Friday, December 09, 2016

São Tomé and Príncipe


Trade was a big driver of early colonisation. Establishing permanent settlements rather than carrying supplies with you was clearly preferable, but it was necessary to find people who actually wanted to go. São Tomé and Príncipe is an island nation off the coast of Gabon. The Portuguese established it as a trading post, using the rich volcanic soil to produce sugar. Gradually, its primary focus became a transit point for the transatlantic slave trade. The Portuguese settlers were often undesirables sent away from Portugal. Slaves were brought across from Benin, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, and Angola. After the abolition of slavery, freed men also were brought to the islands. This mixed group of people are joined by the common language of Portuguese and are predominantly Catholic. It is the second smallest African country after the Seychelles, with a population of about 190,000 people.


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