São Tomé and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe are islands in the Gulf of Guinea, near Central Africa, straddling the Equator and west of Gabon. The nation is more than five times the size of Washington, DC with a population of 183,176. The official language is Portuguese and the islands’ natural resources are fish and hydropower. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003.

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