Príncipe is the smaller, northern major island of the country of São Tomé and Príncipe lying off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. It has an area of 136 square kilometres and a population of 7,324; the island is a eroded volcano speculated to be over three million years old, surrounded by smaller islands including Ilheu Bom Bom, Ilhéu Caroço, Tinhosa Grande and Tinhosa Pequena. Part of the Cameroon Line archipelago, Príncipe rises in the south to 947 metres at Pico do Príncipe; the island is the main constituent of the Autonomous Region of Príncipe, established in 1995, of the coterminous district of Pagué. The island was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese on 17 January 1471 and was first named after Saint Anthony; the island was renamed Príncipe by King John II of Portugal in honour of his son Afonso, Prince of Portugal. The first settlement, the town Santo António, was founded in 1502. Subsequently, the north and centre of the island were made into plantations by Portuguese colonists using slave labor.
These concentrated on producing sugar and after 1822 on cocoa, becoming the world's greatest cocoa producer. Since independence, these plantations have reverted to forest; the island's fortress named Fortaleza de Santo António da Ponta da Mina on a point inside Baía de Santo António was built in 1695. In 1706, the city and the fortress were destroyed by the French. From 1753 until 1852, Santo António was the colonial capital of Príncipe. Príncipe was the site where Einstein's theory of relativity was experimentally corroborated by Arthur Stanley Eddington and his team during the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919. On April 29, 1995, the Autonomous Region of Príncipe was established, corresponding with the existing Pagué District. Príncipe has one town, Santo António, an airport; some other smaller settlements are Porto Real. Portuguese is the main language of the island. Portuguese creoles are spoken: Principense or Lunguyê and, in some scale, Forro are spoken. In 1771, Príncipe had a population of 5,850: 111 whites, 165 free mulattoes, 6 mulatto slaves, 900 free blacks, 4,668 black slaves.
In 1875, the year when slavery was abolished in the archipelago, Príncipe’s population had dropped to only 1,946, of whom 45 were Europeans, 1,521 were free natives, 380 were freemen. In 2006, the Parque Natural Obô do Príncipe was established, covering the mountainous, densely forested and uninhabited southern part of the island of Príncipe. There are numerous endemic species of fauna on Príncipe, including birds such as the Príncipe kingfisher, Principe seedeater, Principe starling, Príncipe sunbird, black-capped speirops, Dohrn's thrush-babbler, the Príncipe weaver and the Príncipe white-eye, geckos include the Príncipe gecko, frogs include the palm forest tree frog and the Phrynobatrachus dispar. Marine fauna includes a mollusc and the West African mud turtle. UNESCO established the Island of Príncipe Biosphere Reserve in 2012 under the Man and the Biosphere Programme; the reserve encompasses the entire emerged area of the island of Príncipe, its islets Bom Bom, Boné do Jóquei, Mosteiros and Pedra da Galei, the Tinhosas islands.
Damião Vaz d'Almeida, former Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe João Paulo Cassandra, former autonomous president of the island José Cassandra, current president of the island Sara Pinto Coelho, colonial born Portuguese writer Camilo Domingos, singer Manuela Margarido, writer Map of Príncipe Principe portal "Príncipe: a haven on earth" Financial Times Wikimedia Atlas of São Tomé and Príncipe Sao Tome and Principe travel guide from Wikivoyage Príncipe at Curlie
São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, about 140 kilometres apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres off the northwestern coast of Gabon, respectively; the islands were uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Colonised and settled by the Portuguese throughout the 16th century, they collectively served as a vital commercial and trade center for the Atlantic slave trade; the rich volcanic soil and close proximity to the Equator made São Tomé and Príncipe ideal for sugar cultivation, followed by cash crops such as coffee and cocoa. Cycles of social unrest and economic instability throughout the 19th and 20th centuries culminated in peaceful independence in 1975. São Tomé and Príncipe has since remained one of Africa's most democratic countries. With a population of 199,910, São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African sovereign state after Seychelles, as well as the smallest Portuguese-speaking country.
Its people are predominantly with most practising Roman Catholicism. The legacy of Portuguese rule is visible in the country's culture and music, which fuse European and African influences. São Tomé and Príncipe is a founding member state of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries; the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived sometime around 1470. The islands were discovered by João de Pêro Escobar. Portuguese navigators explored the islands and decided that they would be good locations for bases to trade with the mainland; the dates of discovery are sometimes given as 21 December 1471, for São Tomé. Príncipe was named Santo Antão, changing its name in 1502 to Ilha do Príncipe, in reference to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid; the first successful settlement of São Tomé was established in 1493 by Álvaro Caminha, who received the land as a grant from the crown. Príncipe was settled in 1500 under a similar arrangement.
Attracting settlers proved difficult and most of the earliest inhabitants were "undesirables" sent from Portugal Jews. In time these settlers found the volcanic soil of the region suitable for agriculture the growing of sugar. By 1515, São Tomé and Príncipe had become slave depots for the coastal slave trade centered at Elmina; the cultivation of sugar was a labour-intensive process and the Portuguese began to enslave large numbers of Africans from the mainland. By the mid-16th century the Portuguese settlers had turned the islands into Africa's foremost exporter of sugar. São Tomé and Príncipe were taken over and administered by the Portuguese crown in 1522 and 1573, respectively. However, competition from sugar-producing colonies in the Western Hemisphere began to hurt the islands; the large enslaved population proved difficult to control, with Portugal unable to invest many resources in the effort. Sugar cultivation thus declined over the next 100 years, by the mid-17th century, the economy of São Tomé had changed.
It was now a transit point for ships engaged in the slave trade between the West and continental Africa. In the early 19th century, two new cash crops and cocoa, were introduced; the rich volcanic soils proved well suited to the new cash crop industry, soon extensive plantations, owned by Portuguese companies or absentee landlords, occupied all of the good farmland. By 1908, São Tomé had become the world's largest producer of cocoa, which remains the country's most important crop; the roças system, which gave the plantation managers a high degree of authority, led to abuses against the African farm workers. Although Portugal abolished slavery in 1876, the practice of forced paid labour continued. Scientific American magazine documented in words and pictures the continued use of slaves in São Tomé in its 13 March 1897 issue. In the early 20th century, an internationally publicized controversy arose over charges that Angolan contract workers were being subjected to forced labour and unsatisfactory working conditions.
Sporadic labor unrest and dissatisfaction continued well into the 20th century, culminating in an outbreak of riots in 1953 in which several hundred African laborers were killed in a clash with their Portuguese rulers. This "Batepá Massacre" remains a major event in the colonial history of the islands, its anniversary is observed by the government. By the late 1950s, when other emerging nations across the African Continent demanded their independence, a small group of São Toméans had formed the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe, which established its base in nearby Gabon. Picking up momentum in the 1960s, events moved after the overthrow of the Caetano dictatorship in Portugal in April 1974; the new Portuguese regime was committed to the dissolution of its overseas colonies. In November 1974, their representatives met with the MLSTP in Algiers and worked out an agreement for the transfer of sovereignty. After a period of transitional government, São Tomé and Príncipe achieved independence on 12 July 1975, choosing as the first president the MLSTP Secretary General
Ilhéu Bom Bom
Ilhéu Bom Bom is an island in the Gulf of Guinea. The islet is located near the north coast of the island of Príncipe, one of the main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe and is completely forested, its population is 15. There is a tourist resort near the island. There is a lighthouse on the island built in 1997, its focal height is 64 meters and its range is 12 nmi. Since 2012, it forms a part of the UNESCO's Island of Príncipe Biosphere Reserve. Media related to Ilhéu Bombom at Wikimedia Commons
Districts of São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe is divided into seven administrative districts since 1980. Six are located on the main island of São Tomé. Since 1995, the Pagué District has been replaced by the Autonomous Region of Príncipe. List of cities and towns in São Tomé and Príncipe
Santo António known as Santo António do Príncipe, is the main settlement of the island of Príncipe in São Tomé and Príncipe. It lies on the north east coast, it is the capital of the Autonomous Region of Príncipe. Its population is about 35 % of the island's population; the town is known for its colonial architecture and for its churches: Church of Our Lady of the Conception and Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. The town is known for the Auto das Floripes play, performed by the citizens; the town Santo António was founded in 1502, was a centre of sugarcane cultivation. In 1695, the Fort of Ponta da Mina was built at the entrance of the bay of Santo António. Town and fortress were destroyed by French privateers in 1706. From 1753 until 1852, it was the colonial capital of Príncipe. Santo António has a tropical savanna climate, with little temperature variation year round; the average temperature is 24.8 degrees Celsius. The average annual precipitation is 1872 mm, with the least precipitation in July and the most in October.
Príncipe Airport lies 3 km north of the town. It offers flights to São Tomé International Airport six times weekly on Africa's Connection STP; the town has the only sports facility on Estádio Regional 13 de Junho. The facility is home to the football clubs Sporting Clube do GD Os Operários. Santo António is twinned with: Aveiro, Portugal Faro, Portugal