Spanish Guinea

Spanish Guinea (Spanish: Guinea Española) was a set of insular and continental territories controlled by Spain since 1778 in the Gulf of Guinea and on the Bight of Bonny, in Central Africa. It gained independence in 1968 and is known as Equatorial Guinea.

Spanish Territories of the Gulf of Guinea

Territorios Españoles del Golfo de Guinea
Location of Spanish Guinea in central Africa.
Location of Spanish Guinea in central Africa.
StatusSpanish colony
CapitalSanta Isabel (now Malabo)
Common languagesSpanish
Head of State 
• 1778–1788
King Carlos III (first)
• 1936–1968
Caudillo Francisco Franco (last)
• 1964 (last)
Pedro Latorre Alcubierre
• 1964–1966 (first)
Pedro Latorre Alcubierre
• 1966–1968 (last)
Víctor Suances Díaz del Río
• Established
11 March 1778
12 October 1968
CurrencySpanish Guinea peseta
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Elobey, Annobón and Corisco
Río Muni
Equatorial Guinea
Coat of Arms of the Portuguese and Spanish Guinea
Coat of arms of the Portuguese and Spanish Guinea.
Coat of Arms of the Spanish Province of Río Muni
Coat of arms of the Spanish Río Muni colony.


18th—19th centuries

The Spanish colony in the Guinea region was established in 1778, by the Treaty of El Pardo between the Spanish Empire and the Kingdom of Portugal. Between 1778 and 1810, Spain administered the territory of Equatorial Guinea via its colonial Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, based in Buenos Aires (in present-day Argentina).

From 1827 to 1843, the United Kingdom had a base on Bioko to combat the continuing Atlantic slave trade conducted by Spain and illegal traders.[1] Based on an agreement with Spain in 1843, Britain moved its base to its own colony of Sierra Leone in West Africa. In 1844, on restoration of Spanish sovereignty, it became known as the "Territorios Españoles del Golfo de Guinea".

20th century

Spain had never undertaken colonial settlement of the large area in the Bight of Biafra to which it had treaty rights. The French expanded their occupation at the expense of the area claimed by Spain. By the treaty of Paris in 1900, Spain was left with the continental enclave of Río Muni, 26,000 km2 of the 300,000 stretching east to the Ubangi river, which the Spaniards had previously claimed.[2]

Agricultural economy

Toward the end of the 19th century Spanish, Portuguese, German and Fernandino planters started developing large cacao plantations on the island of Fernando Po.[3] With the indigenous Bubi population decimated by disease and forced labour, the island's economy came to depend on imported agricultural contract workers.

A labour treaty was signed with the Republic of Liberia in 1914; the transport of up to 15,000 workers by sea was orchestrated by the German Woermann-Linie, the major shipping company.[4] In 1930 an International Labour Organization (ILO) commission discovered that Liberian contract workers had ‘‘been recruited under conditions of criminal compulsion scarcely distinguishable from slave raiding and slave trading’’.[5] The government prohibited recruiting of Liberian workers for Spanish Guinea.

The persisting labour shortage in the cacao, coffee and logging industries led to a booming trade in illegal canoe-based smuggling of Igbo and Ibibio workers from the Eastern Provinces of Nigeria. The number of clandestine contract workers on the island of Fernando Po grew to 20,000 in 1942.[6] A labour treaty was signed with the British Crown in the same year. This led to a continuous stream of Nigerian workers going to Spanish Guinea. By 1968 at the time of independence, almost 100,000 ethnic Nigerians were living and working in Spanish Guinea.[7]

Colony of Spanish Guinea

Between 1926 and 1959, the Crown united Bioko and Río Muni as the "colony of Spanish Guinea". The economy was based on the exploitation of the commodity crops of cacao and coffee, produced at large plantations, in addition to logging concessions. Owners of these companies hired mostly immigrant contract labour from Liberia, Nigeria, and Cameroon.[6] Spain mounted military campaigns in the 1920s to subdue the indigenous Fang people, as Liberia was trying to reduce recruiting of its workers. The Crown established garrisons of the colonial guard throughout the enclave by 1926, and the whole colony was considered 'pacified' by 1929.[8]

Río Muni had a small population, officially put at a little over 100,000 in the 1930s. Its people could easily escape over the borders into Cameroon or Gabon. Moreover, the timber companies needed growing amounts of labour, and the spread of coffee cultivation offered an alternative means of paying taxes.

The island of Fernando Po continued to suffer from labour shortages. The French only briefly permitted recruitment in Cameroon. Planters began to recruit Igbo laborers, who were smuggled in canoes from Calabar, Nigeria. Fernando Po was developed after the Second World War as one of Africa's most productive agricultural areas.[2]


The post-war political history of Spanish Guinea had three fairly distinct phases. From 1946 to 1959, it had the status of a "province", having been raised from "colony", after the Portuguese Empire made overtures to take it over. From 1960 to 1968, Spain tried a system of partial decolonisation to keep the province within the Spanish territorial system, which failed due to continued anti-colonial activity by Guineans. On 12 October 1968, Spain conceded the independence of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. Francisco Macías Nguema was elected as president.[9]

Colonial demographics

The population of the Colony of Spanish Guinea was stratified (before slavery was abolished). The system was somehow similar to the one operating in the French, English and Portuguese colonies in the rest of Africa:[10]

  1. PeninsularesWhite Spanish population, whose immigration was regulated by the Spanish government.
  2. EmancipadosBlack African population, assimilated into the Peninsulares' culture via Spanish Catholic educations. Some were descended from freed Cuban slaves, repatriated to Africa after emancipation and abolition of slavery by the Spanish Royal Orders of 13 September 1845 (voluntary), and of 20 June 1861 (deported). The latter group included mestizos (indigenous-European) and mulattoes (African-European), mixed-race descendants who had been acknowledged by a white Peninsular father.[11]
  3. FernandinosCreole peoples, multi-ethnic or multi-race populations, often speaking the local Pidgin English of Spanish Guinea's island of Fernando Po (now known as Bioko).
  4. "Individuals of colour" under patronage — included the majority of the indigenous Black African people, and those mestizos−mulattoes who were not acknowledged by white fathers and were being deported from the Americas. Of the indigenous ethnic groups in Guinea, most were Bubi and Bantu peoples such as the Fang of Rio Muni.
  5. Others — primarily Nigerian, Cameroonian, Han Chinese, and Indian peoples who were hired as contract laborers under types of indentures.

See also


  1. ^ "Fernando Po", Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911.
  2. ^ a b William Gervase Clarence-Smith, 1986 "Spanish Equatorial Guinea, 1898-1940", in The Cambridge History of Africa: From 1905 to 1940 Ed. J. D. Fage, A. D. Roberts, & Roland Anthony Oliver. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press>"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Clarence-Smith, William G. "African and European Cocoa Producers on Fernando Poo, 1880s to 1910s." Journal of African History 35 (1994): 179-179.
  4. ^ Sundiata, Ibrahim K. From Slaving to Neoslavery: the Bight of Biafra and Fernando Po in the Era of Abolition, 1827-1930, Madison, WI: Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1996.
  5. ^ "Slavery Conditions in Liberia", The Times 27 October 1930.
  6. ^ a b Enrique Martino, “Clandestine Recruitment Networks in the Bight of Biafra: Fernando Pó’s Answer to the Labour Question, 1926–1945.” in International Review of Social History, 57, pp 39-72.
  7. ^ Pélissier, René. Los Territorios Espanoles De Africa. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1964.
  8. ^ Nerín, Gustau. "La última selva de España:" antropófagos, misioneros y guardias civiles. Crónica de la conquista de los Fang de la Guinea Española, 1914–1930 (The last jungle of Spain: cannibals, missionaries and civil guards. Chronicle of the conquest of the Fang of Spanish Guinea, 1914-1930), Catarata, 2010.
  9. ^ Campos, Alicia. "The decolonization of Equatorial Guinea: the relevance of the international factor", Journal of African History (2003): 95–116.
  10. ^ Anuario del Instituto Cervantes (2005). Panorama de la literatura en español en Guinea Ecuatorial, Justo Bolekia Boleká, Introducción histórica
  11. ^ Espacio, Tiempo y Forma, Serie V, Hª Contemporánea, t. 11, 1998, págs. 113-138, "Penología e indigenismo en la antigua Guinea española" Archived 2011-05-30 at the Wayback Machine, Pedro María Belmonte Medina

Coordinates: 1°35′N 10°21′E / 1.583°N 10.350°E

1960 Spanish Guinea by-election

A by-election to the Spanish Cortes Españolas was held in Spanish Guinea in 1960.

1960 Spanish Guinean provincial election

Indirect provincial elections were held in Spanish Guinea in 1960. Local council elections were held on 5 June, with some elected by corporations on 12 June. Two Provincial Assemblies (one in Fernando Pó and one in Río Muni) were subsequently elected on 28 August.

1964 Spanish Guinean provincial election

Provincial elections were held in Spanish Guinea in May 1964 to elect the Provincial Councils of the provinces of Fernando Pó and Río Muni.

Army of Africa (Spain)

The Army of Africa (Spanish: Ejército de África, Arabic: الجيش الإسباني في أفريقيا‎, Al-Jaysh al-Isbānī fī Afriqā) or "Moroccan Army Corps" (Cuerpo de Ejército Marroquí') was a field army of the Spanish Army that garrisoned the Spanish protectorate in Morocco from the late 19th century until Morocco's independence in 1956.

At the start of the 20th century, the Spanish Empire's colonial possessions in Africa comprised Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Ifni, Cape Juby and Spanish Guinea.

Bahá'í Faith in Equatorial Guinea

The Bahá'í Faith in Equatorial Guinea begins after `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote letters encouraging taking the religion to Africa in 1916. The first pioneer to Spanish Guinea was Elise Lynelle (then Elise Schreiber) who arrived in Bata, Spanish Guinea (as it was called then), on 17 May 1954, and was recognized as a Knight of Baha'u'llah. In 1968 the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Equatorial Guinea was elected in Santa Isabel, (later renamed Malabo). The community has elected a National Spiritual Assembly since 1984. The community celebrated its golden jubilee in 2004. The Association of Religion Data Archives estimated some 3,500 Bahá'ís in 2005.


Emancipado (Spanish pronunciation: [emanθiˈpaðo]) was a term used for an African descended social-political demographic within the population of Spanish Guinea (modern day Equatorial Guinea) that existed in the early to mid 1900s. This segment of the native population had become assimilated into the former White society of Spanish Guinea which primarily existed along the coastline communities of the continental part of the country, as well as on the islands of Bioko and Annabon.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: Guinea Ecuatorial; French: Guinée équatoriale; Portuguese: Guiné Equatorial), officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: República de Guinea Ecuatorial, French: République de Guinée équatoriale, Portuguese: República da Guiné Equatorial), is a country located on the west coast of Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state in which Spanish is the official language. As of 2015, the country had an estimated population of 1,222,245.Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. The insular region consists of the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a small volcanic island which is the only part of the country south of the equator. Bioko Island is the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea and is the site of the country's capital, Malabo. The Portuguese speaking island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. The mainland region, Río Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on the north and Gabon on the south and east. It is the location of Bata, Equatorial Guinea's largest city, and Ciudad de la Paz, the country's planned future capital. Rio Muni also includes several small offshore islands, such as Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico. The country is a member of the African Union, Francophonie, OPEC and the CPLP.

Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producers. It is subsequently the richest country per capita in Africa, and its gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita ranks 43rd in the world; however, the wealth is distributed extremely unevenly, with few people benefiting from the oil riches. The country ranks 135th on the 2016 Human Development Index, with less than half the population having access to clean drinking water and 20% of children dying before the age of five.

Equatorial Guinea's government is authoritarian and has one of the worst human rights records in the world, consistently ranking among the "worst of the worst" in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights. Reporters Without Borders ranks President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo among its "predators" of press freedom. Human trafficking is a significant problem; the 2012 U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report stated that Equatorial Guinea "is a source and destination for women and children subjected to forced labor and forced sex trafficking." The report rates Equatorial Guinea as a government that "does not fully comply with minimum standards and is not making significant efforts to do so."

Equatorial Guinea national football team

The Equatorial Guinea national football team, nicknamed Nzalang Nacional, is the national team of Equatorial Guinea and is controlled by the Equatoguinean Football Federation. It is a member of Confederation of African Football (CAF). Though Equatorial Guinea has traditionally been one of the lowest ranked teams in Africa, the recent influx of Spanish-born players of Equatoguinean heritage has strengthened the national team and resulted in some solid performances. They qualified as co-hosts for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. The hosting of the tournament lead to the construction of two new football stadia in the country: Estadio de Bata in Bata on the mainland, and Estadio de Malabo in Malabo. The national team managed a creditable fourth place at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, which was held in Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea–Spain relations

Equatorial Guinea–Spain relations refers to the diplomatic relations between Equatorial Guinea and Spain. Both nations are members of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, Organization of Ibero-American States and the United Nations.

History of Equatorial Guinea

The History of Equatorial Guinea is marked by centuries of colonial domination by the Portuguese, British and Spanish empires, and by the local kingdoms.

Kamerun Campaign

The Kamerun Campaign took place in the German colony of Kamerun in the African theatre of the First World War when the British, French and Belgians invaded the German colony from August 1914 to March 1916. Most of the campaign took place in Kamerun but skirmishes also broke out in British Nigeria. By the Spring of 1916, following Allied victories, the majority of German troops and the civil administration fled to the neighbouring neutral colony of Spanish Guinea (Río Muni). The campaign ended in a defeat for Germany and the partition of its former colony between France and Britain.

List of Prime Ministers of Equatorial Guinea

The following is a list of Prime Ministers of Equatorial Guinea, since the establishment of the office of Prime Minister of Spanish Guinea in 1963.

List of colonial governors of Spanish Guinea

This is a list of European (Spanish and British) colonial administrators responsible for the territory of Spanish Guinea, an area equivalent to modern-day Equatorial Guinea.

List of companies of Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. The discovery of large oil reserves in 1996 and its subsequent exploitation have contributed to a dramatic increase in government revenue. As of 2004, Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its oil production has risen to 360,000 barrels per day (57,000 m3/d), up from 220,000 only two years earlier.

Forestry, farming, and fishing are also major components of GDP. Subsistence farming predominates. The deterioration of the rural economy under successive brutal regimes has diminished any potential for agriculture-led growth.

List of people on the postage stamps of the Spanish colonies

This is a list of people who have appeared on the postage stamps of colonies of Spain.

Postage stamps and postal history of Elobey, Annobon, and Corisco

Elobey, Annobón and Corisco was a colonial administration of Spanish Africa located in the Gulf of Guinea. The colony consisted of the small islands of Elobey Grande, Elobey Chico, Annobón and Corisco. The capital was Santa Isabel. The islands are presently part of Equatorial Guinea.

The colony is remembered by philatelists for having issued its own postage stamps between 1903 and 1910. The first issue depicted a profile of the young Alfonso XIII of Spain, and consisted of 18 values, from 1/4 centimos to 10 pesetas. The values from 1c to 10p were reprinted in 1905, but inscribed "1905".

In 1906, the 1c, 2c, 3c, and 4c values were surcharged 10c, 15c, 25c, and 50c, using a box with the value and "1906". A 1907 set of 16 values updated to a profile of an older Alfonso. Several of these values were surcharged between 1908 and 1910. A total of 72 issues are identified in the Yvert catalogue. Stanley Gibbons lists 69 issues from 1903 to 1909.Subsequently, the islands used the stamps of Spanish Guinea.

Postage stamps and postal history of Equatorial Guinea

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Equatorial Guinea, formerly known as Spanish Guinea.

Solar eclipse of May 29, 1919

A total solar eclipse occurred on May 29, 1919. With the duration of totality at maximum eclipse of 6 minutes 51 seconds, it was the longest solar eclipse since May 27, 1416. A longer total solar eclipse would later occur on June 8, 1937.It was visible throughout most of South America and Africa as a partial eclipse. Totality occurred through a narrow path across southeastern Peru, northern Chile, central Bolivia and Brazil after sunrise, across the Atlantic Ocean and into south central Africa, covering southern Liberia, southern French West Africa (the part now belonging to Ivory Coast), southwestern tip of British Gold Coast (now Ghana), Príncipe Island in Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe, southern Spanish Guinea (now Equatorial Guinea), French Equatorial Africa (the parts now belonging to Gabon and R. Congo, including Libreville), Belgian Congo (now DR Congo), northeastern Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), northern tip of Nyasaland (now Malawi), German East Africa (now belonging to Tanzania) and northeastern Portuguese Mozambique (now Mozambique), ending near sunset in eastern Africa.

White Mission

White Mission (Spanish:Misión blanca) is a 1946 Spanish drama film directed by Juan de Orduña and starring Manuel Luna, Jorge Mistral and Fernando Rey. The film was shot on location in Spanish Guinea and in a Spanish studio. The film's sets were designed by Sigfrido Burmann and Francisco Canet.

The film portrays a religious mission in the Spanish Empire.

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