São Tomé and Príncipe, a country consisting of two islands in the Gulf of Guinea about 150 miles (240 km) off the west African coast. São Tomé accounts for most of the country's 372 square miles (964 km2). Agriculture, especially the plantation cultivation of cacao, is the chief economic activity. Most of the people are of African, Portuguese, or mixed descent and live on São Tomé, particularly in the capital city, São Tomé. Their language is Portuguese. The country is governed under the constitution of 1990. The head of state is the president; the legislature is the 55-member National Assembly. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to land on the islands, in 1471. Except for a century of Dutch control (1641–1740), Portugal ruled the islands until 1975, when independence was granted.
In 1991 the population was 117,504.