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Sao Tome and Principe:
Geography

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Sao Tome and Principe Page


Other pages in this profile of Sao Tome and Principe:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. 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. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.
Location
Definition
Western Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon
Geographic coordinates
Definition
1 00 N, 7 00 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 1,001 sq km
land: 1,001 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
209 km
Maritime claims
Definition
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)
Terrain
Definition
volcanic, mountainous
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m
Natural resources
Definition
fish, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 8.33%
permanent crops: 48.96%
other: 42.71% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
100 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards
Definition
NA
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous


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