São Tomé (souN tŏmĕˈ) [key], town (1991 pop. 42,331), capital of the republic of São Tomé and Principe and a port on São Tomé island, in the Gulf of Guinea. It is the country's largest town, administrative center, commercial center, and main port. The chief exports are cocoa, coffee, copra, and palm products. The town also has a growing fishing industry. An international airport is there, and a railroad runs to the interior of São Tomé island. Before independence in 1975 most of the 4,000 Portuguese residents of the city left; many of them were plantation owners and traders and their exodus disrupted cocoa production for several years. The town has been the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop since 1534.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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