The Batepá massacre occurred on 3 February 1953 in São Tomé when Portuguese landowners unleashed a wave of violence against the native creoles. The background of the bloody events was the shortage of labour on the plantations and fears of the islanders to become forced to work on the estates. The Creoles had always refused manual field work on the estates, since they considered it slave labour. Several hundred African labourers were killed in the ensuing violence. The event is seen as the beginning of nationalist sentiment in São Tomé and Príncipe. The government officially observes its anniversary as a national holiday. The Portuguese farmers then imported paid labour from Portugal's other territories of Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde to work in São Tomé, because the Creole segment of the population refused to work on the islands' plantations.