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Independence Day of Sao Tome and Principe

When is the Independence Day of Sao Tome and Principe celebrated?

Sao Tome and Principe celebrates its Independence Day on July 12 to commemorate its freedom from Portuguese occupation in 1975. Why is the Independence Day significant in Sao Tome and Principe?

The Portuguese discovered Sao Tome and Principe in 1500s, and began using slaves first for growing sugar, and later for cacao and coffee. In the 19th century Sao Tome and Principe became the largest exporter of cacao, which is still the predominant crop of the country.

Although, slave trade was abolished in 1876, the Portuguese continued to follow abusive and unsatisfactory work policies during the 20th century. The disenchantment and unrest of workers eventually culminated into the Batepa Massacre in 1953, in which many African laborers lost their life as they clashed with the Portuguese authorities.

In late 1950s, the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP) was born, and it gradually grew in the 1960s. The movement gained impetus with the change of political landscape in 1974, when the dictatorship of Salazar and Caetano in Portugal was overthrown. The new government came with an agenda of dissolving its overseas territories, and an agreement of transferring power was reached with MLSTP in November 1974. Finally, Sao Tome and Principe became a sovereign nation on July 12, 1974, and Manuel Pinto da Costa became the first president remained in power until 1990.

What does the national flag represent?

The flag of Sao Tome and Principe was adopted on November 5, 1975. It consists of three horizontal bands with top and bottom being green in color, and the middle row being yellow with two black stars centered on it. There is a red triangle to the hoist side of the flag.

While the green color of the top and bottom stripes signify the lush green flora, red of the triangle on the hoist stands for the struggle of independence, the yellow represents the cacao - the primary crop of the country which was introduced by the Portuguese during the 15th century, and the two black stars represent the two main islands of the country.

Who wrote the national anthem of Sao Tome and Principe?

The national anthem of Sao Tome and Principe, Independencia total, was adopted at the time of its independence in 1975. It was written by Alda Neves da Graca do Espirito Santo, and its music was set by Manuel dos Santos Barreto de Sousa e Almeida.