Flag of São Tomé e Príncipe

São Tomé e Príncipe

The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe is an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Africa. It consists of two islands (Sao Tome and Principe), located about 140 kilometres apart, and about 250 and 225 kilometres respectively off of the northwestern coast of Gabon. The nation also consists of the islets of Cabras, Gago Coutinho, Pedras Tinhosas and Rolas.

Sao Tome and Principe is the second smallest (in terms of population) African country (larger only than Seychelles). It is the smallest country in the world that is not a former UK dependency, a former US trusteeship or a European microstate. It is also the smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world.

The islands lie on an alignment of once-active volcanoes, with rugged landscapes, dense forests and virgin, palm-fringed beaches. These islands provide unspoiled beauty and isolation from the world now rarely found anywhere else. The history of the islands is dominated by the slave trade and slave-worked plantations.

Sao Tome, the larger southern island, is situated almost exactly on the equator, and named after Saint Thomas by Portuguese explorers who discovered the island on his feast day. The town of Sao Tome is picturesque, with colonial Portuguese architecture, attractive parks and a number of good restaurants in the capital. Reservations are nearly always required; not for lack of space but to allow the proprietor to obtain sufficient food in advance. Most dishes are highly spiced, and grilled fish and chicken are popular.

Map of Sao Tome e Principe