São Tomé and Príncipe



Official name : Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe

Area: 1,001 square kilometers (386 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: São Tomé Peak (2,024 meters/6,640 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: Noon = noon GMT

Coastline: 209 kilometers (130 miles)

Longest distances: São Tomé: 49 kilometers (30 miles) from north-northeast to south-southwest; 29 kilometers (18 miles) from east-southeast to west-northwest. Príncipe: 21 kilometers (13 miles) from south-southeast to north-northwest, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from east-northeast to west-southwest

Land boundaries: None

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

São Tomé and Príncipe, the smallest country in Africa, is a group of islands located in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Gabon, just barely north of the equator. With a total area of about 1,001 square kilometers (386 square miles), the country is about five times the size of Washington, D.C. São Tomé and Príncipe is divided into two provinces.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

São Tomé and Príncipe has no territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

Lying near the equator, the islands' climate is tropical and temperatures vary with the different altitudes. Temperatures in the coastal regions average 27°C (81°F), while the mountain areas average 20°C (68°F). Precipitation changes differentiate the seasons, rather than temperature fluctuations.

The northern regions of São Tomé and Príncipe receive approximately 100 to 150 centimeters (40 to 60 inches) of rain during the rainy season from October through May, while most of the southern regions receive between 380 and 510 centimeters (150 and 200 inches). The dry season occurs from early June through September.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

São Tomé and Príncipe is part of a chain of extinct volcanoes. The two main islands are São Tomé (855 square kilometers/330 square miles) and Príncipe (109 square kilometers/42 square miles). The country also includes the tiny Ilhéu Bombom, Ilhéu Caroço, and Ilhéu das Rôlas.

São Tomé and Príncipe's landscape is mostly mountainous. Rainforest covers other large areas of land, most of which give way to cloud forests at higher elevations. Most of the coastline is comprised of white sand beaches. Almost all of the population lives on the island of São Tomé. The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe are located on the African Tectonic Plate.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Seacoast and Undersea Features

São Tomé and Príncipe is surrounded by the Gulf of Guinea, an extension of the Atlantic Ocean that lies along the coast of West Africa.

Islands and Archipelagoes

São Tomé and Príncipe comprise an island nation. Small islets that lie around the two main islands include Ilhéu das Rôlas, straddling the equator off the southern tip of São Tomé; Ilhéu Caroço, off the southern tip of Príncipe; and Bombom, off the northern coast of Príncipe. In the waters between the two main islands are Tinhosa Peqeuna, Pedras Tinhosas, and Tinhosa Grande. These islets are uninhabited.

Coastal Features

Untouched white sand beaches line most of the coasts and the country is attempting to develop a tourist industry around them. São Tomé on the island of the same name and Santo António on Príncipe are the main ports.

6 INLAND LAKES

There are no significant lakes on São Tomé and Príncipe.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

The Contador River is located in the northwest of São Tomé and its river valley is possibly the deepest in the country. Several streams run down from the volcanic highlands into the Gulf of Guinea.

8 DESERTS

There are no deserts in São Tomé and Príncipe.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

In the northern region of São Tomé, there is a dry area where the climate resembles that of savannah grasslands. Forest covers most of the islands. Tropical rainforest changes to cloud forest above elevations of 1,370 meters (4,500 feet). Cloud forests are so named because they tend to be continually covered in clouds throughout the entire year.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were once part of a chain of ocean volcanoes that are now extinct. As a result, both São Tomé and Príncipe are mountainous. São Tomé's highest peaks are São Tomé Peak (Pico de São Tomé) at 2,024 meters (6,640 feet) and Kabumbé Peak (Pico Kabumbé) at 1,403 meters (4,630 feet). While there are ten peaks that rise over 1,067 meters (3,500 feet), many of the island's other peaks reach only a little more than half that height. Príncipe's highest elevation is Príncipe Peak (Pico de Príncipe) at 948 meters (3,109 feet).

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

There are no major caves or canyons in São Tomé and Príncipe.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

Príncipe features a large plateau that extends along the northwestern coast at elevations that reach 948 meters (3,109 feet). The terrain of São Tomé also features a plateau, although it is smaller.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

There are no major man-made structures affecting the geography of the country.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Hodges, Tony . São Tomé and Príncipe: From Plantation Colony to Microstate. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988.

Shaw, Caroline S. São Tomé and Príncipe. Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Press, 1994.

Web Sites

Iafrica.com . São Tomé and Príncipe. http://www.africa.iafrica.com/countryinfo/saotome/geography (Accessed June 12, 2003).



Also read article about São Tomé and Príncipe from Wikipedia

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