September 6 – Armed Forces Day in Sao Tome and Principe

Posted on September 6, 2013

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Sao Tome and Principe do not have the largest military in the world. This island nation off the coast of Africa is the second smallest nation in Africa and the smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world (by population).

Today I am NOT going to tell about European colonizers killing off or conquering the native people of a particular place—because nobody lived on these islands before the Portuguese arrived in the late 1400s.

But of course (as in all human history) there were some sordid bits in the islands' history. Apparently it was difficult to attract settlers to the islands, so “undesirables”—mostly Jews—were sent from Portugal. And since the islands were suited to growing sugar, and sugar cultivation needs a lot of labor, soon the settlers began to import slaves from mainland Africa.


Eventually, of course, slavery was outlawed. Along the way, two new cash crops were introduced: coffee and cocoa. By 1908, Sao Tome had become the world's largest producer of cocoa, and it is still the nation's #1 crop.

The islands are volcanic in nature, so you get cool landforms such as theGreat Dog Peak (Pico Cao Grande), which is a volcanic plug that is often covered in mist. 

A volcanic plug is formed when lava cools and solidifies inside the vent of a volcano. Often, the softer rock of the volcano itself erodes awayleaving a "plug" of rock sticking up toward the sky.

Check out the photos of the 10 most awesome volcanic plugs in the world. (My husband and I traveled to one of these just a bit more than a month ago and really enjoyed seeing it. The one we saw is the only one on this list in the U.S.!)

Check out these photos of some of the other natural beauties of Sao Tome and Principe. (Remember, not only are they islands, they are tropical islands!)

Also on this date:

Plan Ahead!

And here are my Pinterest pages on October holidaysOctober birthdays, and historical anniversaries in October.

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