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São Tomé and Príncipe

A map of São Tomé and PríncipeA map of São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe is made up of two islands in the Gulf of Guinea. São Tomé and Príncipe lie about 140 kilometres (87 miles) apart and about 225 kilometres (140 miles) off the African coast. Until the Portuguese arrived in the 1470s, the islands were uninhabited. The Portuguese saw them as a good location to build trading bases. The islands are part of an ancient volcanic mountain range, but their volcanoes are now extinct. The larger island, São Tomé, lies just north of the Equator. Dramatic peaks in the centre of the island soar as high as 2024 metres (6640 feet); they are surrounded by lush rainforests and farmland. Príncipe is flatter and covered by forest. Both islands have a tropical climate; they have hot, humid weather all year round, and a rainy season between October and May. 

A São Toméan fisherman with a wild birdA São Toméan fisherman with a wild bird


People from both islands are called São Toméans. They are the descendants of Portuguese and African settlers and slaves who came to the islands in the 16th century. They speak Portuguese as well as Forro, a creole language which is a mixture of Portuguese and African languages. Nearly everyone lives on São Tomé; the smaller island, Príncipe, is home to just 5000 people.

Beach on São ToméBeach on São Tomé

São Tomé and Príncipe is the smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world.

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