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Venus Bay
Venus Bay
Malabo is located in Bioko
Malabo is located in Equatorial Guinea
Location in Bioko
Coordinates: 3°45′7.43″N 8°46′25.32″E / 3.7520639°N 8.7737000°E / 3.7520639; 8.7737000
Country  Equatorial Guinea
Province Bioko Norte Province
Founded 1827
Current name Since 1973
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 187,302
Demonym(s) Malabeño-a
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
Climate Am

Malabo /məˈlɑːb/ is the capital of Equatorial Guinea and the province of Bioko Norte. It is located on the north coast of the island of Bioko, formerly known by the Bubis, its indigenous inhabitants, as Etulá, and as Fernando Po by the Europeans. The city has a population of approximately 187,302 inhabitants.

The official languages of the city, as well as across the country, are Spanish (main language and practically the only one used), French and Portuguese.

Malabo is the oldest city in Equatorial Guinea. Many buildings within the city are built in the style of colonial architecture from the times of Spanish rule, coexisting with modern buildings built since independence. The downtown streets, with a square design, reveal the ancient conception of modern city with pedestrian areas. This phenomenon causes a feeling of architecture attenuated by the low height of buildings in a combination of architectural Westernization and Africanism.

Oyala is a planned city currently under construction, designed to replace Malabo as the capital.


Discovery and Portuguese conquest[edit]

In 1472, in an attempt to find a new route to the India, the Portuguese navigator Fernão do Pó, discovered the island of Bioko, which he called "Formosa". Later the island was named after its discoverer, Fernando Pó. At the beginning of 16th century, specifically in 1507, the Portuguese Ramos de Esquivel made a first attempt at colonization on the island of Fernando Pó. He established a factory in Concepción (current Riaba) and developed plantations of sugarcane, but the hostility of the insular Bubi people and diseases ended this experience quickly.

Abayak neighborhood, west of Malabo.

With the treaties of San Ildefonso in 1777 and El Pardo in 1778, during the reign of the Spanish King Carlos III the Portuguese gave to the Spanish island of Fernando Pó, Annobón and the right to conduct trade in the mainland, an area of influence approximately of 800 000 km² in Africa, in exchange for the Colonia del Sacramento in the River Plate and the Santa Catalina Island off the Brazilian coast (occupied by the Spaniards). The area stretching from the Niger Delta to the mouth of Ogüé River -in the current Gabon- and included, besides the islands of Fernando Pó and Annobon, the islets of Corisco and Elobeyes. Failed its various unsuccessful attempts to colonize these lands, Spain for its internal problems, lost interest in Spanish Guinea in 1827 and authorized the British use the island as a base for the work of persecution of the Slave Trade.

British Presence[edit]

In 1821, the British captain Nelly approached the island of Fernando Pó. He found it abandoned and founded the establishments of Melville Bay (Riaba) and San Carlos (Luba). Some years later, another British captain, William Fitzwilliam Owen decided to colonize the island and set in the north of it -in the site of the present capital- a base for British ships chasing European dealers of slaves. Thus arose, on 25 December 1827, Port Clarence on the ruins of a previous Portuguese settlement. The name was chosen in honor of the Duke of Clarence, who later became King William IV. The Bubis indigenous to the island called it "Ripotó (place of the foreigners). The population of the capital was increased by the arrival of slaves freed by the British. The settlement of the freedmen in Port Clarence preceded the formation of Sierra Leone as a colony for freed slaves. The descendants of these people enslaved and freed remain on the island. At they joined other migrants arrived as free workers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon, constituting the population group called Creole or fernandinos, and whose own language the Pidgin Bantu-English with Spanish elements.

During the period of the British presence, British consuls automatically became governors of the colony. Including Governor John Beecroft, a British mulatto sailor who modernized the capital, whose work was recognized later by Spain erecting a monument which is located in Punta Fernanda.

Spanish definitive control and new capital[edit]

In 1844, when Queen Isabel II of Spain ruled after the regency of her mother Maria Cristina and Baldomero Espartero, in an attempt to modernize Spain and rescue its heritage, Spain let the UK know its desire to regain control of the colony and thus the island. It took another decade to implement this direct control. The capital already had more dynamic and Protestant religious missions were very successful. Both factors helped to change the attitude of Spain, in addition to internal reasons already alluded.

Spain again took control of the island in 1855 and the capital Port Clarence was renamed Santa Isabel, in honor of Queen Isabel II. The capital of the island of Fernando Pó became the capital of Equatorial Guinea.

Its present name was given in 1973 as part of the campaign of President Macías Nguema to replace the place names of European origin with African names properly, honoring Malabo Lopelo Melaka, the last Bubi king. Malabo, son of King Moka, surrendered to the Spaniards, while his uncle Sas Ebuera, head of the Bubi warriors, claimed the legitimacy of Bubi rule and continued resistance. After the murder of Sas Ebuera by the Spanish, Malabo became king unopposed, but without authority. Bubi clans and localities were slow to accept Spanish sovereignty over the island, and the full conquest and pacification of the island was not achieved until 1912.

Reign of Terror[edit]

During the so-called Reign of Terror of Macías Nguema, the dictator suppressed much of the intelligentsia of the country, initiating the process of taking over the positions of the public administration by part of the natives of Mongomo and clan Esangui. Many city residents had to leave. In the last years of his mandate, almost a fifth of the population fled. At that time (1968-1979), Equatorial Guinea received money from the Soviet Union in return for, inter alia, affording port facilities for Soviet naval craft, particularly submarines.

The infamous Black Beach Prison also known as Blay Beach prison (or Playa Negra prison) sits at the mouth of the Cónsul River, beside the black beach and behind the Governor's Palace and barracks. Several people have been jailed in the over the 35 years of dictatorship. Among those imprisoned and tortured are many political leaders as Fabián Nsue (UP), Felipe Ondo Obiang (FDR), Martín Puye of Movement for the Self-Determination of Bioko Island (MAIB) or Plácido Micó of the Social Democratic Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS).


Climatological diagram of Malabo

Malabo is situated north of the island of Bioko, at coordinates 3° 45' 7.43" North and 8° 46' 25.32" East. The south of Malabo is limited by the Cónsul River and just across the river, south-west, is the hospital. West of the city, located about 9 km from the center of Malabo, is renewed Malabo International Airport. In the coastal region north of the city are the bays and capes. The elder is the punta de la Unidad Africana located just behind the Presidential Palace of Malabo and which occupies the entire eastern part of the Bay of Malabo. Another cape of importance is punta Europa located in the west of the city near to the airport.


Malabo features a tropical monsoon climate (Am). Malabo receives on average 1,800 mm of rain per year. The city has a pronounced, albeit short dry season from December through February. February is normally its driest with 33 mm (0.2 in) of rain falling on average. It also has a very long cloudy and wet season that covers the remaining nine months (March–November). On average, the months hit hardest by the wet season are from September to October, with receiving 500 millimetres (20 in) of rain between them.

Daytime temperatures do not vary at all day to day, and only vary a few degrees throughout the entire year. At night, the average low temperature is 21–22°C in every month of the year, apart from January when average low is 19°C). January has cooler nights but hotter days because it has clearer weather. Nonetheless, Malabo, with only 1,180 sunny hours per year, is one of the cloudiest and wettest capitals in the world and experiences much fog even when it is not raining.

Climate data for Malabo
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.7
Average high °C (°F) 30.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.2
Average low °C (°F) 20.3
Record low °C (°F) 17.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 39
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 4 4 11 15 18 19 19 17 22 19 11 4 163
Average relative humidity (%) 88 86 88 89 89 90 91 92 93 92 92 90 90
Mean monthly sunshine hours 120.9 118.7 102.3 108.0 99.2 63.0 43.4 52.7 45.0 68.2 87.0 111.6 1,020
Mean daily sunshine hours 3.9 4.2 3.3 3.6 3.2 2.1 1.4 1.7 1.5 2.2 2.9 3.6 2.8
Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst[1]


The current mayor is María Coloma Edjang Mbengono who establishes that municipal services prescribed by law and which are the responsibility of the municipality are: drinking water and others public sources, lighting, paving of roads, cemeterys, cleaning and sanitation, the sanitary waste treatment and waste, disinfecting and insect, emergency -first aid-, health inspections and drinks, health inspection of poor housing, sanitation, public banks, slaughterhouses, markets and the elimination of stagnant water among others.

CCEI Bank headquarter in Malabo.

List of mayors since 1960[edit]

  • Wilwardo Jones Níger
  • Abilio Balboa Arking
  • Antonio Ribeiro Ebuera
  • Julio Bonete Eiye
  • Julián Ehapo Bomaho
  • Vidal Djoni Bekoba
  • Tomás Alfredo King Tomas
  • Rosendo Toichoa Borico
  • Felipe Beta Tobachi
  • Antonio Reibeira Ebuera
  • Elías Manuel Macho Ricacha
  • Basilio Cañadas Idjabe
  • Cristina Djombe Djangani
  • Vicente Ebong Uwa
  • Bernardino Edu Oba
  • Victorino Bolekia Bonay
  • Gabriel Mba Bela
  • María Coloma Edjang Mbengono
  • Isabel Eraul Ivina

Cultural Centres[edit]

Through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), are made several development projects at both regional and national level. Headquartered in the Technical Cooperation Office in Malabo (created in 1984), carried out actions for the development of the culture, health, education and institutional strengthening. Stressing the Cultural Center of Spain in Malabo (CCEM), founded in 2003, where young people are encouraged to feel a cultural space where they can unleash their creative freedom. It also has three geographical axes, in order to capture the largest number of people in the region and contribute to its development. Activities include the training, art, film, theater, music and games, with the two main festivals: Traveling Film Festival of Equatorial Guinea (FECIGE) and the International Festival of Hip Hop in Malabo.[2]

A major museums is the Museum of Modern Art in Equatorial Guinea, with traditional and contemporary art of the country and the continent. In the city also it is the National Library, which was built in 1916.[3][4]


Growth of population of Malabo
Year Persons  %
1983 31 650
1994 60 065 +89.8
2000 73 117 +21.7
2007[5] 96 000 31.3
1983 and 1994: censuses
2000 and 2007: estimated

Malabo has a relatively young population. Approximately 45% of its population are minors under 15. Only about 4% of the population is over 65 years. Most of the population lives in rural areas of the island.


The city, according to the rest of the country is predominantly Catholic. More than 80% of the city population is Catholic and about 4% is some sort of tribal religion. Islam is also present in the city, as is Judaism. Some Christian communities, such as Mormon and JW, are also present in Malabo, although in smaller numbers.

One of the main roads in Malabo.


Malabo is the commercial and financial center. Malabo's economy is based on the administration and other services. Also the trade it is one of the most prominent and important economic activities, especially since the arrival of companies from the US which exploit oil wells close to the coast. This trade is also given by the presence of other Americans, of Latin Americans, Nigerians, Cameroonians, Spanish and other inhabitants of the countries of Central Africa that increase trade. In Malabo is the headquarters of the BEAC or Bank of Central African States. Its building was built by the Banco Popular Español, but after independence became the seat of Bando de Guinea Ecuatorial.

The substantial profits from oil exploitation have not been applied in reducing poverty of the city nor the country[6]

The main industry of the city is the development of fish, while cacao and coffee are the main products of export.[6]

Malabo has port of high tonnage connected mainly with the ports of Douala (Cameroon) and Bata, and air link via an international airport.

There are about 300, of which only 50 are of quality.


The National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) and the National Distance Education University (UNED), the latter Spanish, have headquarters in the city. The Colegio Nacional Enrique Nvó Okenve, one of the country's universities, has one of its two campuses in the city.

Cathedral of Santa Isabel.

International schools:


Malabo is a city that preserves buildings from the colonial era such as the Presidential Palace and the Palace of Justice of Malabo. In the downtown are also found other colonial buildings, although they are worn as the wooden buildings of 19th century of Nigeria and Rey Boncoro streets.

Notable buildings stand out as the Cathedral of Santa Isabel, which is in turn based on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Malabo. It is a temple of neo-Gothic style, built between 1897 and 1916. Its architect was Luis Segarra Llairadó and paid by contributions from the government of Spain and donations of faithfuls. It has two towers of 40 meters high. Maybe the same Antoni Gaudí oversee the plans.

Other points of interest are La Gaditana, formerly known as Finca Amilivia, prior to 1918, the casa Teodolita in 1902 and one of the oldest in the city, the building of the City Hall of Malabo, the Church of Elá Nguema, the Independence Square, the Casa de España and the bay of the harbor.


Public transport system[edit]

The system of public transport of the capital includes service of buses to make the journey between downtown of Malabo and the neighborhood of Ela Nguema of taxis circulating the city and outlying areas, and car hire called Avis and Europcar.

Maritime transport[edit]

The port of Malabo can reach a theoretical treatment capacity of 200,000 tons/year. The main maritime links are with national destination to Bata and international to Spain and Douala in Cameroon.


The Malabo International Airport serves the city. It is located 7 km from the center in punta Europa. It covers long distance direct flights to Europe and some African capitals. Operating companies are Iberia, Air France and Lufthansa. The highest percentage of air traffic constitute links to Bata, Douala (Cameroon), Cotonou (Benin) and Libreville (Gabon) by airlines Camair-co, Air Gabon and EGA.


The main sports facility of Malabo, and the country, is the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, with capacity for more than 15 000 spectators. In it were played international matches, like of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, or where played the Spain national football team, at the time World Champion. At this stage, the Sony Elá Nguema, the main club of the country, also plays its games. Other clubs play its home games at Estadio Internacional, with capacity for 6,000 spectators, and where played its matches the Equatorial Guinea national football team until the Nuevo Estadio was opened.

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations was organized jointly by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and one of the four venues of the tournament was the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, the main stadium of the country, inaugurated in 2007.[7] In Malabo were disputed six matches of the group stage (one match of Group A and five of group B),[8] and one cross of quarterfinals[9]

The 16 November 2013, the Spain national football team played a friendly match against the Equatorial Guinea national football team. It was the first visit of a European team in the country, and the match was criticized by several organizations, including the president of the LFP Javier Tebas, due to the political situation of the country and the government of Teodoro Obiang.[10][11]

Some of the top clubs in the country, who have won several times the Primera División de Guinea Ecuatorial are from the city of Malabo. The club with the most league titles is the Sony Elá Nguema with 14. Other clubs from the city that have been proclaimed league champions are the Renacimiento Fútbol Club, the Atlético Malabo or Cafe Bank Sportif. Another club of the city is the Atlético Semu, once champion of Equatoguinean Cup.

Another important club from the city is the Malabo Kings of basketball, which was champion of the country, and in 2013 was proclaimed champion Central Zone of Africa Basketball Championship, winning in Kinshasa at Talia from Gabon.[12] The Malabo Kings had already finished second in 2011, Yaounde (Cameroon).[13] In 2013 held in Malabo on I Campus of Basketball Ciudad de Malabo organized by the Equatorial Guinea Basketball Federation and Club de Baloncesto Conejero from Spain.[14]

Discovery of oil[edit]

The suspension bridge and shipping terminal of the EG LNG liquefied natural gas company, seen from the air.

Malabo has been significantly affected by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's growing co-operation with the oil industry. The country's production has reached 360,000 barrels per day (57,000 m3/d) as of 2005, an increase which led to a doubling of the city's population, but for the vast majority, very little of that wealth has been invested in development.[15]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Klimatafel von Malabo (Santa Isabel) / Insel Bioko (Fernando Póo) / Äquatorial-Guinea" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Another important center is the Hispano-Guinean Cultural Center, from 2012 Equatorial Guinean Cultural Center began as headquarters of Institute Cardinal Cisneros, and then archive, museum and library. It was built in 1950s <ref"List of Mayors (1960–present) (in Spanish)". City Council of Malabo. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Equatorial Guinea (in Spanish)". AECID. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Cultural Center of Spain in Malabo (in Spanish)". Embassy of Spain in Equatorial Guinea. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Equatorial Guinea". UNData. United Nations Statistics Division. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Luanda, Malabo strengthen link with US oil capital". Afrol News. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Africa Cup 2012 – offices". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Africa Cup 2012 – Schedule & Results". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Africa Cup 2012 – Final Table". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  10. ^ EFE (15 November 2013). "Tebas: "Equatorial Guinea is not the luckiest place that Spain could have chosen to play"". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Spain walks the star by Guinea in a friendly stained by the politic". 16 November 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Miguel Ángel Hoyo, champion of the Central Zone of Africa with the Malabo Kings". Spanish Basketball Federation. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Malabo Kings won the silver medal in the qualifiers of the African Club Championship Basketball". Asturias Mundial. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "The CB Conejero launched a campus in Malabo". Lanzarote deportiva. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  15. ^ Cobb, Charles (16 December 2002). "Obiang Sure to Win As Opposition Quits Poll". AllAfrica. 
  16. ^ "Sister Cities, Public Relations". Guadalajara municipal government. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 3°45′N 8°47′E / 3.750°N 8.783°E / 3.750; 8.783