Fertile African lands colonisers stole from indigenous communities

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson December 07, 2018

Photo: Buala

Sao Tome and Principe

The island of present-day Sao Tome and Principe, located in Central Africa, was uninhabited and undiscovered until 1470 by Portugues navigators João de Santarém and Pedro Escobar. They realized that the lands were fertile and had great weather for plantation. It was also strategically located for trade, including the slave trade.

The Portuguese fought off the Danes, Dutch, French and English to settle on the islands.  By the 15th century, the Portuguese had populated the islands with enslaved Africans from Angola, Cape Verde, Gabon, and parts of Central Africa as well as criminals from western countries who worked on well-established sugar, cocoa and coffee plantations.

By 1560, Sao Tome and Principe had become the world’s leader of sugar cane and sugar production and later become the world’s leader of Cocoa production in the 1900s, popularly called the chocolate island. Due to its fertile lands and prosperity it brought, the Portuguese fought so hard to colonize the islands until giving up in July 1975.


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