19 Equatorial Guinea Facts: Land of Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity”

Equatorial Guinea is a small country located on Central Africa’s western coast. It is also known as the Republic of Equatorial Guinea officially.

One of Africa’s least visited and most closed countries, the oil-rich country is home to idyllic beaches, pristine rainforests buzzing with rare wildlife, and alluring colonial architecture frozen in time.

Along with these, more interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea may surprise you.So, in this article, we will discuss some interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea.

  1. It shares a land border with two countries
Equatorial Guinea borders two countries

Gabon borders Equatorial Guinea to the south and east and Cameroon to the north. Along much of this country’s 296 km long coastline, you will see some of the most deserted and beautiful stretches of sand on the continent of Africa.

Also, by area, the country is one of the smaller nations in Africa. Equatorial Guinea has a total area of 10,830 square miles or 28,050 square km, making it the world’s 141-st largest nation. This country is a little bit smaller than the country Belgium or a little bit larger than the state of Massachusetts.

  1. In Equatorial Guinea, the Portuguese were the first to set foot

The Portuguese were the first known people from Europe to set foot in the country of Equatorial Guinea. In 1471, Fernao do Po, the Portuguese navigator looking for a path to India, is credited as being the first European to find out the island of Bioko.

Under the Portuguese, the islands of Annobon, Bioko, and Corisco became “factories” or posts for the slave trade.

  1. Equatorial Guinea has an insular and a mainland region
Equatorial Guinea has insular and mainland regions

The country of Equatorial Guinea has two separate regions, that are an insular and a mainland region. Continental Equatorial Guinea is also called Rio Muni and five islands situated in the easternmost part of the Gulf of Guinea create insular Equatorial Guinea.

The country’s islands are Corisco, Bioko, Small Eloby, Great Eloby, and Annobon. Annobon Island is the only part of the nation that is located in the south of the equator.

  1. It is named for West Africa’s Guinea region

The name Equatorial Guinea derives from West Africa’s Guinea region that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and also stretches north to the Sahel. 

Despite its name, no part of the country Equatorial Guinea lies n the equator. The part “equatorial” refers to the fact that the nation lies just north of the Equator.

  1. It is the only African country where the Spanish language is official

Equatorial Guinea was under Spanish administration for more than 150 years. Mainly spoken as a second language, it works as a lingua franca among the various ethnic groups of the country. 

Spanish is used in the media, in print, in the judicial system, in higher education, and also in public services. Moreover, an English-based creole or Pichinglis is used extensively in commerce, informal settings, and the forms of the lingua franca on Bioko.

  1. Equatorial Guinea is ethnically diverse

Equatorial Guinea’s largest ethnic group is the Fang, which is indigenous to the continental maintain and consists of almost four-fifths of the population. The country’s second-largest ethnic group is the Bubi, which makes up most of Bioko’s population. 

The Bubi are mainly the descendants of the indigenous Bantu-speaking African population that fled from the mainland of Central Africa in the 13th century. The country’s coastal tribes referred to as “Playeros,” include Bujebas, Combes, Bengas, and Balengues. Also, the country is home to smaller ethnic groups like the Fernandinos.

  1. Pico Basile: The tallest mountain in Equatorial Guinea
Tallest mountain in Equatorial Guinea

Pico Basile is the highest peak in the country of Equatorial Guinea. It is located on the island of Bioko and rises to an elevation of 9879 ft or 3011 m. Pico Basile is an active stratovolcano whose last eruption took place in 1923.

  1. Besides Spanish, Portuguese and French are also its official languages

Both Portuguese and French are the official languages of Equatorial Guinea. In 1998, French was adopted as an official language, although its use is minimal in practice. French was adopted as one of its official languages in order to join the OIF or Francophonie.

In 2010, Portuguese was made the official language in Equatorial Guinea. However, its use is also actually non-existent in the nation. It was made an official language in order to join the CPLP or Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

  1. The country is a former Spanish colony and was known as Spanish Guinea

In the late-18th century, Annobon, Bioko, and parts of the country’s mainland were traded to Spain in exchange for regions in what is today’s Brazil. This was done to give Spain its own source of slaves in Africa for transport to Spanish America.

The Spanish continued to use the islands as a slave trading post, and from 1827 to 1843, the British wanted to buy Equatorial Guinea from the Spanish. 

After decades of neglect, Equatorial Guinea gained attention in the late 1930s and started flourishing. 

  1. The country gained independence in 1968

When the world prevailed upon Spain to decolonize, Equatorial Guinea had the lowest death rate, the best medical services, and the second-highest per capita income of any sub-Saharan African nation.

Finally, the country attained full independence on 12 October 1968 from Spain.

  1. The predominant religion in Equatorial Guinea is Christianity
Equatorial Guinea Religion is Christianity

More than 85% of the population of Equatorial Guinea adheres to Christianity, and the vast majority of them are Catholics. However, traditional animist beliefs are also strong and often practiced.

Besides its official languages, the country’s indigenous languages include Bube, Fang, Bujeba, Ndowe, Benga, Gumu, Bissio, and Igbo.

  1. Although the country’s GDP per capita is very high, wealth is still extremely concentrated here

Because of the discovery of gas and oil in the mid-1990s, the country Equatorial Guinea has transformed itself from a backwater of Africa into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

With a relatively low population of under 1.5 million, the country has one of Africa’s highest per capita GDPs.

Unfortunately, the country’s wealth has so far had a very minimal impact on its people’s lives. Most of the country’s oil revenue goes to the private pockets of the few ruling elites. Over 70% of Equatoguineans still live in abject poverty.

  1. It has been ruled by one person since 1979

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema seized power in the country in 1979, ousting his uncle in a bloody coup. Despite over a dozen attempts to topple him, Obiang has clung to power for over 40 years and even earned the title of Africa’s as well as the world’s longest-serving president. 

In 1979, after coming to power, Obiang dispelled any illusions that anyone could have had that he would open the country of Equatorial Guinea to democracy and freedom. During his rule, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, and torture are all common. 

  1. In the country, the largest frog in the world can be found
World's largest frog in Equatorial Guinea

Another interesting fact about Equatorial Guinea is that it is home to the largest frog in the world. The frog known as Goliath Frog may grow to a size of 13 in or 34 cm in length and weighs up to 7.3 lbs or 3.3 kg. This frog is famous for building its own ponds with the help of heavy rocks.

  1. One of the least free countries in the world

Although the law of Equatorial Guinea guarantees freedom of assembly, expression, and association, those freedom have not been respected.

The ruling party of Equatorial Guinea has almost complete control over the judiciary, media, military, and police. International and local broadcasters have been prohibited from covering some particular subjects deemed damaging to the country’s image or those close to the president.

The websites of international news outlets and the political opposition are among those things that are blocked regularly. Also, state media don’t cover foreign news unless the officials or president go abroad.

  1. The currency and capital of Equatorial Guinea
The currency and capital of Equatorial Guinea

The currency of the country is the CFA or Central African franc, which is pegged to both the Euro and the West African franc. The CFA franc was introduced in the country in 1985, and replaced the Equatorian Guinean ekwele.

Situated on the island of Bioko, Malabo is well-known for its modern buildings, wide boulevards, and interesting colonial architecture. However, the country’s capital is expected to shift to the new city of Ciudad de la Paz on the continent’s mainland.

  1. The national symbol of the country is the silk-cotton tree

The silk-cotton tree or the “God Tree” represents the region where the first treaty between the Portuguese and the local rulers was signed. It even features on the country’s coat of arms.

Also, there are no UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this country. 

  1. The most popular sport is football
Equatorial Guinea's popular sport is Football

Similar to many other African countries, football is the most popular sport in Equatorial Guinea. Sadly, the country’s men’s national football team has gained very little success at the international level and never qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

Moreover, despite having participated in the Summer Olympics since the year 1984, the country has never won a medal, and it never took part in the Winter Olympics.

  1. Bata is the largest city
Equatorial Guinea's largest city is Bata

Situated on the Gulf of Guinea in the northwestern part of Equatorial Guinea, Bata is the logistical and economic hub in the country’s mainland region of Rio Muni. Also, here resides almost one-fourth of the country’s population.

The country’s motto in Spanish is “Unity, peace, justice.” Also, Equatorial Guinea is one of the biggest oil producers in sub-Sahara Africa.

So, Equatorial Guinea is a very interesting African country that has unique culture, rich history, diverse people, beautiful landscapes, and many more.

At the end of this article, we came to know 19 interesting facts that offer us a clear picture of this African country, Equatorial Guinea. If you want to know some additional facts, you can see our website.

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