‘After six weeks carrying heavy photographic plates, the expedition reached Príncipe.’

The travel magazine promised lush plant life and beaches. But Fiona Meadley also found an island preparing to celebrate a Quaker’s historic experiment

A student on Príncipe. | Photo: Courtesy of the Astronomy Club of the Príncipe Secondary School.

It started with an article in a travel magazine. Remote volcanic islands that we’d never heard of, just off the coast of West Africa. The photographs promised lush tropical plant life, pristine beaches, unusual rock formations, and a gentle pace of life.

The last thing we expected to find were Quaker links. These are tiny islands with a Portuguese colonial history, and Príncipe has fewer inhabitants than our Gloucestershire village (with a population under 7,000). Yet not only did we discover one Quaker connection, by the end of our stay we had counted three!

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