São Tomé Day in São Tomé and Príncipe in 2020

São Tomé Day in São Tomé and Príncipe in 2020
Flag of São Tomé and Príncipe. Image by Nicolas Raymond , via Flickr
  How long until São Tomé Day?
This holiday next takes place in 207 days.
  Dates of São Tomé Day in São Tomé and Príncipe
2022 São Tomé and Príncipe Wed, Dec 21 National Holiday
2021 São Tomé and Príncipe Tue, Dec 21 National Holiday
2020 São Tomé and Príncipe Mon, Dec 21 National Holiday
2019 São Tomé and Príncipe Sat, Dec 21 National Holiday
  Summary
Commemorates the arrival of the first Europeans to São Tomé on December 21st 1471.
  Local name
Dia de São Tomé

When is São Tomé Day?

São Tomé Day is a public holiday in the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe on December 21st each year.

This holiday commemorates the arrival of the first Europeans to the island of São Tomé on this day in 1471.

History of São Tomé Day

Africa's second-smallest country lies in the Gulf of Guinea. This meant it was in the path of 15th-century Portuguese explorers as they made their way around the coast of Africa looking for a trade route to India and the near east.

The traditional dates for the arrival of the Portuguese are December 21st 1471 for São Tomé and January 17th 1472 for Príncipe.

São Tomé is Portuguese for Saint Thomas, whose feast day is December 21st. January 17th is Saint Antony's Day. Indeed, Príncipe was called Santo Antão for about 30 years until it was changed to Príncipe in honour of the Prince of Portugal.

Both islands were uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived. It was decided that the islands would make good bases from which to trade with the African mainland and the first successful settlement of São Tomé was established in 1493 with Príncipe being settled 7 years later.

However, this wasn't some idyllic new colony. The islands were stocked with African slaves and degredados ("undesirables" sent from Portugal), all of whom were forced to work on sugar plantations.

Did you know?

It was on the island of Príncipe where Albert Einstein's theory of relativity was proven in an experiment by Arthur Stanley Eddington on May 29th 1919.

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