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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Equatorial Guinea

Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea.

The despotic president of Equatorial Guinea Macias Nguema (1924-1979) was a complete and utter sadist. During his 1975 Christmas Eve massacre roughly 150 political dissenters were executed in a football stadium by soldiers wearing Santa Claus costumes as a military band played Mary Hopkin's “Those Were The Days”.

The first country to depict flying saucers on its postage stamps was Equatorial Guinea in 1975.

Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Sahara's largest oil producers. With a population of 650,702, it is the richest country per capita in Africa. However, the wealth is distributed very unevenly and there is widespread corruption, so few people have benefited from the oil riches.

It is the only African country where Spanish is an official language.

Equatorial Guinea hosted the 2015 African Cup of Nations after Morocco withdrew because of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. They'd previously co-hosted with Gabon the 2012 tournament.  

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