Gabon, or the Gabonese Republic, is home to almost two million people and is located in Central Africa. Gabon is bordered by the following nations: Equatorial Guinea to the North West, the Republic of the Congo from the south and east, and Cameroon to its north. Furthermore, because of its geographical location, Gabon’s coastline borders the Gulf of Guinea on its western side.
Ironically, the west central African country does not lie on the equator; the imaginary international line which separates the globe into northern and southern hemispheres. Instead, Equatorial Guinea lies at a latitude of between four degrees north and two degrees south. The entire country, apart from the island province of Annobón, is located in the Earth’s Northern hemisphere.
Formally known as the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the nation covers a land area of approximately 10,830 square miles and is home to some 1,221,490 residents. In terms of ethnic groups which make up the country’s population, the majority (some 81%) of which are Fang who have deep roots in central Africa and can also be found in the neighboring nations of Gabon and southern areas of Cameroon. Other smaller ethnic groups who call Equatorial Guinea home include the Budi (native to the island of Bioko), Ndowe, Annobon, Bujeba, and Igbo (who are originally from Nigeria).
The country of Equatorial Guinea once served as a Spanish colony which explains why its national language is still Spanish. More specifically, the local dialect spoken by the nation’s residents is known as Equatoguinean Spanish. The African country officially gained its political independence on October 12, 1968 and now operates as a dominant-party presidential republic under a dictatorship. Current President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is Equatorial Guinea’s second president after seizing power from his uncle in 1979.
Republic of the Congo
This central African country is also known as Congo-Brazzaville or the Congo. Covering a land area of 132,000 square miles the nation is home to approximately 5,125,821 residents. The majority of people living in the Congo belong to various native African ethnic groups including members of the Kongo, Sangha, Teke (or Bateke), Mbochi, as well as a small portion of residents of European descent. Although the Republic of the Congo’s official language is French, other recognized languages include Kituba, Kikongo, and Lingala.
The Congo is a former French colony which gained its independence in 1960. In more recent years President Denis Sassou Nguesso, a member of the Congolese Labour Party, assumed the position of the country’s fifth head of state in 1997. Nguesso has had a long and complicated history in terms of his involvement in Congolese politics as he also served as president of the country from 1979 to 1992. Although the Congo’s official political system is that of a unitary semi-presidential republic Nguesso’s presidency and his government have long been plagued by claims of widespread political corruption and financial wrongdoings.
The capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo is Brazzaville which has a population of approximately 1,373,382 residents and was founded in 1883 by Italian born explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza. Since 2006, Brazza’s body (along with that of his wife and their 4 children) has been interred in the Brazzaville Mausoleum which was constructed using Italian marble. In 2013 Brazzaville earned the distinction of being named a UNESCO “City of Music” as well as later becoming a member of that international organization’s Creative Cities Network which includes 180 cities in 72 countries.
Officially known as the Republic of Cameroon, this African nation is located in the western central region of the continent. Covering 183,569 square miles, Cameroon is home to a population of 23,439,189 residents. The ethnic groups living in the nation include Cameroon Highlanders, Equatorial and Northwestern Bantu, Kirdi, Fulani, Eastern Nigritic, as well as other Africans and a small percentage of inhabitants whose origins lie outside Africa.
The official languages of Cameroon are English and French with French being dominant with 80% of the nation’s population. According to the statistics from the 2016 World Factbook, the average life expectancy for residents of Cameroon is 56 years with almost 60% of the population under the age of twenty five and those over 65 years of age making up a mere 3.2% of the country’s total population.
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is a body of water located in the north eastern portion of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. The imaginary geographical lines known as the equator (which is defined as zero degrees in latitude) and the Prime Meridian (zero degrees longitude) intersect in this gulf. Among the African rivers which empty into the Gulf of Guinea include the Volta (in Ghana) and the Niger (in west Africa). This body of water, which measures 910,000 square miles, is also home to a number of islands including Annobón (or Pagalu), Bioko, Corisco, Elobey Grande and Elobey Chico, all of which belong to Equatorial Guinea as well as Ghana’s Bobowasi Island, and São Tomé and Príncipe, two Portuguese-speaking island nations that gained independence from Portugal in 1975.