Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top),
white, and red with a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side and
the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms has six yellow
six-pointed stars (representing the mainland and five offshore islands)
above a gray shield bearing a silk-cotton tree and below which is a scroll
with the motto UNIDAD, PAZ, JUSTICIA (Unity, Peace, Justice)
Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between
Cameroon and Gabon
Geographic coordinates: 2 00 N, 10 00 E
Climate: tropical; always hot, humid
Independence: 12 October 1968 (from Spain)
Nationality: Equatorial Guinean(s) or Equatoguinean(s)
Capital City: Malabo
Population: 474,214 (July 2000 est.)
Head of State: President Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Teodoro OBIANG NGUEMA
MBASOGO (since 3 August 1979 when he seized power in a military coup)
Area: 28,051 sq km
Type of Government: republic
Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100
Major peoples: Bioko (primarily Bubi, some Fernandinos),
Rio Muni (primarily Fang), Europeans less than 1,000, mostly Spanish
Religion: nominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic,
Official Language: Spanish and French
Principal Languages: Spanish (official), French (official), pidgin
English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo
Major Exports: petroleum, timber, cocoa
History: The Portuguese, who claimed suzerainty over the territory
about 1471, transferred their rights to Spain in 1778. Spain, however,
did not seriously explore the area until the last half of the 19th century
and did not effectively control the hinterland of Mbini until 1923.
The present provinces were established in 1959. Limited self-government
was introduced in 1963, and independence was achieved on Oct. 12, 1968.
Following an abortive coup in 1969, President Francisco Macias Nguema,
a Fang, turned the country into a one-party state. He was made president
for life in 1972. His regime became increasingly repressive.
An estimated 20% of the population died and an even larger number fled
the country before he was overthrown in a coup (August 1979) led by Lt.-Col.
Obiang Nguema and executed. A supreme Military Council ruled until
1982 when a constitution was approved by voters providing for direct presidential
elections after a 7-year transition under President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Uncontested parliamentary elections were held in 1983 and 1988, and Obiang
Nguema was reelected in 1989.