Equatorial Guinea has an average population density of 49 residents per km2. 75 percent of the country’s residents live in the mainland Mbini, mainly around the city of Bata (290,000 residents, 2016). The population of Bioko is mainly concentrated in the capital Malabo (257,000, 2016).
According to Countryaah, on the equatorial Guinea mainland, the population is 86 percent of prisoners, a bantu who feeds on tropical agriculture with yams, bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes as base crops. Traditional society is organized into a number of patrilineal clans without central political leadership. Within the modern state, the Mongo clan came to dominate politically under Francisco Macías Nguema’s regime, and it still holds a dominant position in the country. Fang previously had a reputation for being cannibals. Many are now Christians, but bwiti – a revitalization cult where elements of Christianity and traditional religion are mixed – has many followers. Witchcraft still plays a significant role; thus, during his last time, Nguema tried to stay in power by associating with witches in his hometown of Mongomo. On the coast there are smaller groups of bantu, combe (6,400), balengue (1,300) and bujeba (8,500), whose number has decreased due to the expansion of the prisoners. Benga (4,800) lives as a fisherman on the country’s south coast, on the island of Corisco and at the mouth of the river Mbini. In the country there was also a small group of gyelepygmies.
On the island of Bioko, the population constitutes about half of the original bantu group bubi (64,000). In addition, there are about 7,000 fernandino, descendants of British-released slaves, mixed with immigrants from Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon; they formerly constituted the local bourgeoisie, but they have lost their status in step with the increasing military and political dominance of the captive people. Until the mid-1970s, there was a significant Nigerian population at Bioko, consisting of traders (hausa) and plantation workers (igbo, ibibio and efik), but since their expulsion, the labor force in the plantations is mainly compulsory recruits.
Official languages are Spanish and French. However, the majority of the population speak some bantu language. On the mainland, the bantu language is mainly spoken, while bube is the dominant bantu language on the island of Bioko (formerly Fernando Póo). Here, among the descendants of freed slaves, there is also an English-based Creole language. The island of Annobón speaks a Creole language based on Portuguese.
In 1471, Portuguese sailor Fernão do Pó came to Bioko, an island that is part of today’s Equatorial Guinea. The Portuguese retained control of the island until 1778, when it was handed over to Spain, which also colonized other islands and parts of the mainland. However, it was not until 1900 that Spain gained full control over the entire area. This early Portuguese and Spanish presence is an important explanation for the Catholic Church’s strong position in the country
The Catholic Church became a state religion in 1900 and in 2010 comprised approximately 82% of the population. Equatorial Guinea became independent from Spain in 1968. The country’s first president, Francisco Macías Nguema, then introduced a one-party system. Instead of the Catholic Church, atheism now became a state religion, which led to the suppression of religion. Since 1990, the country has been secular by law, and today there is hardly any regulation of religion on the part of the government.
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In addition to Catholics (2010), approximately 7% of the population is estimated to be Protestants, 4% Muslims, just under 2% practitioners of indigenous traditional religion and 3% agnostics.