The Sundy Plantation House, or Roça, is situated in the far North of Príncipe Island, 10 km from the capital. Named after the local river, formerly the River Sundim, it belonged to Jerónimo José Carneiro, who acquired the plantation in 1875 and founded the Sociedade Agrícola Sundy, Lda., (The Sundy Agricultural Society) with headquarters in Lisbon.

It was the second largest plantation in Príncipe: by the year 1912 it had five hundred and eighty four workers, whilst Porto Real, the largest Roça on the island, totalled eight hundred and forty four. It oversaw the plantations of Belo Monte, São Jorge, O Que Gaspar, O Que José, O Que Daniel, Praia Inhame, Paciência and São João, Santo Cristo, Ponta do Sol and Santa Rita.

At that time, the Roça was engaged in the production of ‘fine cocoa’ (under the brand name, Flavour), ‘choice cocoa’ and coffee (Arabic and Liberian), besides coconut, copra, palm kernel, banana, papaya, matabala (a kind of sweet potato) and cassava.

Like all the big estates, it also produced what was needed for its own consumption, including cattle farming, poultry houses, vegetable gardens, etc., justifying the enormous infrastructures that were gradually built to ensure the smooth functioning of all the cogs of this large undertaking.

Image one

One can still see traces of the old railway line in different parts of the island. Reaching a length of 9 kilometres, it linked Roça Sundy to its subsidiary plantations and, most importantly, to Praia Sundy (Sundy Beach), from where the merchandise was shipped off.

Following Independence, the estate was renamed Empresa Estatal Agropecuária Sundy (the Sundy State Farming Company) and currently encompasses 1,675 hectares, with an estimated population of just over four hundred inhabitants.

Roça Sundy is currently part of a plan for sustainable tourism, developed by HBD in partnership with the Príncipe Island Regional Government.

From Guia Turístico de São Tomé e Príncipe, Pocket Tropics