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Introduction

Annobón is an island in Equatorial Guinea, located farther out in the Atlantic Ocean on a line running through Bioko and the independent islands of Sao Tome and Principe. It is 670 km from Malabo. The provincial capital is San Antonio de Palé on the north side of the island. It has an airport and a hospital. The other town is Mabana, formerly known as San Pedro. In 2015, Annobon had about 5,200 inhabitants. The island's inhabitants are of mixed Portuguese and Angolan descent, with some Spanish mixed in. The official language is Spanish but most of the inhabitants speak, Annobonese, a creole form of Portuguese. The island's main industries are fishing and timber.

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History

The island was discovered by the Portuguese on January 1, 1473; it obtained its name from that date ("New Year"). However, Spanish explorer Diego Ramirez de la Diaz first spotted the island in 1470 and named it San Antonio. It was apparently uninhabited until colonized under the Portuguese from 1474, primarily by Africans from Angola via São Tomé Island. These slaves (who the Portuguese called escravos de regate) are considered the first members of Annobonese society.

Beginning in the early sixteenth century, many of these slaves who were now marrying Europeans gave birth to the next generations of Annobonese who were called forros (slaves about to be free). Forros began to develop a distinct identity and socio-economic powers. This period also saw the emergence of the Creole Annobonese language.

The island was passed to Spain by the 1778 Treaty of El Pardo. The treaty granted Spain control of the Portuguese islands of Annobón and Fernando Po (now Bioko) and the Guinea coast between the Niger and the Ogooué in exchange for Spanish acceptance of the Portuguese occupation of territories in Brazil west of the line established by the Treaty of Tordesillas. The Spanish colony thus formed would eventually be known as Spanish Guinea.

The island's populace was opposed to the arrangement and hostile toward the Spaniards. After the handover and when the Spanish flag was hoisted to affirm Spanish sovereignty, the islanders revolted against the newcomers, in part because they were considered heretical for placing dogs on their flag. (The actual design represents lions.) They expelled them according to a tradition of throwing witches to the sea. A state of anarchy ensued, leading to an arrangement by which the island was administered by a body of five natives, each of whom held the office of governor during the period that elapsed until ten ships landed at the island. This autonomous government continued, with the island claimed by both Spain and Portugal, until the authority of Spain was re-established in the latter part of the 19th century. The island briefly became part of the Elobey, Annobón and Corisco colony until 1909.

During the final years of the administration of Francisco Macías Nguema, the first president of Equatorial Guinea, the island was called Pigalu or Pagalu. The population felt prejudice against them in Equatorial Guinea and some began advocating separatist movements. In 1993, the central government isolated the island, expelling foreigners including humanitarian organizations. The population rebelled and attacked the governor's residence. The government replied with two extrajudicial executions. International pressure eased hostilities, and political prisoners were released.

It was mostly due to this small island that Equatorial Guinea asked for observer status just after the Community of Portuguese Language Countries was formed in 1996, which led to a visit to Equatorial Guinea, in 1998, by the Portuguese foreign minister, Jaime Gama. Its historic, ethnographic, and religious identity is reflected in its provincial flag. In 2006, Equatorial Guinea achieved observer status with the hand of São Tomé and Príncipe, it kept lobbying to become a full member, contrary to international pressure that wanted to isolate the country due to human rights violations, becoming a full member in 2014 with the very active support of Portuguese-speaking Africa, with the Portuguese language being restored as an official language

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Geography

Annobón is an extinct volcano about 350 km west of Cape Lopez in Gabon[citation needed] and 180 km southwest of São Tomé Island. The main island measures about 6.4 km long by 3.2 km wide, with an area of about 17 km2, but a number of small rocky islets surround it, including Santarém to the south. Its central crater lake is named Lago A Pot and its highest peak is Quioveo, which rises 598 metres. The island is characterized by a succession of lush valleys and steep mountains, covered with rich woods and luxuriant vegetation. Annobón is often described as being "in the Gulf of Guinea", like the neighboring islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, but the formal boundary line for the Gulf of Guinea established by the International Hydrographic Organization actually runs north of it.

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Sights and Activities

In San Antonio de Palé, there is a colonial church with a wooden gabled roof and stained-glass windows.
Lago a Pot, a crater lake near the center of the volcanic island, which you can get to by hiking through a valley filled with ceiba trees, huge ferns, and lots of moss.
Fauna: Annobón has three endemic bird species and subspecies - Annobón paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone smithii), Annobón white-eye (Zosterops griseovirescens), and Annobón scops owl (Otus senegalensis feae).
Quioveo in the Annobón Natural Reserve is an extinct volcano and the highest point on the island.

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Events and Festivals

New Year’s Day

Every year on January 1, Equatorial Guinea celebrates the arrival of the upcoming year along with the rest of the world. A New Year’s Eve Gala and fireworks display is organized by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism as a charity event, and it is broadcast throughout the country.

President’s Day

President’s Day is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s birthday, which is celebrated annually on June 5. He has been the political leader of Equatorial Guinea since 1979 and is known for ousting his dictator uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema.

Armed Forces Day

August 3 is Equatorial Guinea’s Armed Forces Day to honor the military. It is treated as a public holiday where members of the armed forces gather together for a feast filled with food and drinks. Exhibitions are also held to showcase key achievements.

Independence Day

Equatorial Guinea celebrates its Independence Day on October 12. This public holiday commemorates the country’s freedom from Spanish colonization. All public facilities are closed.

Christmas Day

Equatorial Guinea is mostly Roman Catholic, so the country celebrates Christmas every December 25. Apart from Christian festivities, traditional celebrations are also held like the dance known as balélé in the Bioko region. In the cities, friends and families celebrate together by eating, drinking and exchanging gifts. Equatorial Guineans also decorate their homes with the usual decorations, including lights and Christmas trees.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are flights from Bata and Malabo by CEIBA Intercontinental, which is on the list of airlines banned by the European Union.

By Boat

There is no regular shipping service to the rest of Equatorial Guinea, and ships call as infrequently as every few months. Palace Travel offers a 10-day tour of Equatorial Guinea that includes 2 days in Annobon.

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Sleep

Hotel Annobon.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 14:04 on Jul 21, 20 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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