This is the National Day of São Tomé and Príncipe and commemorates the country’s independence from Portugal on this day in 1975. The first people to inhabit these two islands in the Gulf of Guinea were the Portuguese. The first landed on São Tomé, the larger of the two islands on December 21st (Saint Thomas’ Day, hence the name) 1471.
They found the islands’ rich volcanic soil a good basis to support sugar plantations. The plantations were manned by African slaves and ‘undesirables’ from Portugal. In 1974, the so-called Carnation Revolution in Portugal brought an end to the dictatorial regime and also a new approach to its overseas territories.
São Tomé and Príncipe gained its independence from Portugal on July 21st 1975, making it the second-smallest country in Africa. The smallest is another island nation on the other side of the continent – Seychelles.