Portugal's smallest African territory, the islands of Sao Tome Principe, became independent on Saturday (12 July) after 500 years of colonial rule.
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Background: Portugal's smallest African territory, the islands of Sao Tome Principe, became independent on Saturday (12 July) after 500 years of colonial rule.
Thousands of Africans cheered as the Portuguese flag was lowered for the last time. Hoisted in its place was the yellow, green and red flag of the new nation called the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principle.
It has a population of 70,000 and a main export crop of cocoa.
Dr. Manuel Pinto da costa, a 65 year old economist trained in east berlin, was proclaimed first President. Dr. Pinto da Costa was head of movement for the liberation of the islands from Portugal.
The islands are the fourth portuguese African territory to be given independence. On Friday (18 July), the Foreign Ministers' meeting of the Organisation of African Unity in Kampala gave the islands membership.
The 70-thousand inhabitants of the southern Atlantic Ocean Islands of Sao Tome and Principe have a new identity following an end to 500 years of rule from Lisbon. The former Portuguese colonies became independent on 12 July. One of the guests of honour at the celebrations was President Bongo of Gabon. He was met on arrival by the new President of Sao Tome and Principe, Dr. Manuel Pinto da Costa.
The new nation will be known as the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe. Thousands of Africans cheered as the Portuguese flag was lowered for the last time and replaced with the yellow, green and red flag of the new Republic.
President Pinto da Costa has invited white residents to stay in Sao Tome, promised agrarian reforms and thanked countries that helped the islands gain independence.