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Location of Malabo in Equatorial Guinea
Location of Malabo in Equatorial Guinea
Malabo is the capital city of Equatorial Guinea, located on the northern coast of Bioko Island (formerly Fernando Póo). Its population has grown rapidly over the past ten years to about 100,000. Malabo is located at 3°45' North, 8°45' East (3.75, 8.75). The city was first founded by Britain in 1827, who leased the island from Spain during the colonial period. Named Port Clarence, it was used as a naval station in the effort to suppress the slave trade. Many newly freed slaves were also settled there, prior to the establishment of Sierra Leone as a colony for freed slaves. While many of them later relocated to Sierra Leone, some of their descendants, called Fernandinos, can still be found in Malabo and the surrounding area, where they constitute a distinct ethnic group, speaking their own Afro-Portuguese pidgin dialect.When the island reverted to complete Spanish control, Malabo was renamed Santa Isabel. It was chosen to replace the mainland town of Bata as the capital of the country in 1969, and was renamed Malabo in 1973 as part of President Francisco Macías Nguema's campaign to replace European place names with "authentic" African ones.During his "reign of terror," Macías Nguema led a near-genocide of the country's Bubi minority, which formed the majority on Bioko Island, and brought many of his own tribespeople, the Fang to Malabo. In the final years of his rule, when Equatorial Guinea was sometimes known as the " Auschwitz of Africa," much of the city's population fled as, indeed, about one-third of the country's population. Malabo has yet to recover from the scars of that period.


Layout - Contents

Despite its status as the capital of Equatorial Guinea for several decades, Malabo's street network remains poorly developed. Malabo itself has few paved roads leading into it, and less than one hundred paved and developed streets. Many of the street names reflect an african nationalist or anti-colonial theme, with names such as "Independance Avenue" or " Patrice Lumumba road" being main roads. The few large roads not named for an african nationalist ideal or person are named for cities in Equatorial Guinea or other places or countries in africa, as well the road leading to the presidential palace. The palace and grounds cosmume a substantial part of the eastern side of Malbo, and it is off-limits. The heart of the city is the colonial cathedral at independence place.The south of Malabo is bordered by the rio consul, across this lies the hospital to the south east. To the west is the recently renovated airport. The coastal northern region of the city is pierced by headlands and bays. The largest headland is the crescent-shaped Tip of African Unity behind the presidential palace. Encompassing a the entire eastern side of the Malabo bay, it is almost as long as Malabo is tall. Malabo is part of a wider bay that represents most of the northern coast of Bioko; it stretches from Europe Point in the west (home to the airport), to barren lands in the east.


Changes since the discovery of oil - Contents

Malabo has been significantly affected by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's growing cooperation with the oil industry. The country's production has reached 360,000 barrels/day as of 2004, an increase which had led to a doubling of the city's population [1].Oil has also led to the first regularly-scheduled service between the United States and the city, a weekly flight [2] [3] by Houston Express, a private charter air service formed by an agreement between SONANGOL, Angola's national oil company, and World Airways [4].Notable buildings in Malabo include Malabo Cathedral and the Malabo Court Building. The city is also home to an international airport, while ferries sail from its port to Douala and Bata.
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