Ilhéu das Rolas

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Ilhéu das Rolas
Sao Tome and Principe Map.gif
Map of São Tomé and Príncipe
Location São Tomé and Príncipe
Coordinates 0°00′14″S 6°31′21″E / 0.003777°S 6.522388°E / -0.003777; 6.522388Coordinates: 0°00′14″S 6°31′21″E / 0.003777°S 6.522388°E / -0.003777; 6.522388
Population 200

Ilhéu das Rolas is an islet in São Tomé and Príncipe, in Africa. The island lies on the equator, off the southern tip of São Tomé Island. It is in the Caué District of São Tomé Province. The island is home to a small resort, the Pestana Equador.

The main and dominant economic activity is tourism, related mainly to the resort. A permanent population of approximately 200 people works in the island's tourism sector.

The island can only be accessed by boat departing from São Tomé Island.

Confirmation of equatorial position[edit]

Gago Coutinho (1869–1959), officer of the Portuguese Navy, navigator and historian, headed a geodesic mission to São Tomé between 1915 and 1918, when marks were placed as a basis for a geodetic network in the archipelago. After that, observations for triangulation, precise base measurement and astronomical observations were made.

In the process, Gago Coutinho proved that Ilhéu das Rolas is crossed by the equatorial line. The resulting map was published in 1919, together with the Report of the Geodetic Mission on São Tomé Island 1915–1918, that was officially considered the first complete work of practical geodesy in the Portuguese colonies.