The chocolate islands April 15, 2022

from Business Daily· ·

The mountainous archipelago of SãoTomé and Príncipe was once the world’s biggest exporter of cocoa. The twin island nation in the Gulf of Guinea was uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the fifteenth century. They brought slaves to work the land producing cash crops like sugar and coffee. In the 1890s these crops were replaced by cocoa and the islands became known as the biggest cocoa exporter in the world. The plantations were farmed first by slaves and then by forced, exploited islanders. When the horrific working conditions were exposed in the 1920s, chocolate manufacturers switched their source …



The mountainous archipelago of SãoTomé and Príncipe was once the world’s biggest exporter of cocoa. The twin island nation in the Gulf of Guinea was uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the fifteenth century. They brought slaves to work the land producing cash crops like sugar and coffee. In the 1890s these crops were replaced by cocoa and the islands became known as the biggest cocoa exporter in the world. The plantations were farmed first by slaves and then by forced, exploited islanders. When the horrific working conditions were exposed in the 1920s, chocolate manufacturers switched their source of beans to Ghana and Ivory Coast. SãoTomé’s ignominious reputation as the chocolate nation was over. Presenter Tamasin Ford went to visit the islands to take a look at the cocoa sector now. Produced by Russell Newlove Image: Chocolate making; Credit: Russell Newlove/BBC