Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-ttngx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-26T04:12:43.523Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - São Tomé and Príncipe: The first plantation economy in the tropics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

Gerhard Seibert
Affiliation:
University Institute of Lisbon
Robin Law
Affiliation:
Professor of African History, University of Stirling
Suzanne Schwarz
Affiliation:
Professor of History, University of Worcester
Silke Strickrodt
Affiliation:
Research Fellow in Colonial History, German Institute of Historical Research, London
Get access

Summary

On two occasions the small archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe, a former Portuguese colony located in the Gulf of Guinea, played an important role in the history of tropical commercial agriculture. During the Age of Discoveries, in the sixteenth century, the islands became a major sugar-producer and the first plantation economy in the tropics. After some two centuries of economic decay, in the mid-nineteenth century, the archipelago emerged as Africa's first cocoa-producer and in the early twentieth century, for a few years, even became the world's largest cocoa-producer. This paper focuses on the first period which coincided with the settlement and colonization of the hitherto uninhabited tropical islands and seeks to put the rise and fall of São Tomé's early commercial agriculture in a wider social and political context.

As far as English-language secondary sources are concerned the article draws on the theses of the historian Robert Garfield on São Tomé's early history (1972, published 1992) and of the anthropologist Pablo Eyzaguirre on the island's plantation economy (1986). More recently, several Portuguese scholars have provided important additional insights into the archipelago's history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among these authors are the historians Arlindo Caldeira, particularly on the slave trade, slavery and slave resistance (1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008), Luís Pinheiro on economy and politics (2005), Pedro Cunha on the local economy (2001), and Cristina Serafim on the economic decline in the seventeenth century (2000).

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×