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Sao Tome and Principe, History

Fradique, Manuel Pinto, Portuguese navigators, Cacao, Menezes

The islands were probably uninhabited when first visited by Portuguese navigators in the early 1470s. From 1485 the Portuguese settled convicts and exiled Jews on the islands and developed a thriving slave trade and sugar-growing economy. Cacao was introduced in 1822, and by 1900 Sao Tome and Principe was a leading world producer. In 1951, Sao Tome and Principe became an overseas province of Portugal. On July 12, 1975, the country attained independence under MLSTP rule.

The nationís first president, Manuel Pinto da Costa, served until 1991, when Miguel Trovoada was elected. On August 15, 1995, Trovoada was deposed in a bloodless coup led by army officers. He was reinstated, however, on August 22, after agreeing to pardon the soldiers who participated in the coup. International threats to cut off aid to the country hastened the restoration of the government. In 1996 Trovoada was reelected to another five-year term. He stepped down in 2001 and Fradique de Menezes, a businessman and former foreign minister, was elected to succeed him.

Article key phrases:

Fradique, Manuel Pinto, Portuguese navigators, Cacao, Menezes, army officers, convicts, Principe, Costa, foreign minister, independence, islands, businessman, restoration, Sao Tome, president, aid, government, country, soldiers


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