Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea

geographical name

Country, on the western coast of equatorial Africa and including Bioko Island. Area: 10,831 sq mi (28,051 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 633,000. Capital: Malabo. The majority of the population are Bantu-speaking Fang people, with a minority of other ethnic groups. The indigenous people of Bioko are the Bubi, descendants of Bantu migrants from the mainland. Languages: Spanish, French (both official), Fang, Bubi, and others. Religions: Christianity (predominantly Roman Catholic, also other Christians); also Islam, traditional beliefs. Currency: CFA franc. Bordered by Cameroon and Gabon, Equatorial Guinea's mainland region is separated by the Bight of Biafra from the island of Bioko to the northwest. The mainland has a coastal plain some 12 mi (20 km) wide, with a long stretch of beach, low cliffs to the south, and hills and plateaus to the east. The Mbini (Benito) River divides the region. Bioko consists of extinct volcanic cones and has several crater lakes and rich lava soils. Dense tropical rainforest prevails throughout the mainland and includes valuable hardwoods. Cacao, timber, and coffee long were the country's primary exports, but since the 1990s petroleum has been the major export. Equatorial Guinea is a republic with one legislative house; the president is the head of state and government, assisted by the prime minister. Equatorial Guinea was ceded by the Portuguese to the Spanish in the late 18th century; it was frequented by slave traders, as well as by British and other merchants. Bioko was administered by British authorities in the early to mid-19th century before the Spanish took over in 1858. The mainland was not effectively occupied by the Spanish until the second half of the 19th century. Independence was declared in 1968, followed by a reign of terror and economic chaos under the dictatorial president Francisco MacĂ­as Nguema, who was overthrown by a military coup in 1979 and later executed. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo became leader of the country in 1979. New constitutions were adopted in 1982 and 1991, but political power remained concentrated in the office of the president. In the early 21st century the standard of living of most people remained low, despite the country's oil wealth.


Equatorial Guinea officially Republic of Equatorial Guinea formerly Spanish Guinea

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