28 interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea

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The most interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea, from one of the world’s wettest places to a corrupt dictator with a playboy son.

interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea rainforest
Several interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea are related to its tropical location (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Population: 857,008
Area: 28,051 sq km
Capital city: Malabo
Major languages: Spanish, Fang, Bubi, Portuguese, French, Creoles
Major religions: Christian, Muslim, Baha’i, animist, indigenous
Time zone: UTC+1 (West Africa Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

Interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea

1. Equatorial Guinea is a country located in West Africa bordering Cameroon and Gabon.
– Source: Britannica

2. Equatorial Guinea consists of Río Muni on continental Africa (also known as Continental Equatorial Guinea) and five islands (known collectively as insular Equatorial Guinea).
– Source: Britannica

3. Equatorial Guinea was first sighted by a European in 1471 when Portuguese navigator Fernao do Po spotted the island of Fernando Po, which is now called Bioko.
– Source:

4. Before colonisation, Bantu tribes came to mainland Equatorial Guinea during the 12th century from other West and Central Africa areas. The Bantu tribe of the Bubi are assumed to have fled to Bioko to escape the Fang, who are thought to have become the dominant ethnic group during the 17th century.
– Source: Lonely Planet

A map of Equatorial Guinea
A map of Equatorial Guinea (Shutterstock)

5. Portugal initially colonised the islands of Annobon and Fernando Po (now Bioko) before ceding them and parts of the mainland to Spain in exchange for regions in Latin America. As such, Bioko became an important base for the slave trade.
– Source: Lonely Planet

6. The Spanish settled in Río Muni on mainland Equatorial Guinea in 1844, then renamed the colony the Western African Territories in 1904 before renaming it Spanish Guinea.
– Source: BBC News

7. In 1968, Spanish Guinea gained independence and became the Republic of Equatorial Guinea with Francisco Macias Nguema as president.
– Source: BBC News

8. The flag of Equatorial Guinea is made up of horizontal stripes of green, white and red, with a blue triangle on the left and the national coat of arms in the centre. The blue stands for the sea, while green stands for vegetation, white for peace, and red for the blood shed during the liberation struggle.
– Source: Britannica

The flag of Equatorial Guinea
The flag of Equatorial Guinea (Shutterstock)

9. The coat of arms includes a silk-cotton tree (also known as the god tree), the motto of the country in Spanish– “Unity, peace, justice” – and six golden stars for the five main islands and the mainland.
– Source: Britannica

10. After striking oil in 1995, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Sahara Africa’s biggest oil producers. However, a large proportion of the population still lives in poverty.
– Source: BBC News

11. Equatorial Guinea has one of the world’s lowest life expectancies. As of 2021, it has the world’s 10th lowest life expectancy at just 58.4 years.
– Source: World Bank

12. Unusually, the current capital city of Malabo is located on the island of Bioko. Bioko is located 160km (100 miles) northwest of continental Equatorial Guinea.
– Source: Britannica

Aerial view of Bioko
The current capital city of Malabo is located on the island of Bioko (Shutterstock)

13. Despite the name’s prevalence, it is unclear where the name Guinea originates. Some trace it to a word in Tuareg, aginaw. Others think it once referred to Djenné, a trading city in Mali. In the 15th century, Portuguese sailors used “Guiné” to describe what is now Senegal, and by the 18th century, Europeans used “Guinea” to refer to much of West Africa.
– Source: The Economist

14. A new capital city called Cuidad de la Paz (formerly known as Oyala) is currently being constructed on the mainland near Djibloho. In 2017, president Teodoro Obiang officially moved Equatorial Guinea’s government to the unfinished Cuidad de la Paz (Oyala).
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

15. Malabo is named after Malabo Lopelo Melaka (1837–1937), the last king of the Bubi, the ethnic group indigenous to the island of Bioko. The name of the new capital, Cuidad de la Paz, translates to “City of Peace” in Spanish.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

16. The tiny village of Ureca in Equatorial Guinea is the wettest place in Africa and one of the wettest in the world, receiving up to 10,450mm (411 inches) of rain per year.
– Source: Bradt Guides

A waterfall near Ureca in Equatorial Guinea
A waterfall near Ureca (Shutterstock)

17. Equatorial Guinea is named for the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel. The “equatorial” part refers to the country’s position just north of the Equator.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

18. There are four countries in the world with the word Guinea in their name: Equatorial Guinea, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in Africa, and Papua New Guinea in Oceania and Asia.
– Source: The Economist

19. Equatorial Guinea is sub-Sahara Africa’s third-richest country when measured by GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP).
– Source: World Bank

20. The world’s largest frogs are only found in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. Goliath frogs (Conraua goliath) can grow up to 34cm long and weigh over 3.2kg.
– Source: New Scientist

A goliath frog
Goliath frogs can only be found in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon (Shutterstock)

21. Equatorial Guinea is Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country.
– Source: The Guardian

22. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been president since 1979 after seizing power from his uncle in a coup. He is currently Africa’s longest-serving head of state and the world’s longest-serving president.
– Source: Reuters, Human Rights Watch

23. Mr Obiang Nguema has been described by rights organisations as a brutal dictator. Human Rights Watch stated the ”dictatorship under President Obiang has used an oil boom to entrench and enrich itself further at the expense of the country’s people”. He has been accused by French courts of allegations of plundering state finances to buy luxury homes and cars in France.
– Source: BBC News

24. The president’s son, Teodoro ‘Teodorin’ Nguema Obiang, has also been in trouble in the US courts. The US courts have attempted to seize $71 million worth of his assets, accusing Mr Obiang Jnr of defrauding the people of Equatorial Guinea and using the money to buy luxury items such as a Gulfstream jet, a Ferrari and dozens of pieces of Michael Jackson memorabilia.
– Source: BBC News

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Paul Kagame: CC 2.0)

25. Equatorial Guinea is one of 27 countries that doesn’t have any UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It also doesn’t have any properties on the Tentative List that are intended to be submitted for nomination.
– Source: UNESCOThe Telegraph

26. The Monte Alen National Park in Equatorial Guinea is a protected area covering 2,000 sq km where it’s possible to see gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants and crocodiles as well as many different species of birds and insects.
– Source: Lonely Planet

27. At 94%, Equatorial Guinea has the second-highest literacy rate of any sub-Saharan African country. Only the Seychelles has a higher rate (96%).
– Source: World Bank

28. Crude oil and petroleum gas exports account for nearly 90% of Equatorial Guinea’s total exports. It is the fifth-largest crude oil exporter in Africa and the 26th in the world.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book


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