são tomé e príncipe culture

Anthropology: History, Beliefs, and Culture of São Tomé and Príncipe

Introduction to São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe is the second smallest country in the Organization of African Unity. Culturally, it is the Creole state of Luzo Africa brought by African descendants to work in plantations. The Republic of Sao Tome and Principe consists of two inhabited islands with a total area of 385 square miles (996 square kilometers). Santome occupies 330 square miles (857 square kilometers) and accounts for nearly 95% of the population. São Toméis in the equatorial region. Its strategic location in the heart of the Gulf of Guinea has become an important part of the island’s history and culture.

Geography of São Tomé and Príncipe
by lonely planet

The island served as a trading post and its strategic location was noted on both sides during the Cold War. The terrain is very steep, except for the small coastal plain on the north coast, where the capital and main town of São Tomé is located. The interior features hills, mountains, and canyons with narrow flat areas. Pico Santome in the central-western part of the island is the highest point. The steep hills, known as Moros, dominate the landscape and are rich in forests.

Agriculture is labor-intensive and the proportion of people who depend on agriculture continues to decline. The tropical ecological beauty of the island has the potential for tourism development. Due to the lack of communication and the lack of infrastructure, the island is relatively isolated and underdeveloped, but the number of visitors is steadily increasing.

Linguistic Association

The language is a Luso-African Creole language derived from the language spoken by Africans brought in by the Portuguese and contains a large number of words from Portuguese. This language was formed in the 15th and 16th centuries when a significant number of white Portuguese lived in this country. Portuguese was widely spoken until the mid-17th century when most whites had disappeared.
The official language is known to be Portuguese.

It is also the language used in administrative systems. São Tomé calls the Creole language Forro, long santome, or dialect. The Prince speaks a mutually intelligible dialect of Forró known as Ringle. The Angolan refugee community, south of Santomera, speaks a dialect called Lungangora. Since independence, children have learned Portuguese from an early age. Portuguese TV shows since the mid-1980s have eroded the use of local languages.

The history, ethnic relations, and identity of São Tomé and Príncipe

The land of Sao Tome and Principe was unmanned when Portuguese explorers witnessed them in 1471. A series of property and plantation systems brought Africans. When they arrived on the continent, their descendants shaped the Creole culture. The emergence of the country has to do with the roles and attitudes developed in response to plantations and the process by which Africans assimilated as free people. The term Forho is synonymous with national identity. In 1486, the first Portuguese people landed on the island and settled there.

History of São Tomé and Príncipe
by BBC

​​Due to the climate and disease, the settlements were abandoned and no native could buy food for the settlers. As the Edict suggested, the settlers were unable to produce sugar or wheat. Among the settlers, 2,000 Jewish children were taken from their parents and converted to Christianity.

Ethnic Oppression

In addition to Jewish children, prisoners were living in exile, and prostitutes were known as degraded. Free whites were government officials, soldiers, and merchants sent to exploit West African slaves and trade in spices and sugar.

The edict ordered Jewish settlers and minorities to marry a female slave and live on the island with their children. The second royal decree of 1515 granted free status to all African female slaves given to settlers and their children, and the edict of 1517 granted Africa to the first Jewish settlers and prisoners.

Due to the order of the King and the actions of the King’s Justice of the Peace, white people could not trade with slaves born on the island. This gave rise to a large population of free blacks and Mestizos, forming the core of São Tomé and Principe culture. African and European settlers turned the island into a prosperous center for the spice and slave trade, and one of the first sugar producers. The political empowerment of multiracial and free blacks gave considerable power to the wealthy liberal blacks who served on the city council.

Symbolic identity

history of POLÍTICA São Tomé and Príncipe
by Telanon

The Cross, the Trinity, and the saints are important symbols of Christianity. Historical symbols from early colonial times include various emblems of the King of Portugal. Local religions often use African symbols of red cloth, iron, and wooden dolls. Other healing religions invest in specific plots of land of symbolic and ritual significance as a spiritual home.

During the first 20 years of the government of the One Marxist-Leninist Party, the symbolism of international Marxism prevailed. After the birth of the Multi-Party Democratic Movement in 1990, political parties developed their own symbols and some newspapers used iconic paintings and caricatures. A wooden doll with a piece of iron attached to the chest and a red cloth wrapped around the neck at the base of the tree is a powerful symbol.

National Identity of São Tomé and Príncipe

In the early 19th century, free and degraded whites were integrated into a single white group. Mulâtre has the rights and privileges of white people and is classified in the census group. The largest group is Foros or Free Negro. The most prosperous and politically important free blacks are known as filhos da terra, descendants of the first settlers, to distinguish them from the free blacks of the 19th century. Basically, anyone who lived far from the plantation and could claim a small piece of land belonging to a religious fraternity or politically supported was considered a religious person.

Most of the rural population is attached to Rosa (plantation). These people are descendants of contract workers in Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde. The word Tonga is a nasty term that some foros use to refer to these people. The Cape Verdeans’ descendants are still a small and clear community, many of whom are still seeking migration.
assimilation process

Ethnic relations

Multi-ethnic groups are always few in number and never rank high. Under the Portuguese, they received a special privilege that ended with independence and caused no economic or cultural blockade. They tend to assimilate over time with the Forro type. White people are usually workers on one of the many technical tasks related to development support. Other whites are in business and are not permanent residents. The island is still African in nature, with the closest connections and influences coming from the African continent.

Food Culture in São Tomé and Príncipe

food culture
by Emaze

The cuisine is based on roots, crops, tropical bananas, and the most common source of protein is fish. Vegetables eaten include native harvested vegetables cooked in red palm oil. Due to the island’s history as a plantation economy, there is insufficient production of these foods. The traditional palm oil stew is a national dish. Corn can be eaten as a snack. Traditional food culture includes fruit bats and monkey meat. Asian fruits are well procured, but New World fruits such as papaya and guava are the most common and abundant. Citrus fruits are found in most families.

Since the colonial era, the country’s dependence on foreign foods has begun to change its food culture. Bread made from imported rice and flour is the main food of the townspeople. People usually eat hot cooked food before sunset. Breakfast consists of reheated meals or tea and bread the day before. People usually eat around a fireplace, where most of the house is another structure made of trees and leaves.

Uses of Ceremonial Kitchen

Weddings, baptisms, and funerals feature luxurious Portuguese-style tables and a variety of dishes that guests admire. Bottled drinks are decorated on the table. These opportunities are characterized by the roast goat, chicken, or beef of the rich. Wealthy families also prepare the traditional Brazilian Luzo African Feijoada, a rich bean stew for Sunday lunch and guests. The main local drink is palm wine. The local brewery’s intermittent production is deliciously consumed and bottled soft drinks are a luxury. The local sugarcane rum, Kacharamba, is of questionable quality.

Symbol of social class

On an island with no household goods, travel and access to the outside world is a symbol of high rank. Educating children and shopping in Lisbon and Gabon is a symbol of power and status. Traditional dance and participation in religious societies are status symbols hidden by the adoption of Western consumer culture.

Relative gender roles in São Tomé and Príncipe

gender roles in São Tomé and Príncipe
by Britannica

Sao Tome and Principe is a society dominated by males. Despite that, women play an important role in all formal and informal institutions. Women have occupied an important position in government. For several years after independence, the Speaker of Parliament and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were women. Women can operate independently of their husbands and siblings. The farmers and fishmongers at the market are all women, some of whom save and manage large sums of money. In the family, women manage their money independently of their husbands. Marrying a woman who owns land or other property does not give her husband access or control over those resources. One-third of households are headed by women.

Marriage, family, parents

There are three types of husband and wife relationships: monogamy, cohabitation, and visitation. Christian marriages were mainly for the educated elite and had the highest social prestige. Formal marriage is an accepted system among upper-class Protestant and Christian church members, but men often marry other women and support multiple families.

Most couples live in residential partnerships. Women and men typically have different partners throughout adulthood and have children with different partners. In plantation families, marriage is unstable and women have visiting relationships with many men. Visiting is the most common form of marriage among poor Forro or Tonga women. Polygamy is unacceptable but is known to occur in rural areas. In all forms of marriage, fathers and husbands must contribute to the costs of wives and children.

Religious Beliefs

It has been estimated that more than 80% of the population is Roman Catholic, less than 3% are Protestant Christians, and 1% are Adventist Christians. The capital has 12 Catholic parishes and one large church. Catholic origin dates back to the 15th century.

There is an extensive spiritual belief system rooted in the religion of African coastal societies. These beliefs focus on the spirit of ancestors and those who live in sacred places. Places containing the remains of people buried in a hurry are considered dangerous and people leave offerings to these spirits to practice nearby. Spiritual rituals often focus on healing and soothing the forgotten spirit and those who wish to return to the living world.

Religious festivities in São Tomé and Príncipe

religious festivals in São Tomé and Príncipe

by Vatican newsThe religious fraternity and the sorority play an important role in the organization of these ceremonies and festivals. The most important Catholic rituals are baptism and awakening, followed by burial. The other sacraments are rarely observed.
Forros has a local religious ritual called djambí. In this ritual, the entire neighborhood or village comes together to beat the drums, dance, and witness ownership. Individuals can seek out ritual specialists to protect themselves from rivals, restore health, or attract the attention of potential lovers. In Rosa, ritualists provide healing, divination, and ritual protection.

Foros believes that the souls of the dead will never be separated from the living world. There is still a bond that reminds the living of the dead and compels them to appease. Suffering is often the result of forgotten or unwanted dead souls. The spirit may go to those who have emigrated because of illness or bad luck, but the soul remains attached to the island and where it died.

Graphic, literature, and performance art

There is a national theater company performing at Forró. Although widely supported, the limited financial support from the government limited the number of dramas that could be achieved.
Poetry is the most developed form of literary expression. Francisco Tenreiro and Arda Glass de Espiritu Santo are among the most famous published poets. Historical events are often the subject of local poetry. Tomaz Ribas is one of the leading authors of popular tales and short stories.

Culture tourism
by world nomads

Pascoal Viegas Vilhete (Canarim) Almada Negreiros and Viannada Mota represent popular scenes of artistic and historical value. Today’s artists, who combine themes of traditional folk art with exhibits in the Abstract Expressionist style, are on display at the Francisco Tenreiro Cultural Center or the National Museum.

Dancing and drama are widely practiced and highly regarded. Folk sites such as Danço Congo and Tchiloli are interpretations of 16th-century Portuguese historical dramas, performed by masked performers dressed in colorful costumes and accompanied by drums, flutes, and dancers. Other forms of dance include with and bulaweh, both organized and performed by dance companies. Old and soft dance styles such as ussua and socopé are rarely performed.


Sao Tome and Principe is officially the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea on the western equatorial coast of central Africa. The island was uninhabited until its discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century.

Gradually colonized and colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, it jointly established the role of an important center of commerce and commerce in the Atlantic slave trade. Due to its rich volcanic soil and its proximity to the equator, Sao Tome and Principe are ideal for growing sugar and therefore are lucrative crops such as coffee and cocoa. The profitable plantation economy relied heavily on imported African slaves.

Independence was achieved in 1975, only after much social unrest and chaos. Since then, Sao Tome and Principe have been one of the most stable democracies in Europe. The legacy of Portuguese rule can also be found in the culture, customs, and music of a country that blends European and African influences. Sao Tome and Principe were founding members of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries.


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