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The islands were a Portuguese colony, but have been independent since July Portuguese is the official language. The official historical version says that the country was uninhabited before the arrival of the Portuguese sailors. The first successful Portuguese settlement in the archipelago was in The volcanic soil of the islands proved to be good for sugar crops.
Hard work was needed to grow and harvest the sugar crops. Slaves were brought from Portugal to do the work. Because other countries began producing more sugar, the islands were not able to make money from it.
Instead it became a stopping place for the slave trade. In the 19th century, crops of coffee and cocoa were grown. These became successful. By the country was the largest producer of cocoa. It is the most important crop for the country. In the massacre hundreds of local people were killed by Portuguese settlers. The Portuguese wanted workers for the crops. The locals said they were being used as slaves. The governor told the military to take any locals who did not want to work.
In the late s a group wanted independence. In they succeeded in removing Marcelo Caetano as their leader. The first president was Manuel Pinto da Costa. They changed the constitution to allow other political parties. Miguel Trovoada was elected president.
The president is elected for a five-year term and can be re-elected. The prime minister is elected for a four-year term. The thirteen members of the cabinet the group of ministers are chosen by them. All adult citizens can vote in the elections. They vote by secret ballot. It is in the Gulf of Guinea , off the western equatorial coast of Africa.