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3274 1823

Sao Tome and Principe Flag

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. Although independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The first free elections were held in 1991.

The flag of the main liberation movement, the Movimento de Sao Tome e Principe (MLSP), was adopted in 1975 with a modification to the proportions of the bands. Red, green and yellow are the pan-African colours, symbolizing African solidarity and nationalism, although in this case, the yellow represents cocoa, which is one of the main agricultural products. The two black stars represent the two main islands of the republic, Sao Tome and Principe.

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