Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, is a state in Central Africa. It borders Cameroon and Gabon. Washed by the Gulf of Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts: mainland (Rio Muni - 26 thousand km²) and island (Bioko Islands - 2 thousand km², Korisko, Annobon, Greater Elobei, Lesser Elobei, etc.). The capital is currently the city of Malabo on the island of Bioko, a new capital is being built on the continent, Ciudad de la Paz. The population of the country according to the 2015 census (according to preliminary data) was 1,222,442 people. It is the only sovereign state in Africa whose official language is Spanish (along with French).

Oil fields and foreign investment have helped make Equatorial Guinea one of Africa's richest and most stable countries with the 6th highest HDI, and the highest GDP per capita (nominal) (excluding the island state of Seychelles) and the highest GDP per capita (PPP) in Africa (excluding the island nations of Seychelles and Mauritius). Since the 1990s, the state has become a major oil exporter, due to which its GDP per capita has risen to the first position in continental Africa. However, oil revenues are distributed extremely unevenly: a significant part of the population does not even have constant access to clean water, and child mortality in the country remains at a high level: up to 20% of children die before they reach the age of five. According to the Human Development Index, it is in 138th place in the world (2015).



During the colonial period, the territory of the country was occupied by Spanish Guinea. In 1959, Spanish possessions in the Gulf of Guinea received the status of overseas territories of Spain under the name "Equatorial region of Spain" and were divided into the provinces of Fernando Po and Rio Muni. In December 1963, they were merged into "Equatorial Guinea", which was granted limited autonomy. In 1968, Spain granted independence to Equatorial Guinea. The name was adopted due to the country's location in the geographic region of Lower Guinea and its proximity to the equator.



The early history of the country is poorly studied. By the time European colonization began, the main inhabitants of this territory were the Pygmy, Fang and Bubi tribes (the Bantu language family).


Colonial period

In 1472, a Portuguese expedition under the command of Captain Fernando Po discovered an island in the Gulf of Guinea called Fernando Po (now Bioko Island). The colonization of the island by the Portuguese began in 1592. In 1642-1648, Holland tried to take possession of the island.

In 1778, under the Treaty of El Pardo, Portugal ceded the island and territory of Río Muni on the continent to Spain. However, the Spanish expedition sent to Rio Muni was destroyed by the local Bubi tribe.

At the beginning of the 19th century (1827), the British captured the island of Fernando Po, founding the city of Clarence Town there (now the capital of Equatorial Guinea, the city of Malabo). In 1843, the Spaniards conquered the island of Fernando Po, and in 1856 they conquered the territory of Rio Muni. The Bubi tribe was pushed back into the mountains.

The Bubi tribe tried to destroy the Spanish colonialists in 1898, in Rio Muni, and then, in 1906, on the island of Fernando Po. Both uprisings were put down by the Spanish.

In 1926, Spanish Guinea was created by uniting the colonies of Rio Muni, Bioko and Elobei, Annobón and Corisco into a single structure. Spain was not interested in developing the infrastructure of the colony, but laid out large cocoa plantations on the island of Bioko, where thousands of workers were brought from Nigeria.

In 1959, Fernando Po and Río Muni were declared overseas provinces of Spain under the name "Equatorial Region of Spain". In December 1963, Spanish Guinea was granted limited internal autonomy.


Period of independence

Under pressure from the liberation movement and the United Nations, in March 1968 Spain agreed to begin the process of decolonization; an independent republic was proclaimed on 12 October. On August 1, 1968, a referendum was held in the country, as a result of which 63% of voters voted for a new constitution. Francisco Macías Nguema Biyogo became the first president.

In July 1970, all parties and organizations were dissolved by presidential decree and the United National Party of Workers was created, which included the entire adult population of the country. In foreign policy, Nguema tried to maneuver between the West and the USSR, but eventually broke off relations with Spain and the United States (in 1970) and partially reoriented towards the socialist countries. In 1972, he was proclaimed president for life of the country. As part of the "authenticity" campaign (replacing Spanish colonial names of geographical features with African ones), the capital of Santa Isabel was renamed Malabo, and the island of Fernando Po in 1973 was renamed the island of Macias Nguema Biyogo. Under the leadership of the president, whose behavior began to show signs of dementia by the end of the 70s, the country came to a political and economic collapse.

On August 3, 1979, a military coup took place in the country led by the dictator's nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the country's former deputy defense minister. Macías Nguema was charged with 80,000 murders; he was found guilty of 500 murders and sentenced to death. Since the population of Equatorial Guinea believed that Macias was a sorcerer and had supernatural powers, none of the soldiers agreed to take part in the execution - a platoon of Moroccan mercenaries had to be specially called in to carry out the execution.

The island of Macias Nguema Biyogo was once again renamed to the island of Bioko.

In October 1979, a significant part of the nationalized property (plantations, enterprises, shops, etc.) was returned to the former owners. In November 1979, freedom of private enterprise was proclaimed. Relations with Spain and the United States were soon restored. In 1982, a new constitution was adopted, declaring political freedoms; offshore oil production began in 1991.

However, in the 1990s, there were mass arrests of opposition figures, many were killed, and a virtual one-party dictatorship was established, in which the president is invariably re-elected in unfree elections with rates close to 100% of the vote (the lowest result was in 2016: 93%). Nepotism and corruption flourishes; Forbes estimates the head of state's fortune at $600 million. The President, as in his time and his predecessor, who was overthrown, is given divine honors.

In the 2000s, there were at least two coup attempts in Equatorial Guinea.

In the 2010s, the government of the country began the construction of a new capital on the site of the city of Oyala. The new capital was named Ciudad de la Paz.


Natural conditions

The mainland of Equatorial Guinea - Rio Muni - highlands 600-900 m high, along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean - a low plain. The volcanic island of Bioko belongs to the Cameroon line, the highest point is Mount Pico Basile (3011 m).

The climate is equatorial, constantly humid. Average monthly temperatures are +24…+28 °C. Precipitation - more than 2000 mm per year.

The river network is dense and deep. The rivers are rapids, navigable only in the lower reaches.

Vegetation - moist equatorial forests. More than 150 valuable species of trees grow - oil and coconut palms, breadfruit, ironwood, okume, etc.

The animal world is rich and varied - various types of monkeys, elephants, leopards, antelopes, gazelles, etc. There are many snakes, birds, insects, and arachnids.


State structure

Republic. The head of state is the president; elected by the population for a 7-year term, the number of terms is not limited. The next elections were held on April 24, 2016, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been ruling the country continuously since 1979, was again declared the winner (with 93.7% of the vote).

Parliament - a unicameral House of People's Representatives of 100 deputies elected for 5 years.

Political parties (according to the results of the elections in May 2008 and May 2013):

Democratic Party (headed by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo) - 99 seats in parliament;
United Party for Social Democracy - 1 seat in Parliament.
A number of parties operate underground.


Armed forces

The National Guard is the basis of the armed forces of the army of Equatorial Guinea. In its ranks there are about 1.3 thousand people (1100 people - ground forces, 100 people - air force).

In service: BRDM-2 - 6 pieces, BTR-152 - 10 pieces. There are 4 Su-25s and an An-72 transport aircraft.

Transport aircraft and helicopters: Yak-40 - 1 piece, CASA C-212 - 3 pieces, Cessna-337 - 1 piece, SA-316 Alouette III - 2 pieces.

The military budget of Equatorial Guinea is 0.1% of GDP.