The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in the gulf.
|Gulf of Guinea|
Golfe de Guinée
Golfo da Guiné
Golfo de Guinea
Gulf of Guinea map showing the chain of islands formed by the Cameroon line of volcanoes.
|Ocean/sea sources||Atlantic Ocean|
|Basin countries||Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Congo Republic, DR Congo, Angola|
|Surface area||2,350,000 km2 (910,000 sq mi)|
|Islands||Bioko, São Tomé, Príncipe, Ilhéu Bom Bom, Ilhéu Caroço, Elobey Grande, Elobey Chico, Annobon, Corisco, Bobowasi|
The origin of the name Guinea is thought to be an area in the region, although the specifics are disputed. Bovill (1995) gives a thorough description:
The name Guinea is usually said to have been a corrupt form of the name Ghana, picked up by the Portuguese in the Maghrib. The present writer finds this unacceptable. The name Guinea has been in use both in the Maghrib and in Europe long before Prince Henry's time. For example, on a map dated about 1320 by the Genoese cartographer Giovanni di Carignano, who got his information about Africa from a fellow-countryman in Sijilmas [ancient trading city in North Africa], we find Gunuia, and in the Catalan atlas of 1375 as Ginyia. A passage in Leo [Africanus] (vol. III, 822) points to Guinea having been a corrupt form of Jenne [2,000-year-old city in central Mali on Niger river], less famous than Ghana but nevertheless for many centuries famed in the Maghrib as a great market and a seat of learning. The relevant passage reads: "The Kingdom of Ghinea . . . called by the merchants of our nation Gheneoa, by the natural inhabitants thereof Genni and by the Portugals and other people of Europe Ghinea." But it seems more probable that Guinea derives from aguinaou, the Berber for Negro. Marrakech [city in southeastern Morocco] has a gate, built in the twelfth century, called the Bab Aguinaou, the Gate of the Negro (Delafosse, Haut-Sénégal-Niger, II, 277-278). The modern application of the name Guinea to the coast dates only from 1481. In that year the Portuguese built a fort, São Jorge da Mina (modern day Elmina), on the Gold Coast region, and their king, John II, was permitted by the Pope [Sixtus II or Innocent VIII] to style himself Lord of Guinea, a title that survived until the recent extinction of the monarchy.
The name "Guinea" was also applied to south coast of West Africa, north of the Gulf of Guinea, which became known as "Upper Guinea", and the west coast of Southern Africa, to the east, which became known as "Lower Guinea". The name "Guinea" is still attached to the names of three countries in Africa: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea, as well as New Guinea in Melanesia.
The main river shedding its waters in the gulf is the Niger River.
Different definitions of the geographic limits of the Gulf of Guinea are given; the International Hydrographic Organization defines the southwest extent of the Gulf of Guinea as "A line from Cap Lopez ( ), in Gabon, northwestward to Ihléu Gago Coutinho (Ilhéu das Rôlas) ( ); and thence a line from Ihléu Gago Coutinho northwestward to Cape Palmas ( ), in Liberia.
The Gulf of Guinea contains a number of islands, the largest of which are in a southwest-northeast chain, forming part of the Cameroon line of volcanoes.
Bobowasi Island is an island off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea that is part of Western region Ghana.
Corisco is an island belonging to Equatorial Guinea.
São Tomé and Príncipe (officially the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe) is a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea that became independent from Portugal in 1975. It is located off the western equatorial coast of Africa and consists of two islands, São Tomé and Príncipe. They are located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres (155 and 140 mi), respectively, off the northwestern coast of Gabon. Both islands are part of an extinct volcanic mountain range. São Tomé, the sizeable southern island, is situated just north of the Equator.
The African darter (Anhinga rufa), sometimes called the snakebird, is a water bird of sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq.Annobón
Annobón is a small province of Equatorial Guinea consisting of the island of Annobón and its associated islets in the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean's Cameroon line. The provincial capital is San Antonio de Palé on the north side of the island; the other town is Mabana, formerly known as San Pedro. The roadstead is relatively safe, and some passing vessels take advantage of it in order to obtain water and fresh provisions, of which Annobon has offered an abundant supply. However, there is no regular shipping service to the rest of Equatorial Guinea, and ships call as infrequently as every few months. According to the 2015 census it had 5,232 inhabitants, a small population increase from the 5,008 registered by the 2001 census. The official language is Spanish but most of the inhabitants speak a creole form of Portuguese. The island's main industries are fishing and timbering.Bar-tailed trogon
The bar-tailed trogon (Apaloderma vittatum) is a species of bird in the family Trogonidae.Bight of Benin
The Bight of Benin or Bay of Benin is a bight in the Gulf of Guinea area on the western African coast.Bight of Biafra
The Bight of Biafra (also known as the Bight of Bonny) is a bight off the West African coast, in the easternmost part of the Gulf of Guinea.Bioko
Bioko (also spelled Bioco, in Europe traditionally called Fernando Po [fɨɾˈnɐ̃du ˈpɔ] from the period of Portuguese colonization) is an island 32 km off the west coast of Africa, and the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea. Its population was 334,463 at the 2015 census (preliminary results) and it covers an area of 2,017 km2 (779 sq mi). The island is located off Cameroon, in the Bight of Bonny portion of the Gulf of Guinea. Its geology is volcanic; its highest peak is Pico Basile at 3,012 m (9,882 ft).Black-billed weaver
The black-billed weaver (Ploceus melanogaster) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae found in central Africa.Gold Coast (region)
The Gold Coast was the name for a region on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa that was rich in gold and also in petroleum, sweet crude oil and natural gas. It now forms the country of Ghana.Golden-backed bishop
The golden-backed bishop (Euplectes aureus) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae.
It is found in western Angola and São Tomé Island.Harmattan
The Harmattan is a season in the West African subcontinent, which occurs between the end of November and the middle of March. It is characterized by the dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind, of the same name, which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea. The name is related to the word haramata in the Twi language. The temperature is cold in most places, but can also be hot in certain places, depending on local circumstances.The Harmattan blows during the dry season, which occurs during the lowest-sun months. In this season the subtropical ridge of high pressure stays over the central Sahara Desert and the low-pressure Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) stays over the Gulf of Guinea. On its passage over the Sahara, the harmattan picks up fine dust and sand particles (between 0.5 and 10 microns).List of rivers of Mali
This is a list of rivers in Mali. This list is arranged by drainage basin, with respective tributaries indented under each larger stream's name.Niger Delta
The Niger Delta is the delta of the Niger River sitting directly on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria. It is typically considered to be located within nine coastal southern Nigerian states, which include: all six states from the South South geopolitical zone, one state (Ondo) from South West geopolitical zone and two states (Abia and Imo) from South East geopolitical zone. Of all the states that the region covers, only Cross River is not an oil-producing state.
The Niger Delta is a very densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The delta is a petroleum-rich region and has been the center of international controversy over pollution.Piracy in the 21st century
Piracy in the 21st century has taken place in a number of waters around the world, including the Gulf of Guinea, Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean, and Falcon Lake.Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea affects a number of countries in West Africa as well as the wider international community. By 2011, it had become an issue of global concern. Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea are often part of heavily armed criminal enterprises, who employ violent methods to steal oil cargo. In 2012, the International Maritime Bureau, Oceans Beyond Piracy and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program reported that the number of vessels attacks by West African pirates had reached a world high, with 966 seafarers attacked during the year. According to the Control Risks Group, pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea had by mid-November 2013 maintained a steady level of around 100 attempted hijackings in the year, a close second behind Southeast Asia.Portuguese-based creole languages
Portuguese creoles are creole languages which have Portuguese as their substantial lexifier. The most widely-spoken creole influenced by Portuguese is the Cape Verdean Creole.Reed cormorant
The reed cormorant (Microcarbo africanus), also known as the long-tailed cormorant, is a bird in the cormorant family Phalacrocoracidae. It breeds in much of Africa south of the Sahara, and Madagascar. It is resident but undertakes some seasonal movements.Striated heron
The striated heron (Butorides striata) also known as mangrove heron, little heron or green-backed heron, is a small heron, about 44 cm tall. Striated herons are mostly non-migratory and noted for some interesting behavioral traits. Their breeding habitat is small wetlands in the Old World tropics from west Africa to Japan and Australia, and in South America. Vagrants have been recorded on oceanic islands, such as Chuuk and Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marianas and Palau; the bird recorded on Yap on February 25, 1991, was from a continental Asian rather than from a Melanesian population, while the origin of the bird seen on Palau on May 3, 2005 was not clear.This bird was long considered to be conspecific with the closely related North American species, the green heron, which is now usually separated as B. virescens, as well as the lava heron of the Galápagos Islands (now B. sundevalli, but often included in B. striata, e.g. by BirdLife International); collectively they were called "green-backed herons".
The bird can also be found in Bolivia around the town of Riberalta in the Beni Department and specifically in the Aquicuana Reserve.Tropical Atlantic
The Tropical Atlantic realm is one of twelve marine realms that cover the world's coastal seas and continental shelves.
The Tropical Atlantic covers both sides of the Atlantic. In the western Atlantic, it extends from Bermuda, southern Florida, and the southern Gulf of Mexico through the Caribbean and along South America's Atlantic coast to Cape Frio in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state. In the Eastern Atlantic, it extends along the African coast from Cape Blanco in Mauritania to the Tigres Peninsula on the coast of Angola. It also includes the seas around St. Helena and Ascension islands.
The Tropical Atlantic is bounded on the north and south by temperate ocean realms. The Temperate Northern Atlantic realm lies to the north on both the North American and African-European shores of the Atlantic. To the south, the ocean realms conform to the continental margins, not the ocean basins; the Temperate South America realm lies to the south along the South American coast, and the Temperate Southern Africa realm lies to the south along the African coast.Volta River
The Volta River is the main river system in the West African country of Ghana. It flows into Ghana from Bobo-Dioulasso highlands of Burkina Faso. The main part of the river are the Black Volta, the White Volta, and the Red Volta. In the northwest, the Black Volta forms the international boundaries between the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. The Volta flows southward along Akwapim-Togoland highlands, and it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at the Gulf of Guinea at Ada. It has a smaller tributary river, the Oti, which enters Ghana from Togo in the east. The Volta River has been dammed at Akosombo for the purpose of generating hydroelectricity. The reservoir named Lake Volta stretches from Akosombo in the south to the northern part of the country, thus being one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the world.