Fast Facts

Population:
153,000
Capital:
São Tomé; 54,000
Area:
1,001 square kilometers (386 square miles)
Language:
Portuguese
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant, Seventh-Day Adventist
Currency:
Dobra
Life Expectancy:
65
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,200
Literacy Percent:
79
Flag: Sao Tome
Map: Sao Tome and Principe

In the 15th century, Portuguese navigators discovered these two volcanic islands off the coast of West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. São Tomé is the larger island with about 90 percent of the population. Africa's smallest nation gained independence in 1975. In 1991 the formerly Marxist government made a complete transition to democracy. The new leaders have moved to liberalize the economy and reduce dependence on plantation crops. New offshore oil discoveries could translate into substantial oil revenue in the near future.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
  • Agriculture: Cacao, coconuts, palm kernels, copra; poultry; fish
  • Exports: Cacao, copra, coffee, palm oil

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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