s islands. It has a certain genuine beauty. It’s a sleepy area with weathered colonial buildings and mud-spattered pueblo-style dwellings.
Rolas Island – The speck on the map known as Rolas Island is renowned for its beautiful white sand beaches and paradisiacal façade. It is located just a short boat trip from the southern tip of the island and floats in the Atlantic like Sao Tome’s teardrop.
Porto Alegre – This town is a ramshackle collection of earthen cottages, stilted longhouses, and weathered fishing canoes instead of infinite barrios and large urban districts.
Obo National Park – The Obo National Park never fails to leave visitors speechless.
The immense wildness, which spans a wide region of more than 230 square kilometers on the southern side of Sao Tome, has both pristine Atlantic rainforests in the mountains and salt-washed mangroves on the shore.
Monte Café – The old colonial industries and coffee-growing haciendas of Monte Cafe are located deep within the volcanic mountain ranges that climb to the heavens in the center of Sao Tome island.
Jale Beach – There may not be a better destination than the stretch of golden sand that is Jale Beach for tourists who travel to Sao Tome to witness the unusual phenomena of turtles clambering over the beaches and laying their eggs.
Trindade – One of the few locations in Sao Tome that isn’t right on the edge of the ocean is Trindade. Instead, this small settlement is perched on the rising ridges of the inland highlands, well above the city.
Boca de inferno – Visitors swarm to this location, which is only a short drive from the nation’s capital, to watch the salty whitecaps slam on the shore and the currents pull water into a cave beneath the surface until they erupt like a marine geyser.
Santana – It is well known for the highly regarded Club Santana Resort, which provides bungalows and charming cabanas within a short distance from the Santana Beach’s golden sands.
MUSIC IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
Ussua and socopé rhythms are popular in Sao Tomé, whereas the dêxa beat originates in Principe. These rhythms and the dances that go with them may have been greatly influenced by Portuguese ballroom.
A dramatic story is told during the musical dance performance known as Tchiloli. Similar to this, the danço-Congo incorporates dance, theater, and music. Cesária Évora was referred to as the Queen of Morna, a type of island music.
Some musicians in Sao Tome and Principe include:
Some art work in Sao Tome and Principe include:
MEALS IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
Djogo – nice, cozy and great tasting meal in Sao Tome and Principe.
Banana pap – a pap prepared with banana extract or sliced ripe banana.
Barriga de peixe – a traditional Santomean dish of grilled fish served with rice, breadfruit or manoic.
Boiled pork – sliced pork meat well-cooked and spiced.
Gravana rum – dark and sweet drink, best served over ice and savoured like a scotch.
Cachupa – a meal made from corn, beans, cassava and meat.
Barriga de peixe
Omelette – a dish made frombeaten eggs, fried with butter or oil in frying pan.
Calulu – a traditional dish prepared with smoked fish, prawns, tomato, okro and well-spiced.
Palm wine – alcoholic beverage made from the sap of various species of palm tree.
Coconut water – a drink from coconut.
Broa – a special traditional bread.
Shrimp – weel-prepared shrimps, usually taken with chips.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND HABITAT PROTECTION IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
The islands’ native vegetation was made up of forests, which varied according to exposure and elevation. Wet lowland forests could be found on the islands’ south and southwest coasts, where they faced the prevailing winds, and drier lowland forests could be found on the islands’ north and east coasts, which were in the rain shadow. On Sao Tomé, lowland woods are found between sea level and 800 meters above sea level, montane forests are found between 800 and 1400 meters above sea level, and cloud forests are found above 1400 meters.
143 different bird species may be found on the islands, including 72 resident breeding species. The ecoregion is home to 28 bird species, all of which live in forests. Principe is home to seven unique species. The rarest bird in the archipelago is likely the Principe-endemic subspecies of the olive ibis. There are two endemic genera and sixteen endemic species in So Tomé.
Three endemic animal species live in the ecoregion. The ecoregion contains protected areas covering more than 33% of it. The Obo Natural Park, which covers the Tinhosas islands and a portion of the Sao Tomé and Principe islands, and the Annobón Natural Reserve on Annobón are protected places in the ecoregion.
EFFECT OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
The geography of Sao Tomé and Principe largely determines its climate, which is influenced by seasonal variations in low equatorial pressures, southerly monsoon winds, the warm Guinea Current, and relief. At sea level, there is a tropical climate, which is hot and humid with average annual temperatures of about 26 °C and minimal daily fluctuation. Rarely does the temperature reach above 32 °C. The average annual temperature at the interior’s higher elevations is 20 °C, and evenings are typically cold. 800 millimeters fall annually in the northern plains, compared to 7,000 millimeters in the highland cloud forests. From October until May is the rainy season.
Sao Tome and Principe is seen as having a limited ability to absorb and adapt to environmental disturbances, making it particularly sensitive to climate change. The use of conventional methods, which are frequently unable to deal with the recurrence of storms and floods and extensive coastline erosion, seems to have a greater impact on fisheries. Since artisanal fisheries are believed to employ 20% of the workforce and constitute one of the primary job options in rural areas, the fishing industry is seen as being quite important in Sao Tome and Principe. As a result of drought, soil erosion that results in desertification, and landfalls brought on by floods, the agricultural and forestry industries are also susceptible to more extreme environmental circumstances.
GENDER EQUALITY IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
Women’s rights have made some progress on a global scale. To attain gender equality in Sao Tome and Principe, however, more effort needs to be done. Those women who were married or in a union before the age of 18 made up 28% of those aged 20 to 24. As of 2017, there were 86 births among 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19 compared to 92 in 2014. Only 23.6% of the seats in parliament were occupied by women as of February 2021.
Some prominent women in Sao Tome and Principe include:
Maria do Carmo Silveira – former Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe.
Maria das Neves – former Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe.
Natalia Neto – a politician in Sao Tome and Principe who served as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Maria Tome – Managing Director, Efficient Energy.
Maria do Carmo
Silveira Maria das Neves
Edite Tenjua – a lawyer, businesswoman and Minister of Justice in Sao Tome and Principe.
Elsa Teixeira Pinto – Sao Tome and Principe politician and former Defence and Justice Minister.
Alda Neves Santo – a well-known poet in Sao Tome and Principe.