July 12 is Independence Day in São Tomé and Príncipe to commemorate the day in 1975 when the island-nation finally escaped Portuguese colonial domination.
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As Portugal circumnavigated Africa in the search of a water route to Asia, they discovered the island of São Tomé (Saint Thomas) in 1471 and the island of Príncipe (Prince) in 1472. Soon, they settled the islands, and they became a major trade and slaving base for centuries.
In the year 1960, a liberation force was founded in São Tomé and Príncipe, and the push for independence began in earnest. The conflict was tense, and Portugal was anything but cooperative. But finally, after a revolution succeeded in Portugal itself in 1974, the independence of São Tomé and Príncipe was recognised on 12 July 1975.
On Independence Day, the people of the two islands celebrate with patriotic parades, open air concerts, ethnic dancing, and a host of other festive activities.
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