Equatorial Guinea has fewer than 410,000 people, including about 1,000 Europeans. More than 58,000 people live in the capital, Malabo, which is the country’s largest city.
The official languages of Equatorial Guinea are French and Spanish, making it the only Spanish-speaking country on the African continent. The population is predominantly Roman Catholic. About 78 percent of the adult population are literate.
According to history, the Portuguese explorer Fernando Po discovered the island of Bioko in 1473. Portugal then took control of the island and the mainland for the slave trade. Then in 1778 the territory was ceded to Spain. Local autonomy was not granted until in 1963. Full independence was granted to Equatorial Guinea on Oct. 12, 1968.
Today the country’s government is a republic run by a president, a prime minister and a unicameral legislature, the House of Representatives of the People.
In 1995 the Gross National Product was $152 million with a per-capital income of about $380. Agriculture is about 55 percent of the labor pool followed by services, trade and public administration at 40 percent and manufacturing, mining, construction, and power at 5 percent. The country’s chief crops include coffee, timber, cocoa, rice, yams, cassava and bananas.
Sources: Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia and World Almanac