the quintessence of exoticism and authenticity
Sao Tome provides scenery that will make you explore interesting and distinct environments. Wherever you are in the country, you will always have the pleasure of contemplation.
You will discover a rich and varied culture, diversified landscapes, an exuberant nature, picturesque villages, architecture inspired by the colonial era and extraordinarily friendly people.
A stay in Sao Tome allows you not only to discover a magnificent coast, but also an interior wilderness.
The island of Sao Tome lies on the Equator Line and it is about 300 km from the African continent.
It has an area of 856 km ² for 193 000 inhabitants (2016). The island of Sao Tome is the largest island of the archipelago and it has six districts, such as Água Grande, Lobata, Lembá, Caué, Cantagalo and Mé-Zochi.
The capital of the island of Sao Tome shares the same name, Sao Tome. Also, Sao Tome and Principe International Airport is located in the capital (Água Grande district). Nonetheless, there are other important agglomerations in Sao Tome island such as Neves and Guadalupe in the North, Trindade and Santana in Central-East, the city of Ribeira Afonso in the East-Coast and Santa Catarina on the West-Coast. Most of the hospitals, schools, tourist establishments and restaurants are located in the capital.
Initially deserted, São Tome was the first island of the archipelago to be discovered. It was named Sao Tome because of the day of its discovery by the Portuguese navigators João de Santarém and Perô Escobar on December 21st 1470, Saint Tome day. Thus, the history of Sao Tome is marked by a mix of culture and population as well as an economic system based on massive employment of slave labor force from the African continent to sugar cane, coffee and cocoa plantation in the country.
Due to its colonial past, the archipelago is currently one of the members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) on equal terms with Portugal, Brazil, Cape-Vert, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and East Timor. It is also part of the Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP).
The colonization context of the archipelago led to different stages of settlement through the introduction of distinct people, such as African (majority) and European ethnicities. Therefore, we can distinguish in Sao Tome island, different social groups, such as:
- Forros or the children of the land: born from the union of the first Portuguese colonists with the slaves;
- Angolares : descendants from fugitive slaves that currently form a community of fishermen. They distinguish from others , especially because of their own creole language, Angolar;
- Tongas : descendants from former fixed-term employees coming from Cape Vert, Angola, and Mozambique to serve as labor force in farmsteads, in the nineteenth-century. They were called the servants.
Although its presence is very small, there is still a European presence composed mainly of Portuguese people. They are mainly descendants from settlers and newcomers.
Unfortunately, the strong unemployment growth in the country has generated a rural exodus phenomenon, causing a great concentration of population in the Capital. A third of the total population in the archipelago lives on the island of Sao Tome, which represents a little more than 70 000 habitants (2014). Therefore, 66.2% of the population lives in the urban areas of the archipelago.