By the mid seventeenth century the islands were mainly used for the trading of
slaves and on 12th July 1975 they finally gained their independence from
Portugal however little changed until the country's first ever free elections
were held in 1991.
As with so many other emerging African nations, democracy was
a difficult concept to bed in and there were three coup attempts in 1995, 2003
and 2009 respectively.
With its population of just 163,000, further tensions are
expected following the recent oil discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea and how best
to exploit the opportunities those discoveries provide with many concerned that
what should be an island paradise will become a breeding ground for exploitative
oil companies who will wreak environment disaster as they have done in the Niger
Until that oil revenue starts flowing Sao Tome and Principe
relies for cocoa for 95% of its exports and uses that income to buy in food
given that it cannot grow enough of its own food to support its population.
In recent years its cocoa output has dropped due to droughts