Equatorial Guinea gained
independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. This tiny
country, composed of a mainland portion plus five inhabited islands, is
one of the smallest on the African continent. President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema Mbasogo has ruled the country since 1979 when he seized power in
a coup. Although nominally a constitutional democracy since 1991, the
1996 and 2002 presidential elections - as well as the 1999 and 2004
legislative elections - were widely seen as flawed. Equatorial Guinea
has experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large
offshore oil reserves, and in the last decade has become Sub-Saharan
Africa's third largest oil exporter.
the official languages; Fang and Bubi are also spoken.