Río Muni, located just north of the equator, is made up of lowland along the coast, which gradually rises in the interior to a maximum height of c.3,600 ft (1,100 m).

Rio Muni, 1964. Child Welfare. Dwarf Crocodile. Sc. 38. Rio Muni, 1964. Child Wefare. Tree Pangolin. Sc. 32. Rio Muni, 1965. Child Welfare. Acridoxena Hewaniana. Sc. 50.

Río Muni includes three major rivers—the Campo, which forms part of the northern boundary; the Benito, located in the center; and Río Muni, which forms part of the southern boundary.

Rio Muni, 1960. Croton Plant, Quina Plant, Sc. 11, 10, B1-2. FDC Jun. 10, Bata.

The main ethnic group in Río Muni, where most of the population lives, is the Fang. The population of Bioko is primarily made of the Bubi (the oldest of the modern-day inhabitants), descendants of slaves from W Africa liberated by the British in the 19th century, and Nigerians and Fangs who migrated there in the 20th cent. Spanish is the official language.

Rio Muni, 1965. Stamp Day. Ring-necked Pheasant. Sc. 53. Rio Muni, 1965. Stamp Day. Ring-necked Pheasant. Sc. 54. Rio Muni, 1964. Stamp Day. Helmer Guinea Fowl. Sc. 45.

In 1778, Portugal ceded the islands, and also the commercial rights to a part of the African coast that included present-day Río Muni, to the Spanish. Hoping to export Africans as slaves to their American possessions, the Spanish sent settlers to the islands, but they died of yellow fever, and by 1781 the region was abandoned by the Europeans. 

From 1827 to 1843 the British leased bases at Malabo (then called Port Clarence) and San Carlos from Spain for use by their antislavery patrols, and some freed slaves were settled on Bioko (then called Fernando Po). 

Rio Muni, 1965. Stamp Day. Leopard and Arms of Rio Muni. Sc. 54 Rio Muni, 1961. Child Welfare. Elephant. Sc. B8. Rio Muni, 1964. Child welfare. Leopard. Sc. 42. Rio Muni, 1961. Child Welfare. Mandrill. Sc. B7.

In 1844 the Spanish reacquired Bioko and began to occupy it. Under the Spanish, economic development was largely confined to Bioko, although some measures were taken in Río Muni beginning in the 1940s. By 1960, about 6,000 Europeans (mostly Spanish) were living in the colony, and they controlled the production of cocoa and timber. In 1959 the colony was reorganized into two overseas provinces of Spain, each under a governor.

Ifni, 1960. Juan de Ribera, Clown Pablo by Velasquez. Sc. B3-6. FDC Dec. 29, 1960. Bata.

In 1963, Spain granted the country (renamed Equatorial Guinea) a limited amount of autonomy, and on Oct. 12, 1968, it received complete independence.

Rio Muni, 1961. Statuette. Sc. B13. Rio Muni, 1961. Statuette. Sc. B11. Rio Muni, 1961. Statuette. Sc. B10. Rio Muni, 1961. Statuette. Sc. B12.

The stamps and the FDC shown above were issued between 1952 and 1958. They show drummers, hunters, a women with a dove, arms, and a preaching missionary and a crucifix (Scott B 49, 75th anniversary of Catholic Missions in Spanish Guinea).

Rio Muni, 1961. Statuette. Sc. B11 - 10. FDC Nov. 23, Bata.

For more information about above stamps and FDC's please point to them with the mouse index.

Credits: many thanks to Tracy Barber (USA) for scans of FDC's.


Created: 12/31/02. Revised: 01/07/06
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