The small island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe was one of the world’s leading producers of cocoa beans in the early twentieth century. The tropical climate, the abundant precipitation, and the fertile volcanic soils of the islands contributed to a rapid development of cocoa estates, but only the interaction of myriad other factors can explain the quick rise of the islands cocoa production from a few hundred kilograms in 1878 to nearly twelve thousand tons in 1900. This paper explores the development of São Tomé and Príncipe cocoa production from its beginnings to a position as a global leader in the cocoa market.

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