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São Tomé

Related subjects: Africa; Cities

Background Information

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São Tomé
São Tomé palace


Coat of arms
São Tomé is located in São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé
Location of São Tomé in São Tomé and Príncipe
Coordinates: 0°20′10″N 6°40′53″E
Country Flag of Sao Tome and Principe.svg São Tomé and Príncipe
Province São Tomé Island
District Água Grande
Time zone UTC ( UTC+0)
Area code(s) +239-11x-xxxx through 14x-xxxx

São Tomé ( population 56,166 in 2005) is the capital city of São Tomé and Príncipe and is by far that nation's largest town. Its name is Portuguese for " Saint Thomas".


São Tomé was founded by Portugal in 1485. The Portuguese came to São Tomé in search of land to grow sugar. The island was uninhabited before the arrival of the Portuguese sometime around 1470. São Tomé was right on the equator and wet enough to grow sugar in wild abundance. Its proximity to the African Kingdom of Kongo provided an eventual source of slave laborers to work the sugar plantations. São Tomé is centred on a sixteenth century cathedral. Another early building is Fort São Sebastião, built in 1575 and now the São Tomé National Museum. In 1599, the city as well as the islands were taken by the Dutch for two days and again in 1641 for a year. It was the then colony's capital until 1753 and has been the national capital continuously since 1852.

Geography and location

The cathedral - Sé - of Sao Tomé

São Tomé is located at 0°20′10″N 6°40′53″E Coordinates: 0°20′10″N 6°40′53″E.

Important as a port, São Tomé is located on Ana Chaves Bay in the northeast of São Tomé Island, and Ilhéu das Cabras lies nearby offshore. São Tomé is located northeast of Trindade, southeast of Guadalupe and northwest of Santana. It is linked to these towns by various roadways, but especially by the highway encircling the entire island of São Tomé.

Features of the town include the Presidential Palace, the Fisherman's Church, and a cinema. The city is also home to schools, middle schools, high schools, two markets, a radio station, a television station RFI, a hospital, São Tomé International Airport, and many squares ( praças). São Tomé also serves as the centre of the island's road and bus networks. The town is well known for the Tchiloli play.

Population history

São Tomé market
Year Population Change Density
1990 (June 23, Census) 42,331 - -
2000 ( June 16, Census) 49,997 - -
2003 (Computing) 53,300 - -
2005 (January 1, Computing) 56,166 - -


São Tomé is served by São Tomé International Airport ( IATA: TMS ICAO: FPST) with regular flights to Europe and other African Countries.


Climate data for São Tomé
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Source: BBC Weather
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