Portal:São Tomé and Príncipe

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Introduction

Flag of Sao Tome and Principe.svg

São Tomé and Príncipe (/ˌs təˈm ... ˈprɪnsɪpə, -p/; Portuguese: [sɐ̃w̃ tuˈmɛ i ˈpɾĩsɨpɨ]), officially the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 kilometres (87 miles) apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres (155 and 140 miles) off the northwestern coast of Gabon, respectively.

The islands were uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Gradually colonised and settled by the Portuguese throughout the 16th century, they collectively served as a vital commercial and trade center for the Atlantic slave trade. The rich volcanic soil and close proximity to the Equator made São Tomé and Príncipe ideal for sugar cultivation, followed later by cash crops such as coffee and cocoa; the lucrative plantation economy was heavily dependent upon imported African slaves. Cycles of social unrest and economic instability throughout the 19th and 20th centuries culminated in peaceful independence in 1975. São Tomé and Príncipe has since remained one of Africa's most stable and democratic countries.

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São Tomé
The island of São Tomé off the west coast of Africa.

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Pico Cão Grande São Tomé Island

Pico de São Tomé is the highest mountain in São Tomé and Príncipe at 2,024 metres. It lies just west of the centre of São Tomé Island in the Obo National Park. The second highest point, Pico Ana Chaves, lies to its south east. The mountain is forested and accessible only on foot.

The entire island of São Tomé is a massive shield volcano which rises from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, over 3,000 m (10,000 ft) below sea level. It formed along the Cameroon line, a linear rift zone extending from Cameroon southwest into the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the lava erupted on São Tomé over the last million years has been basalt. The youngest dated rock on the island is about 100,000 years old, but numerous more recent cinder cones are found on the southeast side of the island.

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President Fradique de Menezes

Fradique Melo de Menezes (born March 21, 1942) has been the President of São Tomé and Príncipe since 2001. São Toméan people just call him Fradique.

Fradique de Menezes was born on the then Portuguese colony of São Tomé in 1942, the son of a Portuguese man and a local woman. He attended high school in Portugal, and then studied Education and Psychology at the Free University of Brussels (now split into the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). Menezes is a successful businessman. He was foreign minister of São Tome and Príncipe from 1986 until 1987. He was elected President in July 2001 with about 55.2% of the vote, defeating Manuel Pinto da Costa, who received about 40%.[1] Menezes took office on September 3, 2001.[2] His eligibility as a candidate was questioned, since he also held Portuguese citizenship, but he renounced this and his candidacy was approved.[3] On July 16, 2003, while he was away in Nigeria, there was a military coup d'etat led by Fernando Pereira, but Menezes would be later restored back to power on July 23, 2003, following an agreement.[4]

Menezes was re-elected on July 30, 2006, winning 60.58% of the vote and defeating Patrice Trovoada, son of former president Miguel Trovoada.[1][5]

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  1. ^ a b Elections in São Tomé and Príncipe, African Elections Database.
  2. ^ "New president sworn-in", IRIN, September 4, 2001.
  3. ^ "Fradique de Menezes new president on Sao Tomé", afrol News, August 6, 2001.
  4. ^ "Coup leaders hand power back to civilian president", IRIN, July 23, 2003.
  5. ^ "Incumbent wins vote", IRIN, August 2, 2006.