World Facts

What Do The Colors And Symbols Of The Flag Of Sao Tome And Principe Mean?

The flag of the nation was adopted in 1975.

Comprising of two main islands (Sao Tome and Principe) and numerous other surrounding islands, Sao Tome and Principe is a sovereign nation located in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Central Africa. The islands are approximately 140 kilometres (87 miles) apart.

Brief History of Sao Tome and Principe

The islands of the country were uninhabited prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Portuguese explorers first found their way to these islands in the 15th century. These people then established colonies in the region in the 16th century. The islands soon became a thriving trade zone dealing the Atlantic slave trade. Agriculture also flourished here as cocoa, coffee, and sugar plantations earned large profits. Sao Tome and Principe became an independent nation in 1975 after the end of colonial rule in the nation. Although it is the second-smallest African country by population (208,818 as of 2018), it is one of Africa’s most stable economies.

History of the Flag of Sao Tome and Principe

The flag of the nation was adopted in 1975 to denote the end of colonial rule in the country. During the Portuguese rule on the islands, the flag of Portugal was in use in the country. However, prior to independence, the MLSTP, a political party that played an important role in the independence movement, was recognized by the Portuguese government as the only representative of the islands' people. The leader of this party, Manuel Pinto da Costa, designed the national flag of the to-be-independent nation. This flag was then officially adopted in 1975.

Design of Sao Tome and Principe’s Flag

The flag of the country features three main colors, red, green, and yellow. There are three horizontal bands of green, yellow, and green in order from top to bottom of the flag. The green bands are equal in size. However, the yellow band is wider than the green bands. The width ratio of the three bands is 2:3:2. A red triangle is also present at the hoist side of the flag with its base towards that side. The yellow strip of the flag features two black stars that have five points each. The flag exhibits a certain degree of similarity with the flags of Togo and Ghana.

Meaning of the Colors and Symbols of the Flag

The colors and symbols featured in Sao Tome and Principe’s flag have significant symbolic meanings. The green color of the flag epitomizes the country’s plentiful vegetation. The tropical sun that shines over the country all year round and supports all life there is represented by the yellow color. Yellow also symbolizes cocoa which is an important agricultural product of the island nation. The red color reminds one of the people’s struggles for independence. It also stands for equality. The two black stars represent the two main islands of the nation.

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