Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Central Africa. It covers about 28,050 square kilometers of land and borders Cameroon and Gabon. The country also consists of the Bioko Islands as well as a volcanic island called Annobon. These islands are located on the Gulf of Guinea and the largest island is Bioko Island. Equatorial Guinea is the only African nation that utilizes Spanish as the official language. The population of Equatorial Guinea is approximately 1.4 million people. The ethnic groups include the Fang, Bubi, Bujeba, Mdowe, Annobon, and others with their percentage composition being 85.7%, 6.5%, 1.1%, 3.6%, 1.6%, and 1.4% respectively. Most of these groups are of Bantu origin.
The Fang People
The Fang people are the largest ethnic group in Equatorial Guinea with the highest concentration of these people living in Rio Muni Region. They are indigenous to the country’s mainland. The Fang people may be divided into two major groups namely the Ntumu Fang and the Okak Fang. These groups can be easily identified by their settlements with reference to the Mbini River. Those Fang that live North of the Mbini River are the Ntumu Fang whereas those that live South of the river are the Okak Fang. Overall, the Fang are made up of 67 diverse clans. Besides Equatorial Guinea, the Fang people are also found in southern Cameroon as well as northern Gabon.
The Bubi People
The Bubi people are indigenous to Bioko Island. Those who belong to this ethnic group were descendants of Bantu speaking communities that fled Cameroon in the 13th century. The Bubi is a matrilineal society which means that their children inherit property from their mothers rather than their fathers as is the norm in most societies. During the colonial era, the Bubi were pro-Spanish rule because they believed that the Spanish would protect Bioko Island from invasion by the Fang who occupied Equatorial Guinea’s mainland. The Bubi have a rich history which points to the existence of the Bubi Kingdom that lasted for about 3,000 years. The last king who served the kingdom was King Malabo I.
The Bujeba People
Also known as the Kwasio, the Bujeba are indigenous to Equatorial Guinea’s mainland. They occupy south Rio Benito and south Bata regions in the country. Compared to the other ethnic groups, the population of the Bujeba people has significantly decreased. The reason for this is that most of the people have been assimilated into the Fang ethnic group.
Most of the people that form the Annobon ethnic group were brought in to the Annobon Island by the Portuguese as enslaved people.
Other Ethnic Groups
The rest of the ethnic groups in Equatorial Guinea include coastal ethnic groups such as Balengues, Mabea, Lengi, Combes, Bujebas, Bengas, and Fernandinos. The coastal people are fondly known as the “playeros” which is a Spanish word meaning “beach dwellers.” Another ethnic group in Equatorial Guinea is the Mdowe. Additionally, there are also Portuguese, Chinese, and Spaniards living in the country who number less than 1,000.