Portugal discovered and colonized the uninhabited islands in the late 15th century, setting up a sugar-based economy that gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with African 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 five failed, non-violent coup attempts in 1995, 1998, 2003, 2009, and 2022. In 2012, three opposition parties combined in a no confidence vote to bring down the majority government of former Prime Minister Patrice TROVOADA, but in 2014, legislative elections returned him to the office. President Evaristo CARVALHO, of the same political party as Prime Minister TROVOADA, was elected in September 2016, marking a rare instance in which the positions of president and prime minister were held by the same party. Prime Minister TROVOADA resigned at the end of 2018 and was replaced by Jorge BOM JESUS. Carlos Vila NOVA was elected president in September 2021 and was inaugurated early the following month. TROVOADA began his fourth stint as prime minister in November 2022, following his party's victory in legislative elections held in September of that year. New oil discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea may attract increased attention to the small island nation.
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NOTE: The information regarding Sao Tome and Principe on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Sao Tome and Principe 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Sao Tome and Principe 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
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