Garfield, Robert

History of São Tomé Island, 1470-1655. The Key to Guinea
1992 0-7734-9456-1
This book is the history of the Portuguese island of São Tomé from its discovery in 1470 to 1655 - its internal social and economic development and changing relations with the African mainland and the world trade system. Settled by Portuguese criminals, prostitutes, children of Jews, and African slaves, their mulatto descendents became a wealthy sugar-growing planter class, Europe's leading sugar suppliers in the sixteenth century. This study illustrates how the too-perfect adaptation of a small-scale society to its original economic relationships, issues of race, and the lack of alternatives caused by an entrenched ruling class which had lost its economic justification for rule, combine to create a destructive rigidity that can lead to social collapse and make effective amelioration impossible.