The islands of São Tomé and Principe are small – so small that they are invisible on most world maps.
Yet, they are uniquely placed in the middle of the world, where the imaginary line of the Equator crosses the Greenwich meridian.
Portugal took possession of the islands of São Tomé and Principe at the beginning of the 1470s, which became an important colony until its independence in 1975. During the five centuries of the colonial rule, the Portuguese took advantage of the fertile lands of São Tomé and Principe to cultivate mainly sugar cane, cocoa, and coffee. Many coconut trees were also planted throughout the territory, which explains the abundance of coconuts on the islands of São Tomé and Principe nowadays.
Portuguese is the official language of the country, but there are also three national creole languages: Forro, Angolar, and Lung’ie. Besides, valúdo means “dried coconut” in Forro.
Several thousand hectares of coconut groves were planted and cultivated before the independence of São Tomé and Principe. Coconut trees have the ability to self-replant, thanks to its fruit that is extremely resistant to climatic hazards. All neighboring islets of São Tomé and Principe are also abundant in coconut trees.