Sao Tome and Principe is an island nation in Central Africa situated in the Gulf of Guinea near the Equator. It is made up of two major islands, So Tomé and Principe, as well as several rocky islets, like Rôlas, which is located south of So Tomé island, and Caroço, Pedras, and Tinhosas, which are located south of Principe.
The predominant climate is maritime and tropical, but there are a variety of microclimates present due to the rocky topography. The mountains on So Tomé island block the moist southwesterly breezes, causing annual rainfall to exceed 275 inches (7,000 mm) in the southwest while being less than 30 inches in the extreme northeast (760 mm). In the northeast, the dry season, known as Ravana, lasts from June to September but is hardly noticeable in wetter areas. The people primarily comprise Forros, descended from enslaved Africans and immigrants from Europe (forro is Portuguese for "free man"). The Angolares are a different group that originated from formerly enslaved people from Angola shipwrecked in So Tomé around 1540. Until the late 19th century, the Angolares lived separately in the remote southern region of the island of Soto, but they gradually expanded throughout the nation and were substantially integrated.
The majority of islanders can communicate in standard Portuguese, which is the official language. Three Portuguese-based creoles are also spoken: Sotomense, which is spoken by the Forros and has by far the most speakers; Angolar, which is spoken by the Angolares on the southern tip of So Tomé; and Principense, which is only spoken by a small number of people on Principe. The Roman Catholic Church is attended by more than half of the populace. The remaining people who declare their religious affiliation are mostly Protestants. Traditional African practices and beliefs are prevalent among followers of other faiths. One-fifth of the population considers themselves to be atheists.