Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.
Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe, Sao Tome e Principe , s�o tom� & pr�ncipe, s�o tom� e pr�ncipe, Sao Tome & Principe, São Tomé and Principe, São Tomé & Principe, , São Tomé and Príncipe