São Tomé and Príncipe

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São Tomé and Príncipe

This small, island nation in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa presently has a population of around 163,000. Although inhabited by indigenous people before their arrival, it was Portuguese explorers that claimed discovery of the island group between 1471 and 1472, later establishing the first settlement in 1493. Cultivation of sugar was achieved largely with slave labor imported from the African continent, although the islands became more successful as a transit point for slaves heading into the Western Hemisphere. By the 19th century, coffee and cocoa had replaced sugar as the primary cash crops, and continued to be worked by forced labour even after the abolishment of slavery by the Portuguese crown in 1876, and well into the 20th century.

Following the overthrow of the Caetano dictatorship in Portugal in 1974, the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP) took control of the small country after it was granted independence along with the rest of Portugal's former African colonies. The country has embraced a multiparty, democratic system of government since 1990, and was one of the first African nations to do so.

The armed forces of this small nation consist of the Army, Coast Guard, Presidential Guard and a National Guard.

Camouflage Patterns of São Tomé and Príncipe

  • Under Portuguese colonial administration, African troops wore the same vertical lizard pattern camouflage uniforms as regular Portuguese military personnel. The use of this pattern has persisted into the present day.

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  • More recently we have seen the adoption of a DPM type camouflage, probably also influenced by, if not supplied by, Portugal.

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