Malabo is located on the rim of a sunken volcano on the northern coast of Bioko Island and serves as the capital of Equatorial Guinea. In 1827, the British leased Bioko Island from Spain and established the city, formerly known as Port Clarence, as a naval station to fight slavery along the West African coast. Spain regained control in 1844 and renamed the island, Santa Isabel. When Equatorial Guinea gained independence, Francisco Macías Nguema, who served as the first president, established the current name of Malabo (his goal was to replace European names with “authentic” African ones). However, during Macías’ presidency nearly one-third of the country’s population was either killed or exiled and Bubi people, who formed the majority on Bioko Island, were decimated. Also, many of the Fang, his own tribe’s people, were relocated to Malabo. Today, the city serves as the commercial and financial center within the country, its harbor being a critical seaport from cocoa, timber, and coffee exportation. Oil reserves in Malabo have brought great wealth to the country, yet concentrating it within the city’s elite.
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