18. Spanish Guinea (1950-1968)

Crisis Phase (December 1, 1950-October 12, 1968):  The National Liberation Crusade Equatorial Guinea (Cruzada Nacional de Liberacion de Guinea Ecuatorial – CNLGE) was established by African nationalists, including Acacio Mañé Elah, in December 1950.  Admiral Faustino Ruiz Gonzalez, who was appointed as Governor-General of Spanish Guinea in 1949, opposed the efforts of African nationalists in Spanish Guinea for national liberation.  Acacio Mañé Elah, a leader of the CNLGE, was arrested in Bata and killed by Spanish authorities on November 20, 1958.  The Popular Idea of Equatorial Guinea (Idea Popular de la Guinea Ecuatorial – IPGE) was established under the leadership of  Enrique Nvó Okenve in Ambam, Cameroon in 1959.  The National Liberation Movement of Equatorial Guinea (Movimiento Nacional de Liberación de Guinea Ecuatorial – MONALIGE) was established under the leadership of Atanasio Ndongo Miyone in Libreville, Gabon on June 22, 1959.  Spanish Guinea (or the Spanish Territories of the Guinean Gulf), consisting of the mainland territory of Río Muni and the island of Fernando Po, became overseas provinces of Spain on July 30, 1959.  The provinces of Río Muni and Fernando Po were official known as the Spanish Equatorial Region (Región Ecuatorial de Española).  Spanish police arrested several African nationalists in Equatorial Guinea, and some 2,000 African nationalists fled to neighboring countries, including Cameroon and Gabon, in October 1959.  The People’s Liberation Union of Equatorial Guinea (Union Popular de Liberacion de Guinea Ecuatorial – UPLGE) was established under the leadership of Bonifacio Ondó Edu in Libreville, Gabon in October 1959.  Enrique Nvó Okenve, leader of the IPGE, was murdered by Spanish agents in Cameroon in November 1959.  Francisco Macias Nguema, who would later join the IPGE, was elected mayor of Mongomo in 1960.  Francisco Nunez Rodriguez was appointed as Governor-General of the Spanish Equatorial Region in 1962.  The Movement for the National Unity of Equatorial Guinea (Movimiento de Union Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial – MUNGE) was established in November 1963.  The Basic Law for Equatorial Guinea was adopted by the Spanish parliament on November 9, 1963.  The Basic Law was approved in a referendum held in Equatorial Guinea on December 15, 1963.  Under the Basic Law, Spain granted internal autonomy to the provinces of the Spanish Equatorial Region, which became known as the Autonomous Community of Equatorial Guinea (Comunidad Autónoma de Guinea Ecuatorial).  A General Assembly (Assemblea General) and a Governing Council (Consejo de Gobierno) headed by Bonifacio Ondó Edu were established, and Francisco Nunez Rodriguez was appointed as High Commissioner on December 15, 1963.  The Basic Law went into effect on December 20, 1963.  Pedro Latorre Alcubierre was appointed as High Commissioner in the Autonomous Community of Equatorial Guinea in 1964.  On December 16, 1965, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly affirmed the right of the inhabitants of Equatorial Guinea to self-determination and independence.  Civil servants in the Autonomous Community of Equatorial Guinea went on strike on April 21-23, 1966.  Victor Suances Diaz del Rio was appointed as High Commissioner in the Autonomous Community of Equatorial Guinea on August 12, 1966.  On October 10, 1966, the Spanish government announced at the UN a forthcoming constitutional conference to draft a constitution for Equatorial Guinea.  The Organization of African Unity (OAU) heads of state meeting expressed support for the independence of Equatorial Guinea on November 6, 1966.  On December 20, 1966, the UN General Assembly called upon Spain to hold elections in Equatorial Guinea.  On October 30, 1967, a constitutional conference convened at the Palace of Santa Cruz in Madrid to discuss the independence of Equatorial Guinea.  Federico Ngomo Nandong, President of the General Assembly of Equatorial Guinea, headed the delegation of Equatorial Guinea to the Constitutional Conference.  Other members of the delegation of Equatorial Guinea included Enrique Gori (Vice-President of the General Assembly), Antonio Ndongo, Bonifacio Ondó Edu (Chairman of the Governing Council), and Francisco Macias Nguema (Vice-President of the Governing Council).  The Constitutional Conference was suspended on November 15, 1967, but the conference resumed in Madrid on April 17, 1968.  On June 22, 1968, the Constitutional Conference concluded with a proposed constitution establishing a federal republic with two autonomous provinces.  The UN secretary-general established the Mission for the Supervision of the Referendum and Elections in Equatorial Guinea on August 6, 1968. The UN mission, which consisted five representatives from Chile, Iran, Niger, Syria, and Tanzania and 13 personnel headed by Adamou Mayaki of Niger, supervised the constitutional referendum on August 11, 1968. Some 63 percent of the voters approved the proposed constitution for Equatorial Guinea.  Legislative elections were held on September 22, 1968, and the MONALIGE won ten out of 35 seats in the National Assembly.  The MUNGE won ten seats in the National Assembly.  Francisco Macias Nguema of the IPGE was elected president in the second round on October 2, 1968.  The UN mission monitored the elections, and issued a report on October 9, 1968.  The UN General Assembly approved the report of the UN mission on October 11, 1968, and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (República de Guinea Ecuatorial) was proclaimed on October 12, 1968.

[Sources: Africa Diary, September 15-21, 1968, November 17-23, 1968; Africa Report, March 1968, October 1968, January 1969; Banks and Muller, 1998, 290-295; Beigbeder, 1994, 134-137; Facts on File, December 5-11, 1968; Keesing’s Record of World Events, August 17-24, 1968, November 2-9, 1968; Langer, 1972, 1268-1269.]


Selected Bibliography

Campos, Alicia. 2003. “The Decolonization of Equatorial Guinea: The Relevance of the International Factor,” Journal of African History, vol. 44, pp. 95-116.