SÃ£o TomÃ© Island, at 854Â km2 (330Â sqÂ mi), is the largest island of SÃ£o TomÃ© and PrÃncipe and is home in 2009 to about 157,000 or 96% of the nation's population. This island and smaller nearby islets make up SÃ£o TomÃ© Province, which is divided into six districts. The main island is located 2Â km (1Â¼ miles) north of the equator. It is about 48Â km (30Â mi) long (North-South) by 32Â km (20Â mi) wide (east-west). It rises to 2,024 m (6,639Â ft) at Pico de SÃ£o TomÃ© and includes the capital city, SÃ£o TomÃ©, on the northeast coast. The nearest city on mainland Africa is the port city of Port Gentil in Gabon located 240Â km (150Â mi) to the east.
The entire island of SÃ£o TomÃ© is a massive shield volcano which rises from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, over 3,000Â m (10,000Â ft) below sea level. It formed along the Cameroon line, a line of volcanoes extending from Cameroon southwest into the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the lava erupted on SÃ£o TomÃ© over the last million years has been basalt. The youngest dated rock on the island is about 100,000 years old, but numerous more recent cinder cones are found on the southeast side of the island.
Environment and economy
The higher slopes of the island are forested and form part of the Obo National Park, but agriculture is important near the north and east coasts. The chief exports are cocoa, coffee, copra, and palm products, while there is also a fishing industry.
Large reserves of oil are in the ocean between Nigeria and SÃ£o TomÃ©. The discovery has been lamented by some as endangering the nation's political stability and natural environment. In response to these concerns the government of SÃ£o TomÃ© and PrÃncipe has drawn up legislation in an attempt to ensure the efficient and equitable use of oil revenues over time.
The island has a total of 63 regular bird species, plus an additional 36 vagrant and unconfirmed species. Of these, 19 are endemic and 3 near endemic; in addition, the local subspecies of Olive Ibis (Bostrychia olivacea bocagei) is endemic and considered critically endangered. Six species are considered vulnerable, and two critically endangered (SÃ£o TomÃ© Fiscal and SÃ£o TomÃ© Grosbeak).
Towns and villages
Villages on the island include:
- "Sao Tome". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.Â
- CIA Word Fact Book