Sao Tome and Principe, once a leading Cocoa Producer, consists of two Islands of Volcanic Origin and a number of smaller Islets lying off the coast of Africa.
From the late 1400s, Portugal began settling Convicts on Sao Tome and establishing Sugar Plantations with the help of Slaves from the Mainland. The Island was also important in the Transshipment of Slaves. The Colony's aspirations for Independence were recognised after the 1974 Coup, in Portugal. At first the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe was the Country's sole Political party. However, the 1990 constitution created a multi-party Democracy. The island of Principe assumed Autonomy in 1995. The Country hopes to reduce its dependence on Donors and Cocoa Exports by, Exploiting offshore Oil. The Island has a Population of 172,000 people in an Area of 1 001 sq Km. The majority Language spoken is Portuguese with the main Religion being Christianity. Life expectancy is rather depressing; with Men normally only reaching 64, whilst Women only 66 of years of age.